David Newman, also known as Durga Das, is a kirtan chant artist, sacred singer/songwriter, author and practitioner and teacher of Bhakti Yoga. Newman performs worldwide, sharing devotional music and the spiritual, meditative and musical aspects of yoga that kirtan embodies.
Newman's love of music began early when a relative bought him a guitar at age 13. He pursued a BA in Music, graduating in 1986 from Bowdoin College in Maine. He performed as a singer-songwriter until 1988 and then worked as a music publisher in Los Angeles from 1988 to 1990.
Becoming disenchanted with the business side of music, Newman moved to New York City to study law. During his time at Cardozo Law School, Newman began to study yoga and found himself devoting several hours a day to it, a practice which he found improved his focus and ability to respond to the stresses of his classes.
In 1992, less than a month after passing the bar exam and obtaining a J.D., Newman opened a yoga studio, Yoga On Main, in Philadelphia. He studied in the Viniyoga tradition, and also explored the teachings of other yoga lineages. He eventually integrated his studies and teaching experience to offer a style of yoga he named Inner Fire Yoga.
Over time Newman made the shift to practicing Bhakti Yoga and broadened Yoga On Main’s focus from yoga center to a place of spiritual community, with a wide range of course offerings including meditation instruction and kirtan events.
Newman found in kirtan a spiritual practice that re-energized his interest in making music, leading to the creation of his first album, Soul Freedom, produced by Kit Thomas and Ben Dowling and released by Inner Fire Music in 2003.
In 2004 Newman met New York City producer and mix engineer Frank Wolf. Together they recorded Lotus Feet: A Kirtan Revolution. Lotus Feet was reviewed on the National Public Radio show All Things Considered on June 20, 2006.
Leap of Grace, Newman's third album, was a recording of an ancient Indian healing prayer called the Hanuman Chalisa. Also produced by Newman and Frank Wolf, Leap of Grace was released in 2005 on the Pranamaya Music label.
Newman and Wolf followed up in 2006 with the CD/DVD set, Into the Bliss, which includes a live recording of a kirtan event and an interview with Newman produced by Jennifer Young.
In the fall of 2007, Newman was approached by Nettwerk Records CEO and founder, Terry McBride, who had worked with Sarah Mclachlan, Avril Lavigne and Barenaked Ladies. A yoga enthusiast, McBride signed Newman to a record deal with a desire to bring kirtan music to a widening audience. McBride also brought on board other chant artists including Krishna Das, Wah, Jai Uttal, Bhagavan Das, Donna De Lory, Wade Morrissette, Reema Datta and Sean Johnson. With the purpose of releasing inspiring chant music, McBride revived a subsidiary label of Nettwerk called Nutone Music.
Newman’s fifth album, Love, Peace, Chant, was released on Nutone in September 2009. Love Peace Chant was produced by Newman and Frank Wolf.
In 2008 Newman married devotional singer, recording artist and percussionist Mira, with whom he regularly tours. Mira’s vocals and instrumentation can also be heard on many of his albums, including Love, Peace, Chant.
Newman's sixth album, To Be Home, was released on Nutone in April 2010. To Be Home was produced by Newman and three-time Grammy Award winning producer Trina Shoemaker.
In 2011 David founded the Stay Strong Project, which released a recording and video featuring prominent chant and yoga luminaries in partnership with Global Green USA in support of the Gulf Coast recovery and other environmental and humanitarian concerns.
David and Mira's daughter Tulsi was born in Spring 2011.
On March 20, 2012 David released his seventh CD entitled Stars produced by David and Bill Moriarty on White Swan Records.
In November, 2012, David launched the second Stay Strong Project release entitled You Can Count On Me/Shyam Bolo including a video and single featuring David, Donna De Lory, C.C. White & others. All proceeds go to Global Green USA's Green School's Initiative.
In January, 2013 White Swan Records released ReBliss, a remix of David's Stars CD in collaboration with composer, producer, Krishna Venkatesh.
On January 14th, 2014 David released his ninth CD entitled Travel Well on Inner Fire Music/White Swan Records. It reached #16 on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter charts.
David Newman's music embodies a devotional mysticism, distinctive musicality, poetic intimacy and a deep respect for India's ancient chant tradition. His recordings expand the traditional kirtan medium by incorporating a wide range of musical and lyrical elements and by exploring a vast palette of progressive production influences. His live kirtans and concerts have a joyous, energetic, and uplifting energy.
Soul Freedom (2003) Inner Fire Music, Produced by Kit Thomas and Ben Dowling
Leap of Grace: The Hanuman Chalisa (2005) Pranamaya Music, Produced by David Newman and Frank Wolf
Lotus Feet: A Kirtan Revolution (2005) Inner Fire Music, Produced by Frank Wolf
Into the Bliss: A Kirtan Experience (CD/DVD) (2006) Inner Fire Music / Divine Light Pictures, CD Produced by Frank Wolf and David Newman, DVD Produced and Directed by Jennifer Young
Love Peace Chant (2008) Nutone Music / Nettwerk Records, Produced by Frank Wolf and David Newman
To Be Home (2010) Nutone Music / Nettwerk Records, Produced by Trina Shoemaker and David Newman
Stay Strong (single) (2011), The Stay Strong Project, Nutone Music / Nettwerk Records, David Newman and Various Artists
Stars (2012) White Swan Records, Produced by David Newman and Bill Moriarty
You Can Count On Me/Shyam Bolo (single) (2012), The Stay Strong Project, David Newman Music, David Newman and Various Artists
ReBliss (2013) White Swan Records, David Newman and Krishna Venkatesh. Produced by David Newman, Krishna Venkatesh and Bill Moriarty
Travel Well (2014) Inner Fire Music/White Swan Records. Produced by David Newman, Philippo Franchini, Frank Wolf, Mira, and Bill Moriarty
David Newman has also authored compositions appearing on the following releases:
“He Ma Durga”, The Lover and the Beloved (2004) Anja Music, Recorded by Donna De Lory, Written by David Newman, Donna De Lory and Jeremy Toback
“Bathe in these Waters”, Sanctuary (2009) Nettwerk Records/Nutone Music, Recorded by Donna De Lory, Written by David Newman
“Guru Om”, Sanctuary (2009) Nettwerk Records/Nutone Music, Recorded by Donna De Lory, Written by David Newman and Donna De Lory
“My Friend”, A Living Prayer (2006) Inner Fire Music, Recorded by Mira, Written by David Newman
“From Sita with Love”, A Living Prayer (2006) Inner Fire Music, Recorded by Mira, Music by David Newman
“Ma Amriteshwari”, A Living Prayer (2006) Inner Fire Music, Recorded by Mira, Music by David Newman
Merging with Grace: A Journey from the Intimate to the Infinite, The Practice of Inner Fire Meditation (2006) Inner Fire Publications
- David Newman