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Kim Waters Biography (continued)

...Her artistic talents quickly developed and she painted imaginary castles and landscapes. By the time she was 12 years old her artwork was presented and sold in a local art gallery in Georgetown and it was clear to her that she would become a painter and a singer. 

Kim did some soul-searching from early on, too. "As a child I remember feeling a longing and pang of separation from God- a spiritual yearning. I was searching for answers when I met Prabhupada (AC Bhaktivedanta Swami) in the early 70’s. I wasn't really attracted to the Krishna Consciousness movement until I met him in person. " 

It was a timely experience because it gave her the cultural and spiritual context that she had been seeking for her artwork. "It was wonderful to discover sacred Indian images because I could do my own renditions and turn it into a spiritual practice. I remember the moment when I began my first drawing of Krishna- something magical happened: Starting with a Lotus eye my hand felt like it was being guided- something was flowing through me and I realized that this work would become my expression of devotion. Every pearl in my paintings would be a prayer, every flower a mantra."

Her singing went through the same development as her artwork. Inspired by the musical explorations of George Harrison and Donovan, who at the time introduced their Western audiences to the sounds of sitar, tablas, and chanting, she was irresistibly drawn to the Indian musical culture.

"I always loved to sing and was fascinated from early on by Indian devotional music. The Beatles and Donovan introduced me to Eastern sounds and especially George Harrison’s Radha Krishna temple album was very inspiring. I listened to that album many times not knowing that later I would become a close friend to Yamuna, one of the lead singers on that album. I feel as if my interest in these areas goes beyond this lifetime, as if past lives played a role."

Along with the exposure to the Indian culture came a deepening of her spiritual practice. Her repeated encounters with AC Bhaktivedanta Swami (Prabhupada) created a lasting impression, and even more, a devotional attitude for her path in the years to come. 

"Srila Prabhupada taught that the perfection of life was to do everything in a consciousness of devotion, to be a servant of God. For a while I was almost denying my human side, trying to be too saintly, too pure. I had to learn to accept my own flaws while still desiring to be an instrument of divine love."

Herein lies the connection to the songs found on RASA’s three CD releases, In Concert, Union, and Devotion. Mostly written by one of India’s great 19th century writers, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, these devotional love songs are emotional pleads from a humble soul for divine mercy. 

Kim was deeply absorbed in what later emerged as her most celebrated work of art, a book of illustrations called Illuminations from the Bhagavad Gita. While working on this five-year project, she often listened to recordings of these songs. "I learned the songs (on the RASA CDs) while doing the paintings and listening to tapes, particularly of Prabhupada and Vishnu Jana Swami. " 

As it turned out, these songs helped her cope with the break-up of her marriage and in difficult times when she faced the struggles of rebuilding her life. "Often I would sing and listen to these songs in moments when I felt disillusioned. They would provide me with a source of strength and calmness, expressing exactly what I was feeling…"

In this spirit her collaboration with Hans Christian bears the fruits of a labor which had been fermenting for a long time and which undoubtedly will touch people’s hearts with its purity of intent and depth of emotion.