2015 was a bumper year for conscious music albums. For example: nearly two dozen of mantra music albums and bhakti-flavored instrumental albums made it made it onto the Grammys first ballot list, and Madi Das’s Bhakti Without Borders received a coveted nomination. Soul Traveller Radio ran two episodes on the Conscious Crew Grammy Nominees, the first of which you can listen to here

That’s one of the many reasons why we invited conscious music fans around the globe to cast their votes for the top conscious music albums of 2015. In the span of a week, we received over 1,000 votes! We’re thrilled to share the results below, starting with the 20th most popular album and ending with the #1 conscious music album of 2015.

A big thank you to all the artists who were part of this amazing celebration of conscious music. The winners this year are the listeners for being treated to the divine sounds that have come from each and everyone of you this year. Big blessings to all from Soul Traveller Radio. To view the full list of artists visit here.

Congratulations to the winner of the $300 worth of CDs from White Swan Records and Black Swan Sounds – Nicole Thompson.

We will be broadcasting the special winners show at 5pm (Aus-Qld, UK, US-LA) Saturday January 2 on Soul Traveller radio (click the play button at the top of the page to listen)

So with out any further delay…The 2015 winners are:

20. HuDost

“Sufi Kirtan”
(White Swan Records)

Yogis, kirtan lovers, ecstatic dance fans, and even people who don’t normally listen to sacred music are all raving about Sufi Kirtan by HuDost. In track after track, the neo-folk world rock duo brings heartfelt presence and innovative musical stylings to ancient Sufi mantras of love and healing. And it’s not surprising why. HuDost’s lead composer and singer, Moksha Sommer, has studied 12 different vocal styles from around the world. On Sufi Kirtan, her vocals simultaneously soothe and soar. Her partner in love and music, Jemal Wade Hines, lends a rock sensibility and sonically rich layers of vocals, guitar and synths. It’s official: Sufi Kirtan positions HuDost as a force to be reckoned with in modern mantra music. 

Available from iTunes, White Swan Records & Bandcamp.

19. Xavier Rudd & The United Nations

“Nanna”
(Salt X Records)

Nanna is Xavier Rudd’s new studio effort developed together with some amazing artists collectively known as The United Nations, which bands together musicians from South Africa, Samoa, Germany, Papua New Guinea, and Indigenous Australia. This Australian roots supergroup includes uke-toting drummer Bobby Alu, Byron Bay’s Yeshe, singer-bassist Alicia Mellor, South Sea vocalist Georgia Corowa, Chris Lane of OKA, Pete Hunt of Afro-reggae outfit Kooii, plus Uncle Tio and Uncle Eddie. One of the best conscious music albums to come from Australia in 2015

Available from iTunes

18. Donna De Lory

“Universal Light”
(White Swan Records)

In a word: Wow. World Devotional music maven Donna De Lory joined forces with cutting-edge remix, trance and downtempo luminaries to reimagine the songs on her 2014 masterpiece, The Unchanging, in this stunning new album. (And it paid off. Universal Light grooved its way through the first round of the 2016 Grammy competition, though sadly, did not receive a nomination.) De Lory’s pop-friendly renditions of mantras from the Buddhist and yoga traditions, mixed with conscious English lyrics and earthy, deep trance grooves, uplift the spirit and inspire the body to dance.

Available from iTunes, White Swan Records & Bandcamp.

17. EarthRise SoundSystem

“Awakening/Rising”
(Black Swan Sounds)

EarthRise SoundSystem, the duo of David ‘Duke Mushroom’ Schommer and Derek Beres, has mixed dozens of international music and electronic superstars in their eight years working together.

Now the tables are turned with The EarthRise SoundSystem Remix Project, a series of 4 remix EPs starting with the first two, Rising and Awakening. Rising blends R&B, hip hop, and deep dance hall music and features conscious music innovators such as Srikalogy.

Awakening is a collection of house remixes that includes floor-thumping tracks by New York City DJ Nickodemus and Duke Mushroom (who, incidentally, was a founding member of Stomp), with conscious songs like “Intention” and “Rock Beats Paper,” which comes alive with the spirit of gospel and afrobeat.

“Awakening” Available from iTunes, Black Swan Sounds & Bandcamp.

“Rising” Available from iTunes, Black Swan Sounds & Bandcamp.

