Archive for January, 2009

Sunday Setlists 01/11/09

This post is a part of Sunday Setlists.

This morning I broke one of my own rules. I introduced 2 new songs in a week. To justify myself, l will say that both songs are not new to me, one of them was written in ’96, even. My personal preference in worship music leans towards the Fred Hammond/Israel/Gospel tunes, and it is my goal to integrate songs from that genre while being sensitive to the players on the team and the instrumentation we have. Which means arranging and key changes for a lot of songs. I will say that if anyone is interesting in seeing how I’ve arranged stuff, contact me. I love to talk about it with anyone who will listen.

ETAThanks Fred for pointing out I didn’t tell you all what songs were new! Silly me. The new songs were My Life Belongs to You, and I Need You More.

Our set looked like this:

Your Grace Is Enough – (Maher) E

My Life Belongs to You – (Derick W. Thomas) E

Reign in Us – (Starfield) F

Cannons – (Wickham) D

I Need You More – (Cooley) E

The band:
Janaki – Guitar and vocals
Risa – Vocals
Nick – Guitar
Josh – Percussion


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All About Me Pt. 2

I’ve decided to do a series of posts giving a little more detail into my story- this is part 2.

Go ahead and read part 1 first!

So about that tone-deafness I referred to. I had no ability to match pitch vocally as a child. Playing clarinet and piano came easily to me, as long as I had sheet music. I understood notes, but I couldn’t reproduce them. I was kicked out asked to leave nicely from childrens’ choirs, both at school and church. My sister sang in a prestigious choir that traveled to Europe, and my family would make the comment,

“This is Lalita, with the voice of an angel! Oh, and this is Janaki. She’s in band.”

Yes, I can laugh about it now.

Middle school and high school were completely traumatizing, as I’m sure it is for everyone. I started attending the high school youth group regularly as a freshman. Looking back, it was all for the social circles. I had finally found a niche I could fit in with – weird church kids. I will post one picture here, mostly because I had a very unfortunate idea of how to dress in the late 90s. Also, I don’t want my embarrass my friends too much. (and yes, we are all still friends 12 years later!)


I started playing the guitar around the same time. My brother had gotten a little classical guitar for Christmas. Unfortunately for him, he is the one sibling in the family that is completely devoid of all musical talent. After a few failed attempts at lessons the guitar found it’s way to me. I started learning from old Acoustic Guitar magazines, and from whatever I could get my dad to teach me. I remember my first songs I learned were “Zombie – The Cranberries” “Cinnamon Girl – Neil Young” and “Pinball Wizard – The Who”.

Fond memories from high school youth group include (I’m sure some of you can relate):

– Five Iron Frenzy, OC Supertones, etc
– Tomfest
– Summer camps where I got saved at least 1000xs over
– Hide and seek in dark churches (and the subsequent bleeding black eyes to follow)
– Missions Trip to the DR
– Lifelong friends

I could talk about the quirkiness of high school youth groups all day, but what my experience boiled down to was deciding to follow Jesus, and then trying to live that out. Maybe it was my simple teenage mind, or the teaching and ideology of the church, but I had a serious struggle with feelings of inadequacy. My faith was based on a LONG list of dos and don’ts, and the fact that I could never live up to my (and the church) standard for being a “good Christian” had me in a constant state of anxiety. I was never good enough, no matter how many all night prayers I went to, songs I sang or times I cried in service.

On the more practical side of that issue, was the church’s worship ministry. On one hand I appreciate the standard and quality of music they presented. It shaped my abilities and preference in music style, and forced me to be a better musician. On the other hand the standard they set was so high that there was no room for me as a growing guitar player and singer, or as a young girl (and that’s another can of worms right there!).

