Uma Reed & Friends

"Uma's beautiful voice and bhakti spirit connect our hearts to the profound and ancient devotional practice of kirtan." — Ram Dass
Uma Reed
Uma Reed
Vocals, harmonium
Uma was first exposed to Hindu devotional chanting in the early 1970s, while studying meditation and spiritual practices with Ram Dass and various other teachers. Kirtan was a practice that touched her deeply, and as a devotee of Neem Karoli Baba, she often participated in kirtan gatherings with fellow devotees, as well as in other ashrams and spiritual communities. For years she held kirtan in her home, and for the past dozen years or so, she has led kirtan formally in yoga studios, spiritual centers, and retreat settings. She has taught workshops and led kirtan on numerous retreats and in satsang with Ram Dass and other spiritual teachers in the U.S. and abroad.

Of special importance to Uma when singing kirtan is understanding the meaning of the Sanskrit words and songs, as well as who the Hindu deities are and what they mean in our lives. Having traveled the bhakti path for many years, she was eventually led to the study of Sanskrit and Vedanta (the teachings of the Upanishads), which helps her to unfold the deeper meaning of the kirtan songs. She has been a student of traditional Advaita Vedanta and Sanskrit for several years, through the lineage of Swami Dayananda Saraswati. In recent years, she was invited to join Ram Dass in a dialogue on "Bhakti and Vedanta" at his Maui satsang.

With "Uma and Friends" she currently leads regular kirtan chanting groups at several locations in northern California. She is also the creator of the "Magic Mirrors" oracle cards and the author of Developing Your Intuition With Magic Mirrors, published by Hay House.
Kartals, chimtas, storytelling
Shivaya spent many years in India, and lived some of those years as a sadhu (wandering spiritual seeker). Evenings often found him sitting by a dhuni (fire) with other sadhus, shaking his chimta bells and singing the names of God. The stories of his experiences and encounters during that time are profound and magical, and are a highlight of each kirtan event.
Tabla, keyboards
Gangadhar (aka Mark Gerhard) studied tabla with Ali Akbar Khan, Shankar Ghosh, Jnan Prakash Ghosh, and Swapan Chaudhuri. He also studied baul sangeet with the bauls (ecstatic street singers) in Bengal, and has recorded and performed with Jai Uttal, Krishna Das, Bhagavan Das, and others.
Matt Packard
Matt Packard
Guitar, flute
Matt has played music all his life, beginning with the Suzuki violin method at age 4, and switching to guitar at 14. Since then he has studied and played various instruments in many musical styles, and has recorded under the name "Last Laugh and the Beat Apothecary." With "Uma and Friends," he enchantingly imparts the spirit of bhakti through his music. Visit
“Love everyone, serve everyone, remember God.” — Neem Karoli Baba