Kara Johnstad / Blog

Laughter - Strengthen Your Voice and Transform Your Life

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3 MORE DAYS!!!! It is happening. In Berlin people are still calling the office to see if we can squeeze them into the Kara Sutra Lounge and I am a bit giddy. We picked up a long USB cable so that we do not have to worry about connections being broken if we use only WI FI. In some odd way it reminds me of THE ESSENCE RADIO SHOW - where I used to say every Sunday.. You are listening to The Essence Show with Kara Johnstad - From L A to New York from Vegas over to London, Rio, Cairo, Tokyo anywhere on planet earth where there is an internet connection including Antartica, I do love those penguins.... and then I would giggle and then would go into a couple of hours of the most amazing musicians. Brad Mehldau, Fabrizio Pigliucci, Christian Lindquist, MJ Hummingway reading poetry for the Kite Tailor project, Emilie-Claire Barlow and Deva Premal, Lisbeth Scott, Ane Brun, the oddest mix between Jazz and Folk and New Age and Film. It was my journey time.

This weekend it is similar... I will be journeying through different times periods of my life, through jazz splashed with soul , a bit of folk splashed with new age. Someone said the other day, you are eclectic. Am I? Perhaps I am. I haven't figured myself out yet, which is good, I surprise myself everyday at the ideas I still have and the inspirations that literally whisk me away.

So - I have more songs than days left. I will give you the double whamee on Saturday. Today the song is STAY GOLD:

I always say STAY GOLD at the end of THE ESSENCE RADIO ( yes it will re-launch ). You can find this beauitful ballad at itunes or amazon. It is off of the Paths X album.



P.S. I deeply believe in Global Mind - Global Heart. If you too sense how powerful it is when we join together in hearts... did you know that heart and earth are the same stem of a word.. e a r t h - h e a r t , then it is easy... all you have to do is log into www.stageit.com/kara-johnstad and sign up for the shows and I will invite you into my living room and I will pop of somewhere - hopefully close to you - on a flat screen. Will it be Bogata? Shanghai ? Sydney? Lyon? Athens? Where will you take me to. I am curious... I will take you to the landscapes of my soul. This I promise.. on October 22, 2011 at 7:30 to 9:30 pm Berlin Time.




Music and Words by Kara Johnstad

Stay gold

You said back then

Parting ways

Tears of love and affection

Time to go in another direction

"Answer Me"

My heart pounds to know

Where you´re going


With so much for us to

Share time

Of years gone by


And my heart´s all a crumble

Writing you

And my hand starts to tremble


The words can´t express

What I´m feeling

Oh, to see through your eyes again

Sing me to sleep, my love

Dance in my dreams, love

Follow your heart

Tho´ we´re apart

Stay gold


ONLINE CONCERT WORLD PREMIERE !!! Wow! I am buzzed.. We are reconnecting in outer space. The thought of singing all these songs that are so precious to me in Berlin and Vegas and NYC and LA and San Francisco and Texas and London and Wisconsin? Brasil?...Where are you on the map? pass it on and I could freshen up on my geography. Can I come visit you in your living room? You are welcome in my home - this Saturday you will finally meet Mr. Steinway and see my studio. There is a live chat happening and you can send in thoughts - questions and type waaahoooo! and whistle:) while I tell you some of the oddest stories... I am always in flow so I may just surprise myself what pops out of my mouth while singing.

The official show is 2 x 30 minutes, yet I am planning to go overtime and push the system to the max by delivering 2 x 45 minute sets:) shhh don't tell anyone - but the 30 minute will be extended. This is going to work.

get more info at www.stageit.com/kara-johnstad

So, RIVER is the next song that comes after HURTING PLACE in the second set.

I wrote it while walking along the SPREE in Berlin with my sweet floppy eared dog.

I am going to release it on the Moon in Capricorn album and just got in a video of the unplugged version which we shot in Italy in August 2011 which I hope to have finished SOON:)

P.S. all proceeds of this concert go to finishing up the next album. We still need a few more studio sessions with full

orchestra and every penny we make is going to pay for a few quarter notes or cello and a trumpets blare or a sweet guitar riff. So - once again thanks in advance for being part of the bigger pictures and believing in the big visions and dreams.



