‘Ignite the Soul’ was a Kirtan-based music concert recently held at Lifesource Yoga. The concert featured headliners Zach Freidhoif (guitar, vocals) and Samuel Salsbury (violin, Sarangi, vocals) who were accompanied by Josh Sherman (percussion) and Matthew DeRubertis (sitar).
I arrived at Life Source Yoga to an eager crowd of people, shoes off and ready to dance, waiting for the doors to be opened. I was sent into the venue to set up my camera and get a feel for the space. The dimly lit Yoga Studio was accented with burning candles and an altar at the side of the stage. As I set up my equipment, the musicians checked the sound levels. A tweak here and there allowed for the instruments, ranging from classic guitar to a Sarangi of India, to fill the room with song. As the musicians practiced I was instantly put at ease, knowing the concert that lie ahead would be equally as calming as it would be exciting.
The doors opened and the crowd of people ushered in, greeting one another with smiling faces and warm hugs. This was not just a random audience, but a community of people coming together to celebrate life, love and music. The room quickly filled, to no surprise, as last year, ‘Ignite the Soul’ was sold out at Akron’s Civic Theater.
As the audience quieted, Salsbury approached the altar to begin with a solemn ceremony. Each musician was anointed with a bindi, a forehead decoration rooted in South Asian spirituality. Salsbury took the stage and began with a soft array of atmospheric sound on the Sarangi. Zach joined him, seated and eyes closed, as the soothing strings gathered the attention of the audience.
What followed was a true celebration of spirituality, life and love. There was a mixture of Kirtan-based chanting and Zach’s original music. Zach’s music is far from the pop-based content one hears on commercial radio, preaching endless parties and jilted love. He spoke of the deeper meaning of what it is to be human and act from a heart filled with an appreciation for life.
He reminds the audience that we are empty vessels, with a lifetime of knowledge to be learned. He spoke of guides along the path, namely his father, who had recently passed away. You know that all over chill you get when the air around you is electric and full of passion? I could feel that chill rush over the entire audience as Zach serenaded us with his music.
As the concert progressed, DeRubertis and Sherman joined on sitar and percussion, respectively, filling the room with an even more robust sound. Many people got off the floor and joined one another in dance while others sat quietly, in a meditative state, soaking in the music. I took my camera off its stationary tripod and joined in the celebration capturing the joy of the audience as they twirled and moved about the space.
This would be Salsbury’s final concert in Akron before embarking on another adventure. Needless to say, he went out with a bang. To see more of Zach Freidhof, check out his website www.zachmusic.net.
Zach, along with many other musicians and artists will be present work at Akron’s Big Love Fest Feb. 28. Big Love will take place downtown at Uncorked Wine Bar and Musica. The festival will run all day from noon until the music stops. Check out the event on Facebook here.