peace through music

Music Bio

Give Peace a Chant Kirtan Community (GPaC) 2001 – 2015 was a Bhakti Yoga inspired inter-spiritual conscious music event that was held at local yoga studios in Vancouver, BC.

We want to say thanks for many sweet memories of GPaC community events!

SPECIAL GUESTS (Past Kirtan Events)
• We have been
honoured to host/or co-host larger events (2001 – 2015). Kirtan special guests, visiting from the USA have included the late, great Shyamdas, Karnamrita Dasi, Gauravani, Radhanath Swami, Mayapuris, Jai Uttal, Krishnadas (sponsored by Banyen Books), Srikala, Dave Stringer, Daniel Paul, Bhagavandas, Gina Sala, Heather & Benjy Wertheimer and Shantala, Jaya Lakshmi (Kirtronica), and Women of Bhakti (film premiere) and Adam Bauer.

GPaC also hosted many local sacred musicians and artists for many joyful years in Vancouver. 🇨🇦 Special memories, in no proper order, Itamar Erez, Pepe Danza, Navaro Franco, David Embry – Blue Lotus Music, Lyle Povah, Bhakti Bros. Ananda and Yogi, Anirudh Kansal, Patrick Francis, Kripanidhi Das, Nitai Ram, Raghunath Das, also, Jeffrey Armstrong, Jerry DesVoignes, Rob Scharein (slides, songbooks, website) Neeraja Aptikar, Niranjan and Surya, Amir, Lorne Mallin, Satyananda Yoga friends, Wade Imre Morrisette, Greg Valou, Sparrow, Tina James, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras with Arunima, Shawn Soucy, Meshe Mooette, Robyn Carrigan, Zoey Wren, Maggie Reagh, Vince, Geo and Andrea, Stefan, Kim Fischer, Steven Elliot, Wendy Lacusta, Valéry Bruneau, Solomon Monjito,  Chaitanya Chandra, Nirmal Nick Eccleston, Geneviève LC, Sarah Webster, Harreson Sito, Nenad Jankovic, Sequoia, Jessica, Kindi, Jambhavan double-bill, Wendy DeMos (Chant Your Heart Open), Ann & Ray Frost and remembering (late) Anne Jerome. Many beautiful musical memories, outdoor events, and live recordings with community friends, and of course, our farewell to our beloved friend, Chantal Jolly in 2009 (RIP).

More recently, Seva included volunteering for Kirtan Vancouver Festival in Stanley Park, as well outdoor Kutir nights, “chanting under the stars.” Holy Cow! and Bhakti Yoga Vancouver’s ‘Kirtan from the Heart’, Summer 2018.

We humbly honour all of our teachers, and wish to express our gratitude for this “Path of Grace”.

GPaC Music & Community Bio:
Our history began 2001 – 2003,
Sandra Leigh and Itamar Erez met at YTT and soon began offering regular Friday “peace through music” inspired chant nights at Prana Yoga in Yaletown. ‘Give Peace a Chant’ was coined as a reminder for us to keep a lighthearted approach to inter-spiritual music as a way to find common ground and relieve divisions of religion and political strife, especially in Fall 2001. GPaC Satsang created a safe place for bhakti yoga, sound healing and honoured “inter-spirituality” just as yoga studios began to trend, our mainstream venues were all over Vancouver.

Friday night GPaC was a weekly meet up for over 7 years, eventually moving to twice a month format. We had a nice run and celebrated over 15 years of hosting sacred music events, mainly focused on Kirtan practices.

Reluctantly, we ended our gatherings when our venue yoga studio in Kitsilano (photo above) was demolished, in 2015. We had been offering the GPaC program there for over 10 years.

2004 – 2005 – GPaC’s first CDs, A Loving Flame / Peace Through Music Recorded Live! w/ Sandra Leigh, David Embry, Lyle Povah, and beautiful singing community in Kits, 2004-2005. Produced by Greg Birdsall.

