ISKCON Kolkata’s debut musical album Krishna Sudha Ras released on the eve of 50th Anniversary of Srila Prabhupada leaving to West has won most prestigious GIMA (Global Indian Musical Awards) Award for the year 2016 under “BEST DEVOTIONAL ALBUM” category

The album contains 10 songs, all of them are either Vaishnava Bhajans or the Hare Krishna maha mantra tracks except for one which is composed to glorify Srila Prabhupada. The track was named as “Tribute to Srila Prabhupada”, since the album is a memorial to the historic Jaladuta Yatra. The album is targeted mainly towards the main stream music market and for those listeners who are not much familiar towards ISKCON. It features 6 singers and 6 music directors, most of them are highly rated professionals like Sonu Nigam, Shankar Mahadevan, SP Balasubrahmaniyam, Rickey Kej (Grammy Award 2014 Winner), Bikram Ghosh, Akriti Kakkar to name a few. The album was jointly produced by ISKCON and STRUMM, one of the leading production house in the Devotional music industry. Patita Pavana Das(CFA) and Chakradhari Das(IIT Graduate) were involved in this project.

“Although we have huge collection of bhajans and kirtans available for spiritual seekers, they are mostly confined to ISKCON stalls and in the music players of the devotees” says Chakradhari das. “When I visited all the major music shops across Kolkata as a part of the research, I didn’t find a single album belonging to ISKCON or even Hare Krishna maha-mantra while there are so many albums from other spiritual organizations or solo spiritual albums. It broke my heart to see that there are so many devotional music lovers outside but we have hardly any presence there, although ISKCON is the best in it and known for it. So, we thought it would be a good idea to come up with one album primarily targeted towards mass outreach and that would be a wonderful offering to Srila Prabhupada on his 50th Jaladuta Anniversary”  he further adds.

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The album was launched on the day of “Jaladuta Yatra” celebrations on 13th August 2015 in Kolkata in the presence of many senior leaders of ISKCON. The event which was attended by many politicians, VIPs, more than 25,000 people across 120 countries was a huge hit and it attracted great appreciation from both devotes and common masses alike.

Upon release, the album turned out to be an instant hit and topped the charts in ITunes. And it remained amongst the Top for many weeks. Especially 3 tunes in the album became enormously popular. “What thrilled me the most in this entire episode is that the Tribute song to Srila Prabhupada found place in the most popular tracks of the year in ITunes”, says Patita Pavan Dasa. “Initially we thought the lyrics for glorifying Prabhupada could be outsourced to someone best in the industry since we wanted this track to be the best. Later we felt that someone who has really received the mercy of Srila Prabhupada could glorify him the best. And we asked one of the brahmachari in our ashram to come up with a poem explaining the mood of Prabhupada while boarding Jaladuta and he came up with something so special, so special that we all realized Srila Prabhupada has accepted our project, else such a lyric wouldn’t have been possible”, shares these 2 devotees, who are serving in the role of council members of ISKCON Kolkata management.

The album was generously endorsed by Sonu Nigam and Shankar Mahadevan, who shared 4 tracks amongst them. These 2 are amongst most followed personalities in entire India in social media and they expressed their happiness having associated with ISKCON project and having sung the Hare Krishna maha mantra. Their posts in facebook requesting all their fans to hear Hare Krishna maha matra from the album became viral and it attracted so much appreciation from 1000s of music lovers.

“Certainly, spreading the holy name and spreading the glories of Srila Prabhupada are the two objectives of this album, and we are extremely pleased with the outcome” says RadhaRaman Das, General Manager of ISKCON Kolkata, who is the chief advisor and inspiration behind this project. “The album successfully distributed the holy name. It established ISKCON’s strong foothold in main stream music industry. It has fulfilled all the objectives that we have set for ourselves. Even at a personal level, I find this album as one of the best in my list and I keep hearing it and share it with others whenever possible”, he further adds.

The album was nominated for GIMA awards a month ago around March in the Best Devotional Album category competing with hundreds of other albums by some of the biggest names in the industry. “When we received the mail mentioning about the nomination, we just couldn’t believe ourselves. We know how difficult it is and that too we got it in our debut album itself. And since it is our offering to Srila Prabhupada on the 50th Anniversary, emotions associated with the album are also quite high. We prayed for the best and today we have received the call from the co-producer that our album “KRISHNA SUDHA RAS” has finally won the award! It is ISKCON’s success and the Holy name has found itself once again to share Their mercy upon one and all” says Patita Pavana dasa. “I am happy that I can find our ISKCON’s album in all major outlets now! And with this award, we hope ISKCON can penetrate more in devotional music field and thus the holy name would spread further” he concludes

Devotees who want to purchase this album in bulk can contact us at sankirtan@iskconkolkata.com. This album is available in all the leading stores across India.

(For more information about GiMA Awards, visit www.gima.co.in)