Madhuri’s review of Miten’s 9-track album that is being released today.
by Miten (vocals and guitar)
with Deva Premal (vocals)
Manose (bansuri and vocals)
Joby Baker (bass)
Spencer Cozens (piano)
Available as iTunes, mp3, Audio CD, Streaming from: devapremalmiten.com
Miten is in his 70’s now, a veteran of open heart surgery; a veteran of the blessed life we have lived with Osho; a veteran of the travelling musician life; a veteran of life. And his new album is the very embodiment of dignity, grace, maturity, calm, depth, richness – the things we could hope for at his age; and yet things the vagaries of our peculiar journeys on Earth don’t always bring us to.
I love the simple cover photo – a 3/4 portrait, white of hair and beard, handsome of bone structure, soft and yet present of expression. The whole thing is elegant – the title, the picture – and a shiver runs through me at the aptness and rightness of the word: Devotee. Here is a man, a man of mature years; a man unafraid to say he is a Devotee – open, vulnerable, learning all the time; and above all, living in his heart.
The album has a bio sheet and a sheet of description of the music and how it was made. I urge you to read all this – it is well-written, informative, and valuable. We learn that the recording was done at Baker Studios in ten acres of forest in British Columbia. We learn Miten’s history, first as a successful musician in England, then as a sannyasin. It’s all good.
What stayed with me afterwards was his voice. I had to think of Leonard Cohen – though he sounds nothing like Leonard – but that quality of been there, done that, been around the world sixty-three times, loved, lost, found, lost again, found again; and so on. But Leonard didn’t have Osho – and so (it seems to me) he kind of wrote the same song over and over and over again… sad with only the redemption beauty brings; rich without sufficient deliverance – though I can’t say that really; what do I know?
Miten’s voice: a voice that has chewed and digested life, has felt it and welcomed it, has been amazed and more amazed, is ripe and sweet and golden as autumn; and tired and yet so very much still here. Age indeed has beauties youth can never know. A voice of a generous man, still singing – still singing.
There are nine tracks, in a variety of styles – reggae, blues, gospel, and something that sounds like 40’s swing – as well as more cosmic flute, soft folk. As the album notes say, it’s “a collection of songs that roll, meander, roar and swirl gently into the mystic.” I specially liked Rhythm of the Heart, which I presume is about meeting Osho: “And I’m dancin’ to that rhythm / No matter what I do.” And I liked these words, in All the Way: “You better follow your heart / So when the cold wind blows / And the oceans roar / And the God of Love / Is knockin’ down your door / And your mind says No / But your heart says, Carry me away….”
Then there’s the famous River of Babylon, with Deva Premal’s voice behind softly; that catchy gospel sound so easy to sing along with. Into Your Hands is here too but with a different tune; not the gospel sound I love but a bit more psalm-like. But it’s such a good song I can barely complain…
And Bring Me Your Love is gorgeous – slow, very soft, sexy, twangy – kind of bluesy: “Bring it on home / Bring me your body / Your blood and your bones / Bring me the rhythm / Bring me your darkness, / Bring me your light – .”
This is an album for the times – as we age, as we reach upwards now, in our spirits; as we flow towards home – and it will lift anyone, at any age – for it has felt and seen and met the world and met the spirit too – and been made soft as soft and the hard edges are off; and mellowness, gentleness, reign.
There are some people one just adores – and in his adoration, Miten is easily one of these.
Thank you, great, kind musical soul, for all these years creating the sound-track to our bliss.