16. Ananda Monet

“Inevitable Time”
(Radha Krishna Records)

A contemporary devotional music album based on the epic Mahabharata, Ananda spent 3 years developing the concept together with Jag aka Jagannatha Suta das. The album takes you on a journey to the time of mystic heroes of the ancient epic Mahabharata. Each song invites you to experience their powerful stories through the evocative musical vignettes and Sanskrit verses from the sacred texts of Bhagavad Gita and the Puranas. Apart from the amazing vocals of Ananda Monet, the album also features Jahnavi Harrison on violin.

Available from iTunes.

15. Jai-Jagdeesh

“Miracles Abound”
(Spirit Voyage Records)

Jai-Jagdeesh’s 2015 release, Miracles Abound, takes you on a journey to welcome and awaken miracles in your life with four powerful and profoundly moving meditations. All invoke the spirit of miracles and healing embodied by Guru Ram Das. This album is a part of the ‘Meditations for Transformation’ series, which is a beautiful offering to the yoga community. Each CD contains extended meditations for use in your practical life as a yogi and meditator. Together with the companion album Of Heaven and Earth, this album has been a constant source of inspiration within the Kundalini and general yoga community.

Available from iTunes & Spirit Voyage Records.

14. Dave Stringer, Donna De Lory & Joni Allen

“Elixir: Songs of the Radiance Sutras”
(Sounds True)

A musical interpretation of The Radiance Sutras, Lorin Roche’s poetic interpretation of the Vijñana Bhairava Tantra. The album is a departure from Dave Stringer, Donna De lory and Joni Allens usual sound to present a vibrant, upbeat, ecstatic rapture of music and movement. From stimulating bhangra grooves to country anthems and sultry ballads, these are songs to be danced with and meditated upon.

Available from iTunes, Sounds True & Bandcamp.

13. Manose

“The Call Within”

The latest album from the Bansuri maestro Manose, a beautiful moving album that will cause you to pause and reflect within. A regular artist featured with Deva Premal and Miten, Manose recorded sounds of nature as he travelled with the Mantra duo around the world and combined with bansuri magic, the result is a truly magical album.

Available from iTunes.

12. David Newman

“Love is Awake”
(Inner Fire Music)

The tenth album from sacred musician David Newman—and his first foray into primarily English songs—Love is Awake is an upbeat, folky collection of songs about bhakti-centric themes such as hope, inner strength, and peaceful resolve. With personal songs like “Illumination”, “Wonder” and “Freedom,” Newman chronicles his own spiritual awakening and makes us long for our own. Oh, and fun fact: Paul Simon’s bassist (Batkithi Kumalo) and one of Sting’s vocalists (Jo Lawry) both perform on this album.

Available from iTunes, White Swan Records & Bandcamp.

11. Krishna Das

“Laughing at the Moon”
(Entertainment One)

Laughing At the Moon is a collection of Krishna Das Classics from 1996 to 2005. These songs have been favorites of the Krishna Das family of chanters. Possibly the most well known of all kirtan artists and known at the Rock Star of Yoga, Krishna Das was instrumental in bringing the sound of Kirtan to the west. This album highlights some of his best tracks in recent years.

Available from iTunes.

10. Trevor Hall

“Kala”
(Vanguard Records)

The Sanskrit word for time, “Kala” is Trevor Hall’s latest offering and is best described in Trevor’s own words:

“A year ago, my grandmother said to me, “Isn’t time such a wonderful gift?” … That was the seed. That was the beginning …“Time”.

KALA is about time the healer, time the teacher, time the friend, and all the lessons within. My hope and prayer is that these songs and stories help inspire us to look at this journey of life in all its vastness rather than it’s limitations … We’re not running out … We’re really running in. My grandmother gave me the seed, I give back to her the fruit.”

Available from iTunes.

9. Tina Malia

“Bridge to Vallabha”
(Amida Records)

A follow up to her 2005 album, Jaya Bhagavan, Bridge to Vallabha is Tina’s latest release, which includes songs in Sanskrit, Hebrew, Gurmukhi and English.  Tina is joined by host of amazing singers, and a vibrant range of instrumentation such as nylon string guitar, Rhodes piano, charangon, vibraphone, lap steel guitar and cello. Bridging the gap between folk and kirtan, Tina Malia’s new album is one that will continue to unfold with each listen.

