Music for Light and Inspiration

Kristopher Rein — Sitar, Tabla
Daniel Hirtz — Didgeridoo, Tabla

Experience a unique combination of instruments for the magic of
Indian classical and the passion of the didgeridoo!
Sitar Tabla Duo, Didgeridoo Tabla Duo, Tabla Duo

Join us for an evening of live music. Listen to the magic of classical north Indian music, experience the passion and depth of the didgeridoo sounds set to tabla and energizing grooves and jam with us in the thrills of tabla duo percussion.
Kristopher and Daniel have known and played with each other for over 15 years. This is the first time they have put together a program that shows the fruits of decades of practice in their love for music and the performing arts.

10050 N. Scottsdale Road Scottsdale, AZ 85253 – (480) 247-8678
When: Friday, February 22nd, 6:30 PM
Tickets: $25 / Nobody will be turned away.
For more info call Daniel at (480) 235-8993
Check out the Facebook event by clicking here.

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Concert for Peace and Happiness during the season for non-violence

Concert for Peace and Happiness during the season for non-violence

This Saturday my good friend and amazingly talented musician Kristopher Rein will play in honor of the season for non-violence some of the music we have worked on for over almost 15 years now. That’s how long ago Kristopher started the study of North Indian classical Tabla with me. From the beginning, he impressed me with his outstanding speed of learning and talent. Not only has he become knowledgeable, solid tabla player but he also picked up the sitar which he has studied under the guidance of Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan for many years now. This will be the first time we invite you to join us for the magic and beauty of Raga and Tala played by Sitar and Tabla traditional style.

Some of you have heard me play Didgeridoo and Tabla at the same time and I really enjoy playing that combination. This time though I will allow myself to be accompanied by Kristopher on the Tablas so I can fully focus on the Digeridoo which I also present in a more loose interpretation of the North Indian model. This is a premier and I feel excited (and a little bit nervous). The Didgeridoo has so many layers of possibilities and I hope to show a side of it that may be new even for the seasoned Didgeridoo connoisseur.

And of course, we will not withhold some straight up percussion with both Kristopher and at the Tablas.

With all the time we have spent together most of what you will hear on this Saturday is spontaneous generation of music and grooves. What seems like a restriction at first look provides the framework to express our creativity freely. I am talking about the restriction of set rhythmical cycles with a definite (and in a sense) holy one when it comes to rhythm or a set scale of tones selected to evoke specific emotions. By agreeing on these elements while playing we share a language that allows us to express our creativity (to the degree of our control of that language).

The Season for Non-Violence - Music for Peace and Happiness

Please come join us, your presence will make us play better music, your ears will inspire us to new ideas and improvisations and your contributions will help us to sustain ourselves so we can find time to practice and get better at our art.

Where: A Mindfulness Life Center — Building B | Special Events & Classes
10339 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85253.
When: Saturday, March 24th, 6:30 PM
Suggested Donation: $20 / Nobody will be turned away.
For more info call Daniel at (480) 235-8993

Thank you,


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Why is your healing important to me? (And to all of us)

If you’re working on your inner growth, I’d like to thank you. Because when you make improvements to your inner world, you also lift up the reality that exists among all of us, and in fact, you’re improving the consciousness that we all share. That’s why your healing is important to me…

Your growth is mine, and my growth is yours.

And, actually, when we put it that way, it’s still based on the language of a separation that doesn’t really exist. The growth belongs to all of us because we’re all part of the larger, universal being.

No longer is our “personal development” simply an individual activity, or something to dabble with in our leisure time when we’re bored with the materialism of modern life and the superficiality of our relationships. We might feel tired of this “un-fulfillment” and decide to explore a little deeper for the simple purpose of feeling better. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, perhaps we should also consider that our typical reactive behaviors are not to be taken lightly. Our automatic responses have become a massive problem in the collective. This “depression state” (as Jason Silva calls it) in which so many people live, is in my view a collective expression of our culture.

So because we feel it, and we want to do something about it, we start working on ourselves. We might start to realize that this is a path to reconciling and redeeming this cultural unwellness. And I say, now that you’ve had this spark of insight, come on, let’s do it! Let’s open up!