For some reason unknown to me, the youth pastor at the time asked me to lead worship at the youth group. I’m pretty sure my grandmother bribed him. That is the only reasonable explanation, really. Somehow I got the courage to get up there and do it. By this time I had developed some ability to sing, but I’m sure it was pretty rough. One thing I’ve never had a problem was volume, so just imagine a scared 16 year old girl with no vocal training blasting out “LORD LIGHT THE FIRE AGAIN”. Ha! I’m really glad there isn’t a recording of that night – and in the very small chance there is, I demand you burn it. Regardless of my lack of pitch, that night sparked something in me. There was just something about being able to share the joy of worship through music with other people that captured me. It still does.

It’s been a long, hard road from that day until now. To be continued.

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My Story Pt. 1

I’ve decided to write an extended ‘about me’, because there’s so much more to my story than a paragraph and a picture. I hope you enjoy it. This is part one.

young me

I was born on July 4th, 1982 and to my extended families dismay – my parents named me Janaki. See, I was supposed to be Jessica – my parents led everyone to believe that would be my name when in fact my parents were part of the Hare Krishna group at the time and felt that giving me a Hindi name would be appropriate. In case you were curious, it’s pronounced JOHN-UH-KEY and no, I don’t go by any nicknames. Now that I’m married my name looks incredibly exotic, when in fact I am white as white can be. And I have a heck of time with getting people to remember my name… or even pronounce it correctly.


As you can probably imagine, growing up in a Hare Krishna community was nothing like growing up in a Christian church. I don’t remember much – except that we couldn’t eat any meat and the services were incredibly boring. I’ve seen a few pictures and have some vague memories of the temple but that’s the extent of it. By the time I was old enough to really start shaping opinions and memories our family was out of the Hare Krishna movement. My siblings and I were being shuttled off to church with my mother’s parents (free babysitting). This would be the church that shaped my faith (for better and worse), where I learned how to play the guitar, and where I would eventually meet and marry my husband.


Outside of the sunday school I attended, I lived in a secular world. My parents abandoned all idea of organized religion, and partied all night, every night. I have memories of lying awake for hours at night listening to them and 70’s rock music blaring in the house. I was blissfully unaware that this was abnormal. It wasn’t until I was in 7th or 8th grade did I realize that most kids went to bed before midnight. Despite my tumultuous home life I did very well in school. I started playing clarinet when I was 7 years old, and much to my mother’s dismay I was completely tone deaf (more on that later).


Through my very youngest years my ideas of spirituality and morality were balanced on two opposite ideas. Those of the Christian church, and those from my parents who had a disregard for religion and even to some extent, the law.

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Sunday Setlists 01/04/09

This post is a part of Sunday Setlists.

This week was our first week at Lewis Elementary since the first Sunday in December. Being honest, I had pretty low expectations on attendance. I knew a few families that were out of town and when you’re a small church coming back after a long break, things could be smaller than usual. But, boy was I wrong. All these people just showed up – mostly from the neighborhood.

This Sunday I co-lead with another guitar player. We also had a guest percussionist, a very talented girl woman? my age. I might blog about this soon, but it’s worth mentioning here: whenever I’ve been a part of leading a worship team, it has always ended up that I am surrounded by all these talented women coming out of the woodwork. I think that’s odd, because in all my churchy experiences I’ve seen male dominated worship bands.

Our setlist:

Beautiful One – A I lead this as our opening song. We took a short break for coffee and dismissed the kids to their classes.

Desert Song – D This is one of my favorite worship songs right now. I love singing it, leading it, talking about it. I shared a little before we sang it.

Mighty to Save – A This is the first time we’ve done this super popular song. I noticed it on a lot of the other set lists I was perusing for this Sunday. It seemed like a lot of the people already knew it – it is quite overplayed on Christian radio right now. Great song though! Nate lead this.

Cannons – G Second week for this new song. People are catching on. Nate lead this- I like to sing it in D or Eb.

God of Wonders – G My husband commented to me after the service “Lots of galaxy songs today, huh?”. I guess so! We did this as a medley with Cannons.

Nothing But the Blood – D Communion song. We did the original version, not the Mat Redman song. I lead this song.

Our worship team:
Nate – Acoustic guitar and lead vocals
Janaki – Acoustic guitar and lead vocals
Krys – Backup vocals
Alice – Percussion

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