P.P.S. if I could live anywhere in the world.. it would be next to a river.. this is where I feel deeply at home. I know home is where the heart is, yet my heart is a river.


© Words and Music Kara Johnstad

Sometimes it scares me

How fast these waters rushing

Sometimes it stuns me

How the people keep hushing me down

Sometimes I’m frightened

To let the waters take me

I pray the rocks won’t break me

But then

I feel sweet love

Like a river

Pouring from above

And and I know yes I know

This is the river called life

Sometimes I hesitate

I just put my big toe in

Sometimes I am so brave

I jump right in for a long long swim

Sometimes the waterfalls they

Tumble me right under

Ears are filled with thunder

So scared yet I feel sweet love

Like a river pouring from above

And I know yes I know

This is the river called life




COUNTDOWN - Global Launch - Day 5! Hurting Place

WOW - is it really only 5 more days until this next event. I am buzzed and going to keep this short because in 20 minutes I walk into a rehearsal and have to have the run through before the piano tuner comes at noon.

The next song up in the second set is HURTING PLACE: released on the Paths X album.

listen to the end of the songs... I do not know how many bands I had to discuss my love for odd forms of composition.. .what is natural for me is odd for many. The song is more or less AB format with a C at the end... every one said.. Kara make that into a bridge... yet they forgot I am a rambling river... if you listen to my work there are either two ways I end - BIG AND STRONG. one note held for an eternity OR I love to slowly close, like when you linger with saying good-bye. When you know the evening is over and yet just one last kiss, one last poem, one very last song. I love outros with words ... I have it in my song With You and I have it in HURTING PLACE... an afterthought.. it seems more organic for me and I stood my ground and did not make a bridge out of something that was a lingering sweet moment...

So this SATURDAY - October 22 we are streaming live from Berlin - join us at www.stageit.com/kara-johnstad

Until then Stay Gold,


Hurting Place

Words and Music Kara Johnstad

Please don´t go

I´m so afraid to lose you before I really

Know you

Don´t walk away

All though I know the pain´s

So hard for you to bare

Love twists and tears us

It dresses and it wears us

You look so gaunt and torn

So many faces you have worn

You´re in a hurting place,

looking for some grace

Call out my name and I´m there

Dissolve all the shame, know that I care

Darkness Chills you´re pulled so far inside

Just keep talking to me baby, I say

Icy glares and silent stares

Can´t recognize your eyes

You´re cut off from the world in every way

You tug at your T, and mumble “just let me be”

I try to decipher if your grumble means maybe

Phases sometimes faze us

And Jesus sometimes saves us

But sometimes it´s just you alone against the world

Harsh winds that blow, Carrying the weight of each word


Your voice has changed

Grown dark and deeply grained

Since your struggle with your loss

Let me gobble up the dark

and give you just a little spark

Cry out your tears in my name

Release those bellied fears of shame

Like a cactus cry in the desert rain,

Like a late night chat on a long night train

Like a deep yowl of a warrior´s cry

Or a mountain climber hanging from the sky

Like a cricket in the dark longing to sing

Or the humming flutter of a blackbird´s wings

Like a firefly longing to light again

COUNTDOWN - Global Launch DAY 7! Have you ever been to INDIA?

Had an amazingly beautiful day today. I finally started recording some poetry and spent the morning reading Rilke in German and then the translations from Bly in English and read Tagore and scribbled down some notes and enjoyed the strong coffee and then finally opened Cubase, a music software program. Cubase, I have to admit - we don't really get a long - and all the studio guys in my life get upset when I vent a bit, yet I always compare it to cars... I don't need a race car with high motors to drive and arrive, I actually ride a lot on my bike and enjoyed as a kid taking the tractor into town. I love the computer.. yet when I do my songs and lyrics I want SIMPLE and FLOW and easy and cubase is other than... YET.. I DID IT! I recorded 3 simple poems for my dear friend MJ Hummingway and they should be posted soon. Then I went out for a walk, picked up some groceries, came back and ran the show.