If you’re looking for direction, I can give you my best advice: one of most powerful ways we can resolve this imbalance is with our inhale. That may sound strange — and strikingly personal, but after all, it is personal. The pollution of our planet needs to get personal — and I don’t mean just the pollution of our environment, but slavery, human trafficking, poverty, and war. These are becoming things that we can’t stand.

In order to take the first step to clean up our outer world, we have to clean up our inner world. And the “cleaning up” isn’t even necessarily the most important part; the important part is to get to a space where you feel optimistic, engaged, and alive about what is in front of us, not to be depressed or closed down, or apathetic. To step out of that depression state that we all feel. And make no mistake, this is an opportunity, an incredibly beautiful opportunity for all of us to wake up to something. And to me, the only thing holding us back is that constricted part of ourselves that doesn’t allow us to be free.

Pema Chödrön, the well-known Buddhist teacher, starts with gratitude when talking to her class. She says, the fact that you’re here is unbelievably courageous. Because you may not see it right now, but the deeper you look, you will realize that you’re willing to face not just your individual story, but all of the pain and the violent past of humanity. And that is what bubbles up in you, and to say I’m ready to see it all, to let it all come up and to heal it, that is true courage.

And the beauty of all this, the unspeakable beauty of it all, is that we are equipped for this. It is nothing we have to learn. We are designed by nature to be able to do it. We just have to be willing to see and engage in it. It will all become so clear the moment that we go far enough on that path to the point that not only don’t we feel that darkness anymore, that reactiveness, but we go beyond it. In that moment, you start feeling what is beyond the pain and the struggle; you feel the wholeness, the oneness, the light at the end of the tunnel. It pulls you in, to where you feel so optimistic, with the insight that we have so much to gain (as deep as we are in the hole together). The possibilities of what we are starting to see now are incredibly beautiful.

And what you realize is that each of us is limited by our individual lens to fully see it because we need everybody else’s eyes and our collective eyes to see that potential future together. It takes all of us so that we have enough courage to see it and to let it come to us. We may need courage to look in the dark, but we need a lot more courage to look in the light! to accept the beauty that is going to completely blow us away. When I have moments of seeing this beauty with unveiled eyes, I hardly have enough breath to take it in.

For instance, when I traveled recently to Austria, I stood on top of the mountains and gazed into the valleys and tried to take in the beauty of nature in that setting. I told my son who was with me, I should stand here silently for three or four hours just to create the space inside of me to fully see. I don’t have the space! It was absolutely stunning. And of course, that’s a privileged situation, to be able to travel somewhere like that, but you can stand in your backyard and see the incredible poetry of nature in the bugs and the trees and the sunshine, and it can take you to that state of amazement.

I say, why are we so engaged with what’s not working, rather than with the invitation that life is giving us?

And to come full circle, if you come back to your inhale and with that inhale, you are saying, I am willing. Just like when you were born, the first thing you did was inhale. Without that inhale, you wouldn’t be here! And you continue to take inhales every moment of your life, and each time, those inhales say, I want to live.

So this is how we address that depression state in which our culture is stuck. Because a deeply depressed or anxious person has very tiny breaths. All he or she feels is that closed-down sensation, which comes from their stress and anxiety. And you will find that to be true especially in those people who say, I don’t want to breathe deeply. Even the thought of breathing deeply increases their anxiety.

You could tell an individual like that, come on get over it, or you can start working with those who are willing to create a more loving society and engage with them, and create a field so that even the most anxiety-ridden people in our midst feel safe enough to go through that process. I believe we need to have compassion and empathy for those among us who are deep in that darkness. We can’t just throw them under the bus due to our privilege of having access to yoga, or therapy, or life-expanding and mind-expanding technologies.

What do we do with those who don’t have access, or don’t even know they need it, or maybe even fight against it? That’s what we need to consider from the perspective of being in this together, of sharing this collective experience of life. My answer is that we get together and build a field of oneness, of empathy and compassion. That’s the way to be there for those who need our help.

So to me, this process is personal. Your healing is personal to me, and mine is to you. Let’s take a deep breath — literally — and create this together.







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Why are we so depressed?

In one of Jason Silva’s latest videos, he asks the question, “Why are we so sad?” Why are we so depressed?
Why are there – according to the UN – 800,000 suicides every year? In fact, over 78 million people in the U.S are prescribed psychiatric drugs to solve a problem that we deem an individual issue.