Available from iTunes.

8. Brenda McMorrow

“My Heart Bows Down to You”
(White Swan Records)

Brenda McMorrow’s blend of breathy vocals, folk-inspired melodies, and uplifting world rhythms make My Heart Bows Down To You a new classic in the kirtan genre. Each song is mellow, yet uplifting. Simple but profound. Lighthearted, but at the same time, deep. The singer-songwriter’s original lyrics (juxtaposed with Sanskrit mantras) reflect her growing understanding of the spiritual path and her own journey of transformation. This album will nourish your soul.

Available from iTunes, White Swan Records & Bandcamp.

7. Sri Kirtan

“Time In Love Is Never Wasted”
(Mantralogy)

With decades of musical & spiritual dedication, SRI Kirtan are a duo of refreshing fun and spiritual devotion within the continually expanding kirtan/chant scene. Exploding out of Woodstock in 2004, Sruti Ram and Ishwari, now known as SRI Kirtan have been a staple of many of the most prestigious kirtan events. Their latest album Time in Love is Never Wasted is a pure celebration of Kirtan

Available from iTunes.

6. Shantala

“Living Waters”

Musicians Benjy and Heather Wertheimer, also known as Shantala, released their latest album Living Waters with the help of guests Tina Malia, Ben Leinbach, Steve Gorn and a host of others that have helped make this album one of the best for 2015. Benjy, is also one of the Hanumen, the popular vibrant kirtan supergroup, however this album with his partner Heather presents a much more devotional offering that flows gently though meditation and mindfulness.

Available from iTunes.

5. MC Yogi

“Only Love Is Real”
(MC YOGI/Black Swan Sounds)

Beloved yoga ambassador MC Yogi really shines on his 4th studio album, Only Love is Real. His brilliant, one-of-a-kind lyrics about finding solace when we feel lost and disconnected, polishing the mind, and searching for truth are set against a new sonic backdrop of dub, hip hop, electronica, and dance music. (In other words, the sound of “now.”) Anytime you’re feeling down, put on his uplifting anthems and get ready for a party in your heart.

Available from iTunes, Black Swan Sounds & Bandcamp.

4. Deva Premal & Miten with Manose

“Songs for the Sangha”
(White Swan Records/Prabhu Music)

Songs for the Sangha is the perfect backdrop for a slow-paced vinyasa class, a musical meditation, or a bedtime yoga practice. The album features a unique blend of Deva Premal’s melodically rendered mantras and spiritually inspiring lyrics by Miten. The songs are enhanced by the soaring sounds of bansuri flute, bass, drums, and soothing melodies on a Steinway piano. It’s prayer in its purest form.

Available from iTunes, White Swan Records & Bandcamp.

3. Madi Das

“Bhakti Without Borders”
(Kuli Mela)

Nominated for a 2016 Grammy Award in the New Age category, Bhakti Without Borders by Madi Das brings together a collection of 12 amazing women and a collection of outstanding musicians to present a bhakti celebration. A charity project to raise awareness and funds for education for girls in Vrindavan, India, Bhakti Without Borders is also the debut for Dave Stringer as producer.

Available from iTunes & Bandcamp.

2. The Hanumen

“Leaps & Bounds”
(Mantralogy)

Inspiring. Insightful. Illuminating. Those words describe The Hanumen’s sophomore release, which blends call-and-response chanting, mystic poetry, and world music into a magical brew of sacred love songs. One of the most boundary-pushing, eclectic bhakti albums of the year!

Available from iTunes & Mantralogy

1. Jahnavi Harrison

“Like a River to the Sea”
(Mantralogy)

The number 1 conscious music artist for 2015. Pure, prayerful melodies emanate from Krishna devotee Jahnavi Harrison’s lips on every track of Like A River To The Sea. There’s no doubt about it: This woman is singing to God. A rich mix of instruments (piano, bansuri flute, cello, violin), combined with a heavenly chorus, makes this call-and-response kirtan album soar.

Available from iTunes & Mantralogy.

We hope you have enjoyed the list of winners for 2015. You can continue to let us know your favourites by filling out the form here. Everyone receives special Conscious Crew downloads thanks to Jumpsuit Records, Black Swan Sounds and Soul Traveller Meditations.