2005 – 2015 – Thanks to Rob Scharein, GPaC’s website went up in 2007. Rob also started archiving GPaC Live audio recordings, videos, photos, slides and songbooks. Thanks, Rob!

GPaC also started began hosting more visiting guest artists, and it was at this time that Sandra Leigh worked in conjunction with Banyen Books events.

Meanwhile, Sandra managed events and took the ‘Give Peace a Chant’ program out to more places, including various yoga conferences, festivals and mini-tours on the weekends.

2008 – When GPaC joined social media, local gatherings really blossomed. Thanks to many volunteers, too.

2009 – Remembering local beauty, Chantal Jolly, our karmic soul sister. Chantal shared her last years singing with GPaC. After a very long battle with breast cancer, Chantal left her body, but her passing songs healed our hearts, leaving lifetimes changed forever.

2012 –  We needed a place to share some videos, so we started our own YouTube Channel givepeaceachant108 We can also be found on YouTube as SandhyaMusic, where we share our collection of videos, playlist and opportunity to subscribe for more.

2014 – GPaC tours UK, includes Scotland, Glasgow, Sterling, Edinburgh, and Paisley. Recording begins in the Summer at Barrhead, Glasgow, Scotland tracking Bagpipes, Harmonium and Vocal bedtracks for Kirtan Lila, GPaC’s first full studio CD.

2015‘Kirtan Lila’ CD by Give Peace a Chant was released in June, 2015.

2016‘Divine Play’ CD (Instrumentals from Kirtan Lila) by Give Peace a Chant was released in January and became soundtrack for Sandra’s television show production, ‘Yoga Moves for Every Body’ which aired in Vancouver and Calgary on now defunct, Shaw (analogue) community television, Channel 4 and Multicultural Channels. The show can now be seen on YouTube as YogaMovesTV.

2017‘Gopal Lila’ EP by Give Peace a Chant, released on SandhyaRecords©

2018 – SandhyaMusic.com was established in 2018 representing SandhyaRecords2017© and beyond.

2018/19 – At present, Give Peace a Chant is on indefinite rest while Sandra regroups and repairs from bi-lateral wrist surgeries. She still teaches modified yoga, part-time and practices her joyful singing (Seva) everyday, at home. She is currently available for smaller group chants, and one to one lessons and India Retreat info. for enquiries, contact Sandra.

Personal Bio: GPaC host, Sandra Leigh (pronounced Lee) grew up in Alberta but moved to BC where she first took ashram residency in 1996 (BC and abroad). She went on to earn Dru Yoga, Meditation and Sound certificates from trainings held in Canada, North Wales, UK, and India.

More recently, Sandra has experienced more from The Teachings of Shri Vallabhacharya and has been captured by the most beautiful songs and moods that come from this Vaisnava tradition. Previous to this, she took part in all levels study retreat at the Varanasi Academy of Indian Classical Music located in Varanasi (Benares) in 2008. Gratitude includes Pandit Shivnath Mishra & Deobrat Mishra of Varanasi, based on Benares Gahrana music tradition in Varanasi. She also studied Sanskrit at UBC with Professor Thomas Hunter and has made a few retreat visits to India. She would like to learn Hindi since India Lifestyle retreats that have greatly enriched her bhakti yoga practice. Her travels have included Vraj Dham, Varanasi, Nathdwara and Jatipura.

2016 and again in 2019, Sandra took blessings with Pushtimargiya Aacharya, Sri Milan Goswami, and is studying The Teachings of Sri Vallabhacharya. Initiations were given in Kota, India. Brahma-Sambandha, means complete surrender to Bhagwan Shri Krishna’s non-discriminatory Seva.

By extracting the unique flavours or rasa from Indian devotional song or bhajan, and in the spirit of bhakti yoga, adding authentic interpretation, Sandra continues to offer practices, performed lovingly, at home.

We honour that our events take place on traditional, unceded, occupied territories of the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish (Sḵwxwú7mesh), and Musqueam (Xwméthkwyiem) Nations.