(You can find Jason’s video here)

It took a while for me to respond to this but it has been on my mind for some time… It seems the answers we are given are always geared toward the individual, while ignoring our need to be socially connected. I believe if we look in the direction of our disconnected, polarized society, then our actions to resolve issues like depression need to be very different than simply treating the individual – and will quickly infringe on our culture and the way we have defined our reality. It’s not just a number of depressed people, it’s our depressed collective consciousness.

In Jason’s later video, he describes the “flow state” as a recourse to combat depression, where the brain is engaged, and the body is full of energy. In these extraordinary activities, he says our nervous systems light up and activate. Which is great if you can jump out of a plane, or have the privilege to be on stage playing music.

But what about the ordinary, everyday folks who are depressed in their day to day lives? I would say that we are depressed because we have a depressing culture, one that doesn’t create connection. This connection that we build in everyday moments is the real medicine that can cure our depression. To simply be with one another, with trust, opening up about subtle feelings and sharing in a way that nourishes us. Every human being has an incredible life story that might be deemed not important enough by a skewed culture of celebrity, but which is in itself so sweet and meaningful.

Depression to me is the inward pollution that we see around us in the outside world. People who deal with depression are the sensitive ones through whom the negative energy of our culture flows. And we respond by giving them more pharmaceuticals to stifle the natural reaction and keep them numb.

Why do we think we can’t solve this? It’s quite obvious why we are depressed. We’re destroying everything around us and we’re depressed about it! Let’s open up our hearts. Let’s be there for each other. And let’s connect on a level that allows us to collectively heal the old wounds that keep us separated and disempowered.

What do you think?

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Earth Day 2017 in Phoenix at Agave Farms

Come join us on Earth Day 2017 in Phoenix at Agave Farms on Saturday, April 22nd from 1 to 9 PM for music, workshops, yoga, family camp, drum circle, ecstatic dance, speakers, and healers…

Most important for being together with millions around the US and the world to stand up for our mother earth!

Learn more about the amazing story of Earth Day by clicking here.

We are looking for workshop leaders, healers, volunteers, drummers, and dancers!

Click here to contact me. Collaborate with us! Click here to fill out a collaborators form!

Here are a few links: Facebook Event Page, Omnitribe, Phoenix Tribal Nights, Register yourself at Eventbright.

See you there!

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India meets Africa…

India meets Africa in this 6/8 composition for percussion music. Tablas come from India and are a very sophisticated percussion instrument that takes decades to master. They are used here in an nontraditional way like African bells. together with the Didgeridoo it creates a wonderful rich sound with an almost hypnotic effect before we switch to Djembes, Bells and Dun Duns. Lot’s of fun to perform!

I finally got around to editing this video and I think it came out pretty good. There were a lot of people involved in making this happen and many of them are not professional musicians or even have full training… but as so often I really enjoy the rawness of a performance like this. This piece is inspired by one of my early drum teachers Andre Varkonyi, who later became a good friend and we played many years together in the group Angklung out of Vienna, Austria hence the title “May in Vienna”


Tabla and Bells: Ved and Saaketh Narayan
Didgeridoo and Djembe: Dashmesh Khalsa
Djembe and Shaker: Seti Gershberg, Valerie Handlers, Abhijit Banerjee
Dun Dun and Bells: Carol Benwell
Shekere: Lavinia Strubble
Tabla and Djembe: Daniel Hirtz

What do you think? Please leave a comment below…

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Tabla workshop with Pandit Abhijit Banerjee

Friends I am excited to announce that Pandit Abhijit Banerjee is coming back to the valley of the sun for an exciting tabla workshop.

I asked him to add a special section to the workshop that teaches how to accompany Kirtan, Bhajans and lighter music. Many of table students want to be able to play along when others are singing their songs, do a call-and-response Kirtan or simply be able to accompany with tabla when a friend plays harmonium, guitar or any other instrument. If you play tabla at all this workshop will give you a boost!


Please register here:

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Meeting of the Masters 2016

“Meeting of the Masters” – Annual Dhwani Academy Concert in Phoenix, AZ

Please join us for our annual Dhwani concert “Meeting of the Masters” Sunday, August 14th at the Burton Barr Central Library downtown Phoenix. This will be quite an experience with a mix of students and masters of Indian music as well as an performance from my African Drum Jam class! Hope to see you there!

