A year ago, my grandmother said to me, “Isn’t time such a wonderful gift?” … That was the seed. That was the beginning …
… For as long as I can remember, time was something that I looked upon negatively. It was always a burden, a pressure, a restriction. It was something that I was always running out of, something that I couldn’t grasp. I constantly encumbered myself with the impossible task of figuring everything out right now. I mean, we’re running out of time, aren’t we?
Look around you … Our daily lives are ruled by time. Everyone is in a rush. Everyone is trying to get things done before time runs out. We are bound by it, frustrated with it, and often angry at it.
When my grandmother looked up to me from her wheel chair on that golden afternoon, something happened. I didn’t know it then, but that one remark would stick with me for weeks and months to come. Slowly, but inevitably, her words would unravel the weighted tassels of time that I had continually allowed myself to be fettered by. In time, time changed its face.
Thus … KALA was born.
“Kala” is the Sanskrit word for ‘time’. In contrast to my inherited understanding of time, many Eastern cultures of our world understand and treat time for its eternal nature. It is spoken of in its relationship to space and to growth. It fosters wisdom and right understanding. It is the womb of all creation – from which we all came, and to which we will all return to. There is no beginning, and there is no end.
After that day with my grandmother, I found that, through song, I began to explore the notion of time differently. I endeavored to surrender myself to it – to let go of the pressure of it and embrace the stillness within it. This album mirrors my journey with time. My journey to surrender more deeply to it. Everything – all the bad, all the good, and everything in between – it’s all happening in perfect time. We may not always see the perfection, especially in the midst of our daily chaos, but when we look back, we can see … There is a spirit of time that is working everything perfectly. We can’t rush it. We can’t hold it back. We can only surrender to its unfoldment … I had to learn this the hard way.
After recording all the demos for the album on the island of Maui, we planned out our whole year of touring and traveling. First stop was the Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia. Words could not describe how excited I was to be on that line up. However, the last day of our stay on Maui, I became seriously ill with a staph infection, hospitalized, and shorn of my locks. Australia got canceled and my world got rocked. I didn’t know what was up or down, what was left and what was right. Confused and saddened, I listened back to the album of KALA and realized the joke was on me. My grandmother didn’t only give me the seed … she also gave me the medicine.
“You can’t rush your healing” … “Everything happens for a reason” … These were my own lyrics that I was listening back to … But what was the reason? Why did all this happen? I’m sure we all ask ourselves the same questions in times of hardship.
Before I got sick, my wife was about to leave for a trip to Nepal for a project up in the Himalayas. She cancelled it when I was hospitalized. About two weeks later, on the day she was scheduled to fly home to the US … we got the news … Earthquake … My wife was scheduled to fly out of Kathmandu the day the earthquake hit. A friend told me after that, “Every time you think of your sickness … you should get on your knees and kiss the ground.”
KALA is about time the healer, time the teacher, time the friend, and all the lessons within. My hope and prayer is that these songs and stories help inspire us to look at this journey of life in all its vastness rather than it’s limitations … We’re not running out … We’re really running in. My grandmother gave me the seed, I give back to her the fruit. I love you Maw Maw.