So, are you curious which song will open the second set???

It is Song of India. This song is so special to me. I wrote in on Manik and Sohan's balcony in Pune, Osho had written to her many letters which you can read in his book A Cup of Tea and I used to live there and one evening, it was the moment when day melts into early evening and I was with a friend of mine, Arun on the balcony and the melody and lyrics simply arrived. Arun capturing it on guitar and I was capturing the poetry in the lyrics. Those are the opening lines.. Sunday evening standing on my balcony, scenes of India slowly pass in front of me--- As I gazed into orange sunset my spirit started flying back in time. We never released the song as a duo. When I brought out my live Jazz album entitled “Pages of Sand” I decided to finally release it with band. On itunes, you will find a beautiful version I recorded in Berlin. So enjoy the lyrics and I am posting the song via reverbnation player together with the blog. Remember to pick up your tickets for the WORLD LAUNCH of this ESSENCE happening. Kara, that’s me, is stripped and going unplugged… sharing the stories behind the songs… sharing with you songs from Pages of Sand Album, Paths X album and the up coming Moon in Capricorn and Naked Thoughts album… we are streaming live from Berlin – the Kara Sutra Lounge is sold out – the closest inner circle will be keeping the energies high as we all fly.. would love to see you join in.. there is a online live chat the whole time I am on stage.

Now off for a moon lit bike ride in Berlin – enjoy your weekend.

Stay Gold,


Sunday evening

Standing on the balcony,

Scenes of india

Slowly pass in front of me

Telling me a story of another time

Do you see

The winds a changing

The dusty sky of rusty red

Is swirling round the Neem tree.

Children wander

Searching for their destiny

Looking up to strangers

In a silent plea

Taking me back centuries to another time

Do you see

The winds a changing?

The mango rains are coming soon

To wash the dusty Neem tree.



Lost time

Song of India



Time lost

Song of India

COUNTDOWN - GLOBAL LAUNCH - Day 8 - Lyrics Open Up and Receive.

OPEN UP and RECEIVE Words Kara Johnstad + Kevin Kortan Music Kara Johnstad

Walking - rhythm - sound Splashing -slapping - ground Thoughts are flying Overlying Where is it that I´m bound

I didn´t think, I was Question, why, because Judgements falling Who is calling The sacred heartbeat does


Water angels call A gentle piercing fall Light time moving Secrets truthing Her liquid eyes recall

An elemental sign A watermark in time Moments fleeting Pulsing beating A destiny Divine


A destiny divine

COUNTDOWN - GLOBAL LAUNCH - Day 8! Have you ever had one of those moments?

I can feel it. Now the excitement is kicking in. Yesterday I went to visit my dear friend and designer ROSITA DYLKA at her new shop on Bleibtreustrasse 40 in Berlin and found a lovely dress to wear for the concert next weekend. This morning, sipping on dark espresso and checking my mails, I just got a message from my dear friend ROBBIN MILNE. Message says “ I will be streaming the concert at my ART EXHIBITION on October 22 in San Francisco” NOW HOW COOL IS THAT. That made my tiny toes start dancing and I started giggling at how beautiful it all is. I love the global mind, global heart “thang.” I love that this big vast world is getting to be more cozy and HUMANE via the social networks that we are on and our influence we do have in this world and re-connecting / re-membering with our soul families.

I met Robbin, I believe through MJ. Michael Justice has these antennas for fine art with many layers and deeply embedded with spirit. As far as I remember, she was one of his TOP FRIENDS back in the day of myspace. And at some point we all gravitated towards fb and I kept on following her blogs and posts and was always blown away with her work. There are many painters and photographers in this world, yet there is one element that few have that she has. That secret recipe is INTEGRITY: She is a seeker and she lives her truth. She has the courage to get her hands dirty and dig and dig and dig until she gets to the root of things and then pull out the weeds and transforms it all into a magical garden.

