San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Gaura Mantra Fest to spread healing vibes over San José

San José looks to be getting a little hectic this weekend, with outdoor concerts and cultural festivities galore. But one event planned at the downtown Jacob Karpio Gallery aims to have a calming effect on the city.

On Sunday, March 14, the art gallery, located near the Parque Nacional, will offer Indian spiritual music, yoga, meditation and a vegetarian buffet for its third annual Gaura Mantra Fest. The earnings from the event will be used to help Haiti recover from the Jan. 12 earthquake.

In addition to helping Haiti, the event is intended to help San José recover some of the serenity it has lost to violence and crime, according to gallery owner Jacob Karpio. “After 5 p.m., people say they´re afraid to go into San José,” Karpio said during a press conference on Thursday. “With events like this we want to take back the city center.”

The program features Prem Prayojan and the Kirtaniyas, who will perform Kirtan, an ancient form of Hindu music and chant. Originally from the United Kingdom and now based in Santa Monica, in the U.S. state of California, Prem Prayojan is a renowned expert on Bhakti yoga and the ancient language of Sanskrit. He gives seminars around the world on these topics and others related to Eastern spirituality.

But Sunday, this spiritual leader wants the music to do most of the guiding. With some narration, he said, the performance will be a “meditation to develop a harmonic vision of reality.”

Performers will also include Santos y Zurdo, a local electronic ethno-fusion band, and Oscar López, an Argentine bandoneón player.

Karpio said in previous years the event has drawn as many as 400 people, and this year he expects more to come, adding that partygoers who attend the Transitarte Festival can come to the Gaura Mantra Fest to cool down.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m., the festival will be located at the Jacob Karpio Gallery, at Avenida 1 near Calle 11, opposite the southern side of the Supreme Elections Tribunal (tel. 2257-7963). Tickets cost ¢ 3,000.

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