Sunset Concert at the Palace of Gold
Posted August 20, 2010
On Saturday, August 21, New Vrindaban Community will host Devananda Pandit, formerly Denis Moreau, live in concert at Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold. The concert will begin at 7:45 pm. Devananda will be playing his own original contemporary folk songs, with which many of his fans are already familiar. He will also be including a new element to his repertoire – kirtan – a genre of music with a call and response format that is becoming trendy in the US and Europe.
Born in Quebec, Canada, in 1955, Devananda is a bi-lingual singer, songwriter, and recording artist. “I started playing the guitar and writing lyrics when I was 16. I started playing music full-time in 1994 while I was living in New York City,” said Devananda. In 2000, he released his first CD, Pearl Without a Price, which has sold 10,000 copies. His second CD, Borrowed Goods, was released in 2003. He is working on a third CD, Windows to the Other World.
“Playing at Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold is like playing at the Taj Mahal,” said Devananda with excitement. “The Palace is gorgeous at sunset. It will be lit up for the concert, and the fountains in the rose garden will stay on.” The Palace will stay open during the concert, and guided tours will be available throughout the show. Guests are also invited to visit the award-winning rose garden, and other attractions in New Vrindaban.
Concessions will be available during the concert, including World’s Best Cookies and veggie burgers produced by local businesswoman Dharma Dasi of New Vrindaban. Guests are also invited to bring their own vegetarian snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as lawn chairs and cushions for outdoor sitting.
Devananda is a folk rock singer with a style reminiscent of Bob Dylan. His lyrics, which have a definite spiritual message, are broad enough to appeal to Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and agnostics alike. He plays at inter-faith events, pubs, and coffee houses. One fan said about Devananda’s first CD Pearl Without a Price (2000), “There's a couple tracks on here with a Native American theme, but most are thoughtful examinations of his own inner-life. He doesn't shy away from tackling the ‘big questions.’ But he's not preachy, preferring instead to view these subjects through a more personal prism.”
The Sunset Concert marks a turning point in Devananda’s career, who up until now, has been known professionally as Denis Moreau. From the Sunset Concert onward, he will be performing exclusively under the name Devananda Pandit, the name he received when he took spiritual initiation into the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in 1981 in New Vrindaban. “I was living in Ottawa at the time, and I traveled to New Vrindaban to receive initiation,” says Devananda.
Why is he making a name change mid-career? “I want to enter the kirtan venue, both locally and internationally,” explained Devananda. “My personal experience is that West Virginians love kirtan – and it’s not just the young people. When I play at retirement homes, I chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Those folks get up, and they sing and dance with me. The holy name is universal,” said Devananda, referring to the names Hare, Krishna, and Rama in the now-famous Hare Krishna maha-mantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
“The Sunset Concert at Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold will be very special,” confided Devananda. “I have fond memories of the Palace when it first opened.” Devananda is one of the many Hare Krishna devotees who helped build the Palace. “I did a lot of sanding – I sanded the columns in the former restaurant, among other things.”
The Sunset Concert on August 21 will begin at 7:45pm. Admission is $5 for ages 16 and over, and free for 15 and under. Guests are invited to bring lawn chairs and cushions for this outdoor event.
Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold is located south of Moundsville – Wheeling, off Route 250. For more information, contact (304) 843-1812 or www.PalaceOfGold.com.