White Sun, a Los Angeles-based band famous for their musical interpretations of Yogic mantras, has won the 2017 Grammy Award for Best New Age Album for their second album White Sun II. The band has a strong Indian connection.
The band is co-founded by Adam Berry, who is known for his work as music director for four seasons of South Park. The other co-founder is lead vocalist Gurujas Kaur Khalsa, aka Gurujas, a former member of the Cleveland Orchestra Children's Chorus and Harijiwan, a gong virtuoso and veteran Kundalini yoga instructor.
The Santa Monica-based trio White Sun has a curious, only-in-L.A. backstory, having been co-founded by Adam Berry. They can add "Grammy-award winning" to that biography. The group bested a competitive field including Enya and Vangelis to earn the New Age album Grammy.
Apart from the original members, White Sun II features Grammy-winning kora player Mamadou Diabate, the Punch Brothers' violinist Gabe Witcher and tabla player Abhiman Kaushal.
The lyrics of their album come from Yoga bhajans and their vocalist is inspired by the philosophies of kundalini yoga. "I didn’t write any of the lyrics,” Gurujas told AXS in a 2016 interview. "They were pre-written for me by saints, sages, and yogis 5,000 years ago.”
The album features another Indian connection – tabla player Abhuman Kaushal, who belongs to the Farukkabad, Lucknow. The Hyderabad-born musician is also a professor at the department of ethnomusicology, University of California, Los Angeles.
When White Sun picked up the trophy, accepting the award, Gurujas said, "We just want our music to make something better for somebody somewhere. And it's our dream to see this world become a more beautiful place. For anyone who shares in that dream with us, thank you, we love you and let's do better."