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One Track Heart

A bio-doc about singer Krishna Das charts his life journey, from Long Island lonely boy to kirtan star


Life is a strange and twisty journey, and it certainly was for Jeffrey Kagel. In 1970, the moody suburban Jewish boy from Long Island turned down a lead-singer gig with a promising rock group (who found success as Blue Oyster Cult); instead, he sold everything and relocated to northern India to study with a Hindu guru, Maharaj-ji. There, re-christened Krishna Das, he discovered a gift for performing kirtans, or devotional musical chants.

Krishna Das returned to the United States and embarked on a musical career that over the decades has spanned success, depression, drug abuse, success again (including a Grammy nomination) and, finally, peace of purpose. Jeremy Frindel's bio-doc, with plenty of participation from Krishna Das, will be most interesting to his fans, and to those of Eastern devotional music. Among those interviewed: popular spiritual writer Ram Dass, through whom young Kagel met the Mararishi, and Rick Rubin, the well-known music producer. Krishna Das' life has been an intriguing East-West hybrid, and, though these tensions are touched on, they're never fully explored.

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