The seeds of the upcoming concert I planted in Spring of 2011. It was in San Francisco, May 2011. I flew from LA to VEGAS and then onto SAN FRANCISCO for a big private event. It was a gorgeous day, a driver picked me up outside of luggage claim and I climbed into the black limo and drove across the golden gate bridge and texted Robbin. She was on her way, we meet at 7:30 pm. And there we were. Bridged. ROBBIN and I met for the first time bridging the virtual to the real. We ate Italian, my only interest was the acoustics of the room, which is not easy, I need quiet rooms when I eat and talk. I sipped a delicious Californian Red Wine and ate a salad and we talked and share so long that I knew we would collaborate.

Now it is simply a matter of coordinating a few ideas and then I am sure that ROBBIN will have her art somewhere woven into my music and poetry.

So, love bugs, back to this COUNTDOWN. 8 more days and more lyrics for you to enjoy and learn before next Saturday. In San Francisco I went from Blame Game to 5 chapters and then into Open Up and Receive. Yet the stream time is limited at stageit, and I am having to cut back the length of my sets to 40 minutes:) SO - to make a short story long. I am jumping... from Blame Game directly into OPEN UP AND RECEIVE

All I can say is this… once you have taken full responsibility for your life, stripped down to the essence and walk your talk – dropping all blame games, then you are in the space of OPEN UP AND RECEIVE: I wrote the song while in Paris. I had visited Monmartre with my dear friend and yogi Kevin Kortan and as we walked out of Sacre Coeur looked over the city of Paris, we sat down on the cool stone steps and the lyrics arrived for Open Up and Receive, which I then released on my Paths X Album, Enjoy, and if you have any questions on how to connect next weekend via the chat room or watch the concert via www.stageit.com simply drop me a line or message and I will have someone get back to you.

Stay Gold,


Lyrics : See next Blog

COUNTDOWN - Global Launch - Blame Game continued

Blame Game

Words and Music Kara Johnstad Sometimes we simply long for a place to call home When we´re wounded and bruised and beaten to the bone Sometimes I try so hard to explain That though the things look so bad,

I've really got so much to gain Yet, I don´t need your blame game, It twists me inside I don´t need your blame game I have no more energy to try Sometimes things are simply not what they seem to be, Yet I longed to believe that you still have trust in me So I ask for your support to buy me some more time

But I am faced with your rapport of negative lines So I don´t need you blame game It sucks the marrow from my bones I don´t need your blame game

Not in the place I called home

interlude I need a: A sweet embrace, with not a trace of blame A simple gesture, my soft spoken name A warm old quilt wrapped around this pain A longing so simple and pure A few moments of rest from the storm outside To regenerate my burdened mind To ride out the storm, A safe haven to hide To give me the strength to endure I don´t need your blame game, It twists me inside I don´t need your blame game It takes too much energy to try So I don´t need you blame game It sucks the marrow from my bones I don´t need your blame game Not in the place I called home So goodbye, good bye…

COUNTDOWN - Global Launch - DAY 9! Ever been caught in a BLAME GAME?

Countdown, blown away by the fact that in 9 days I will be sharing songs that have never been released, like this one. I have sung it with band and sang it in San Francisco last Spring, yet it will be a sneak preview for most of you. Many people think it is so cool to finally get clearer - more on purpose - more directed and more conscious of how we live our lives. It is, and I love get clearer. Yet it has many painful side effects few are aware of. Once upon a time while in India an enlightened master told me, if you would know how difficult the path is, you would never start. This is why we do not share with you how hard the climb is and how steep the mountains are. We simply accompany you while climbing or diving.. we are simply present and ask you to be the same, present. And he was right. I look at how easy it is for some to simply go to work and accept their unhappiness and complain. I never could, I always would simply change the work or change me. Driven always by the deeper layers. The hardest thing I did in the last years was to draw distance around someone I deeply loved but found no way to communicate with positively. The hard thing was they were a close family member, so there was no way of blessing it and moving on, they are present always in my life matrix here on earth. never seeing them again was not an option. I tried to evaluate, to integrate to mediate. I analysed, I pondered,I engaged, I disengaged, I resigned, I closed off, I went through many "phases" of trying to communicate on a healthy level. And yet the negativity and blame and constant criticism not only against me but against the world tired me and after years of trying to "understand" and deeply listen to all the trash, watching myself at times totally cut off from feeling in order to stay clear from the toxicity - I finally CUT. Blessed the soul and walked out the door... wishing them well, and for the first time also understood true responsibility. The ability to respond and also the power in living our own deep WELLNESS.