Meeting of the Masters - Dhwani AZ Concert 2016

Meeting of the Masters will be an afternoon of a  variety of music inspired by the Dhwani Academy of Percussion Music its founder Pandit Abhijit Banerjee as well as Daniel Hirtz and the members of his West African Drum Jam Ensemble.

This yearly concert has gained lots of popularity because of the variety and quality of music people have experienced.

Not only do we regularly feature great masters of Indian music we also showcase our upcoming talent from the world of Indian Tabla – the ever more popular Indian percussion instrument. This year we also will include African percussion with Daniel Hirtz and a dedicated group of students. It has been the desire of Pandit Abhijit Banerjee to expand the Dhwani Academy beyond Indian parcussion and Tabla into new realms of international percussion. With Daniel Hirtz now being part of the Dhwani faculty that dream is slowly coming true. This year our focus will be on West-African drumming and we will perform music that bring both traditions together.

Featured Artist Joining us:
Pandit Sandip Ghosh  – Vocal
Pandit Abhijit Banerjee – Tabla
Seema Gulati – Sitar
Jyotiprakas Mistri – Tabla

Students of Tabla Ensemble

African Drum Jam Ensemble:
Daniel Hirtz – Tabla, Djembe, Percussion
Ved Narayan – Tabla, Djembe, Percussion
Saaketh Narayan – Tabla, Sangpan, Percussion
Dashmesh Khalsa – Djembe, Didgeridoo
Carol Benwell – Djembe, Dun Dun
Valerie Handlers – Djembe, Percussion
Seti Gershberg – Djembe, Percussion
Lavinia Struble – Kinkeni, Percussion

Burton Barr Central Library – 1221 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004 – View Map
Contact: Daniel Hirtz (480) 235-8993
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Holistic Tuning – Free Introduction Workshop

Holistic Tuning – Free Introduction Workshop
at the A Mindfulness Life Center

Saturday, March 26th – 3 to 5 PM.

I have developed this over the last 30 years and put a lot of love, dedication and patience into it. The early versions came from a lot of trial and error work me teaching rhythm, bodywork and drumming at a very bold and innovative theater and acting training center in Vienna, Austria.

It is through that experimental work that I discovered the power of conscious breathing and began my life long journey into the depth of breath – it’s still going!

I have challenged myself over and over again to find something else that is equally effective at dissolving the tensions that keep us from feeling vibrant in our bodies, emotionally fluid and opening to the deeper realities of our lives. This work has come back to me again and again.

Holistic tuning is a form of active meditation that enables participants to dissolve and integrate short and long term tensions that keep them from perceiving the wholeness they are at the core of their being. Holistic tuning is a modern multi-dimensional practice that addresses the needs of people living in our fast-paced, stress filled world.

Holistic tuning is holistic by utilizing the synergistic effect of several modalities simultaneously:

  • Conscious breathing
  • Rhythmical movement – a form of basic dance
  • Visceral connection between participants through synced breath, movement and sound
  • The sound and vibration of our voices together – a rudimentary form of singing that has a proven deep effect on our self-awareness
  • Conscious connection – “the whole is more than the sum of its parts”.
  • Energy awareness – shared awareness of our individual and collective energy flow
  • Silence, stillness and meditation

In this introduction I will explore each of the above modalities in greater depth and share his experience with this work over the last 30+ years.

This is followed by a short holistic tuning session that will give participants a tangible experience of this work.

I developed Holistic Tuning inspired by my work as a musician, teacher of conscious connected breathing and energy awareness. Check out my story here:

Holistic Tuning - Free Introduction Workshop

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Daniel with Mindful Drumming on TV!

I am excited to share with you that I was on local TV here at ABC Channel 15!

During the interview Donne Ruko told me that the word “Mindfulness” recently dramatically rose in popularity and that she is particularly interested in mindful drumming. That helped me to better formulate what I do in my drum classes and events. It’s mindful drumming! I love it! Click on the image below to watch the clip:


Drumming Your Way to Better Health

I would love to hear from you! What do you think?

If you want to experience what mindful drumming is like I host a mindful drum circle once a month on the third Sunday from 4 to 6 PM at A Mindful Life Center in Scottsdale. Scroll down on that page to find the event.

Please also check out the sessions and classes I offer by Sessions and Classes and Drumming Sounds on Meetup for upcoming events.


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