Classic ISKCON Vinyl – Vrindavana LP from France and/or Holland (and Spain, too)
This album was requested some time ago and I’ve been meaning to get around to it. It wasn’t the easiest to clean up, but now that it’s finished, it really does sound great! I hope you enjoy it. Happy downloading. Haribol!
The Vrindavana LP, released by Parampara Productions, is tied for my favorite Classic ISKCON record with Temple Radha Krsna, also released by Parampara. It’s got almost everything you could want, including an amazing rendition of “Kesava Kali Mala” by Acyutananda Swami.
Sure, if you wanted to, you could see this as the poor-man’s Radha Krishna Temple (the George Harrison-produced LP that everyone has). Vrindavana seems to be trying mimic Radha Krishna Temple to a large degree. Most of the instruments are traditional, save a bass guitar and an often haphazardly played flute.
To me, however, the Radha Krishna Temple LP has always seemed over-produced. It’s too slick in many places and while a beautiful album, it doesn’t capture what you’d hear in the temple. Vrindavana pretty well fills that gap. It’s fairly well produced, but keeps enough of the temple spirit to satisfy my uselessly picky tastes.
Unlike many of the other records, there’s nothing weird or overly mysterious about this release. I have two copies of it and it’s obvious that they’re different pressings, but nothing too wacky.
The pressing from Holland has a purple stripe around the cover image. The French one has a blue stripe. Holland’s back cover gives a bit more information about the songs and places captions on the pictures (albeit, in Dutch). The Holland release came with an insert containing lyrics and purports (again in Dutch), while the French release (at least my copy of it) didn’t.
If I could find one odd thing about this release it’s that each country’s release is a completely different pressing. The French vinyl is of higher quality and much thicker. Holland’s label is the same as the French label, except they printed some copyright and “Made in Holland” info around the outer edge (probably for legal reasons specific to Holland).
The mixes are the same on each release, though the French release has two songs (the last songs on each side) that were mixed a bit too high, clipping a good deal of the vocals. Luckily, I was able to lift those two songs from the Dutch release. My copy of the French release was in much better shape than my copy of the release from Holland, which is why I chose one over the other.
There’s also a Spanish release from 1978 on the Producciones Govinda label. I don’t have that one though.
As interesting as I’m sure this is, let’s get to the songs themselves.
Kant A / Face A
1. Sri Rupa Manjari (6′30″) par Kausalya dasi
A beautiful flute and sitar accompany the beautiful voice of Kausalya dasi. I’ve never heard of her before, but she’s a great singer. This is a pretty mellow piece and a fine way to start a great album.
2. Manasa deha geha (5′) par Manibandha das
The first of two “Manasa deha geha”s. This is slow, but kind of funky too. There’s definitely a bit of swank going on here. Especially with the bass guitar and the what is probably an autoharp. The flute adds to the swankiness, especially during the flute-freak-out towards the end.
3. Bhaja hunre mana (5′) par Achyutananda Swami
It’s Achyutananda Swami! There’s some pretty steady sitar work going on here. This is very Indian. Even more so than Achyutananda Swami’s bhajans usually are. This is practically a song ripped straight from a Bollywood movie. You can almost picture some chubby and sweaty Indian guy patting his chest and doing a well-choriographed dance while inexplicably kicking piles of colored dust.
4. Gopinatha (4′30″) par Manibandha das
Very slow and mellow. There’s a great rolling rhythm to this. Something very bassie about it. Maybe it’s just the bass guitar. There’s a lot going on here. The kartalas seem to be playing in a 3/4 meter (like “Damodarastakam”) while the rest of the music is in 4/4. Not totally sure about this, but it works.
Kant B / Face B
1. Srita kamala (4′30″) par Kausaya dasi
Back with Kausaya dasi! A very sweet voice, twice overdubbed. It’s quite nice.
2. Kesava kali mala (3′20″) par Achyutananda Swami
Hey now! This is just funky! Totally worth the price of admission right here. Again, nearly Bollywood in its swankiness. Is that a bongo drum I hear? No idea, but it’s great. Check out the kartalas! And yet again with the funky flute. Please listen to this. There are maracas!
3. Manasa deha geha (7′30″) par Kausalya dasi
Kausalya dasi gives “Manasa deha geha” a try. This is a very mellow, yet menacing take on this classic. It works, even with the oddly placed bass guitar.
4. Hare Krsna kirtana (4′30″) les bhaktas assembles
Let’s all get together and chant Hare Krishna! Kausalya dasi leads and everyone follows. This is the same melody that’s used on the Radha Krishna Temple.
As I said before, my copy of the French album was in pretty ok shape – better than my copy of the Dutch album. Still, this was a tough one to clean up. Some of the pops were probably from the source tapes as they didn’t sound like vinyl pops. I fixed what I could and I think you’ll really enjoy this one.
The Vrindavana LP is my friend Rati’s favorite and I’m really happy that I can offer it to her in a much better quality than it was before. Vaisnavas should always leave a record cleaner than they found it! Hopefully they’ll play it for their beautiful deities, Nitai-gauracandra.
I’m unaware that any of these songs were ever officially rereleased by ISKCON (or anybody else for that matter). The album itself isn’t too difficult to track down. Some copies are selling for $100ish, but I see others for less than $10. This is definitely one you’d want to pick up.
And as always, this LP is available as high quality mp3s and as “lossless” FLAC files. For most of you, the MP3 at 320kbps will be more than sufficient.
Fairly high-quality scans of the album covers, records and insert are included as well (and as usual).
Just click on the button and it’ll take you to a page where you can download the zip file. Then open the zip file with WinZip (or whatever program you use to open zip files). Add to your MP3 library or burn it to a CD-R. Easy as pie!
Vinyl LP from my personal collection.
Turntable: Audio Technica PL-120A
Cartridge: ATP-2XN (Stock)
TCC TC-750LC Audiophile Phono Preamp
Soundcard: Roland Edirol UA-1EX USB external soundcard
Audacity 1.3.7 on Linux Mint 7
-Digital recording from soundcard
-Editing and splitting of tracks
Gnome Wave Cleaner 0.21-10
-Manual and automatic click/pop removal
-Converted WAV to 320kbps MP3 and FLAC
Artwork Scanned from Original @ 300 dpi with XSane .996
Edited and Restored Using GIMP Image Editor 2.6.6