So that is how one of my newest song BLAME GAME came into being. It is a jazzy funk ballad that reminds me of one last story that Asanga, the Indian mystic told me. If someone came into your living room and threw trash on your rugs you would say, what are you doing? pick it up or leave my house immediately. If someone though comes in and throws negative blames and continuous arguments at you, you think, that to be a good "Christian" you must be understanding. He shared with me, no - Kara, your mind and your heart is as sacred if not more so than your rug. People are to be treated with respect and kindness. If they come in and throw SH*T, ask them politely to leave. I learned the hard way about self respect and love. So enjoy Blame Game - I will be performing it, unplugged on October 22, from Berlin and it will be streamed world wide which is very cool. You can still join in - I believe there are still a few tickets left over at www.stageit.com and you can chat with me live during the breaks. Can't wait to connect. Stay Gold, Kara Posting Blame Game in a second blog as reverb limits it to 4000 letters:)

COUNTDOWN - Global Launch - DAY 10! Wild Garden

So ten more days until the global launch and tickets in Berlin; to be here in person; are running out fast. There are still tickets available to log in through this very new platform called www.stageit which is giving us more and more the ability to share our music from anywhere in the world with our friends who are also logging in from laptops and desktops, country houses or coffee shops. I am still working on the first set. Arranging and rearranging... I am in between putting in the song "With You" after "Deeper Than the Ocean" or "Wild Garden" as the fourth number. So today, as the sun shines onto the balcony and I have simply such a small window of time to write, I am leaning towards Wild Garden. This is a song I am bringing out on the up-coming "Moon in Capricorn" album. We have already recorded it with strings. Fabrizio Pigliucci has done a STUNNING arrangement with full orchestra and I dare say - if I could choose my top ten of the over 100 songs I have written - this would be one of my very favorites. "Wild Garden" arrived in the middle of the night - finished. All I had to do was to capture it. So i grabbed a journal and wrote and wrote and polished and here is the final version. Enjoy. Kara

Wild Garden

Words and Music Kara Johnstad

I am a wild garden

Untamed and oh so free

Been sitting here

With the moon and the cats

Growing magestically

My vines are all knotted and twisted

My grass grows straight and tall

And in the hush of the night

If you slow down your breath

You’ll hear pitter pat on the prowl.

My path lies abandoned

Look around and you’ll see the old gate

There’s a deep well coverered,

By an old wooden board

Now don't hesitate,

Please come in and join me for awhile


Water me

Water me

From that deep old well

It hasn't been used for years


The oak said deep down there are dragon' s tears

But the rooster he disagreed


Water me,

Water me

Pour yourself out on me,

Soaking me

As I draw you deep down to my roots…

Right straight down to my mighty roots


I have so many secrets

The seasons have aged me

Black-eyed Susans

Crushed pine cones

Rocks mossy and green

The vines run up my old stone walls

Wrapping themselves, snugly around me

Coiled, tight they latch on to my skin

Giving me a strange sense of security

Won't you come in and sit for awhile

and keep me company


Water me

Water me

From this deep old well

It hasn't been used for years

Water me,

Water me

Douse me and drench me

Oh love just pour yourself out on me

Soaking me

As I draw you straight down to my roots.

Yes,I draw you deep down to my mighty roots


The oak said it is dragons tears

But the rooster disagreed

He decreed when the old grape vines

Start to bear fruit again

The water will turn a bright berry red

And we shall be sip the holy wine

And you will sleep nights in the garden

Water me

Simply tend to me…