New band One Love Collective may turn out to be the culmination of a life's work for beloved Whistler reggae musician Kostaman.
The makeup of the band proves it takes a village, with other One Lovers including Monty Biggins of The Sociables, percussionist Phil T. Beats, flutest/clarinetist Scott Mitchell and dancer the Lovely Monica. There were recent additional help at their launch from singer-songwriter Aude Ray, Victoria Lopez of Loka Yoga on harmonium and Guitar Doug of the Hairfarmers.
Dropping by Pique's office with his black dog, Bella, Kostaman is pretty excited about the venture.
"We're basically forming a new group of musicians... Kirtan is for chanting the divine names. Since we're a reggae band, we are using the reggae sound as a mix," says Kostaman, a.k.a. Kostas Lymbertos.
Instruments as diverse as a harmonium and accordion, joined guitars, mandolins, bass and drums.
"It was quite an eclectic sound," he adds.
The newly born band is already going on its first weeklong tour.
"We're going to Saltspring Island and then to Alert Bay, where we're part of a music festival there on the First Nations reserve, then we're going to the Sunshine Coast," he says.
Kostaman is hosting his regular jam night in Black's Pub in the village on Wednesday, July 30 at 9 p.m., and will be putting a One Love Collective spin on the evening.
"Because it's Wanderlust at the end of the week, we want to use that stop to do a Kirtan Reggae jam night, and people are welcome to join us and see what this sounds like," Kostaman says.
"We're coming out of the bar scene and coming more into ourselves. We're more autonomous... there is a freedom with this that is quite beautiful."
Their first sets have been as part of the Whistler Arts Council's busking performances and at The Point Artist-Run Centre on Alta Lake.
"We just had a quiet dress rehearsal and the show went amazingly well," Kostaman says.
Asked about the reasons for taking this musical step, Kostaman pauses for a moment and then says, "That's very deep."
He adds: "This is a spiritual path. It's taking our music forward, it's raising consciousness. It's growing, blossoming into a new Kostas.
"I had been already playing this music for the last two or three years and it got to the point where I am comfortable with this. During the second Whistler yoga conference I played my first Kirtan, and I played some here and there. But now this is full on, this is the way I want my life to go, this is the direction I want to move in."
Kostaman is also performing at Wanderlust during workshops held by Tina Pashumati James, the director of Loka Yoga.