Ted Perry FOX6 Anchor
10:17 p.m. CDT, May 25, 2011
If you have absolutely no stress in your life than this story isn't for you. The stress relief method we found takes place at a church, but isn't part of any organized religion.
If you want to compare stress levels at work, Fred Bliffert can match you bolt for bolt. As the owner of a handful of neighborhood hardware and lumber stores, Bliffert feels the pressure everywhere. His laid back demeanor belies the gazillion fires he must put out each day and you're about to learn one of his secrets.
The woman in the center of all the action is Ragani. She says, "So a Kirtan is a kind of music experience that comes from India. It's a sacred music experience that is for everybody, but it's the sound of the words that are going to give you the experience of what's going to happen in Kirtan."
For the next two hours, those open to the experience will sing along to get along. The chants start slow, almost painstakingly so as Kirtan newbies wonder what they've gotten into. As the tempo of the music quickens and the chants become more comfortable than complicated, people report feeling a sense of vibration and relaxation that is clearly better than explained.
Sounds a bit odd doesn't it? No one knows that better than Ragani herself who by day is a successful acupuncturist. Her voice may be soothing, but it's her self-deprecating sense of humor that helps her win over skeptics.
So who comes to these Kirtans? We met lawyers, school cafeteria workers, barbers, people with very mainstream jobs with very modern stress who were willing to try something new to them.
Bliffert experienced something the first time he came, he's now one of the musicians who plays along side Ragani.
Ragani adopted her name after visiting India and performed her first Kirtan as a teen. After moving to Milwaukee she started holding one on the first Friday of every month. At first a handful showed up and now more than 300 attend.