top of page
Men in water
Into the mystic white - trans.png

Feb 27 - Mar 14, 2021


Per person, twin share.

Deposit: $1,500Aud (non refundable)

Balance payable 3 months before departure

Single Room Supplement:  $2,000Aud payable with balance


Choir Director

Santiago Lusardi Girelli.- with a Master degrees in Orchestra and Choir Conduction and Philosophy, and a PhD in Hinduist and Buddhist Aesthetics and Philosophy, Santiago's passion for the mystical journey makes him the perfect leader for this profound journey. 

Into the mystic 7d0771.png

Tour Concept

SINGING INTO THE MYSTIC is a journey that looks to access, through singing, the India of the imagination, of its holy men, of its religious tradition and sacred places. As the mystic seeks to transcend ordinary human knowledge or seeks unity with a Diety or an absolute, we will seek to touch part of India that is dedicated to a world beyond the mundane. The connective tissue, as with all Sound Tracks programs, will be singing and music. 

Singing Into Th Mystic - SoundTracks Travel Event

In fleeting moments we hope to experience the mystical world of India. Whether it be as we sing to desert children in Jaisalmer ; or when we hang out with the Sadhus; or sing with a Hindu musician; or chant across the Ganges in Varanasi. It might be when we connect to Rajasthani gyspy musicians and their families, swathed in colour in the desert or chant with Tibetan monks in Dharmashala.


Our path takes us from Delhi to Jaisalmer to Varanasi to Amritsar to Dharmashala and back to Delhi. We travel under the guidance of a man dedicated to music and spirituality through his study and his observances -  Professor Santiago Lusardi Girelli.

Professor Santiago Lusardi Girelli - Tour Leader for SoundTracks Travel

Santiago, an Italian born in Argentina, spent his early adulthood training in the monastic tradition at the Taize Monastery in France, while leading the monastery choir. During that time he lived under the guidance of the old monks and of the founder of the Taize tradition - Brother Roger. Later, while a Catholic noviciate in Buenos Aires, he led a community that focused on the search for spiritual experience through the practice of the arts and singing and the contemplation of beauty. There Santiago studied theology and performed sacred music for many years in different Argentinian Diocesis, also under the advice of Cardinal Bergoglio, who went onto become the current Pope Francis. 

After leaving the seminary, and with a Master degrees in Orchestra and Choir Conduction and Philosophy, and a PhD in Hinduist and Buddhist Aesthetics and Philosophy, Santiago left to work documenting the music of the natives in the Amazon.   

Santiago's passion for scholarship, for the mystical journey and his love of music and the creative process makes him the perfect guide for such an esoteric and profoundly ambitious journey. 

Santiago is the creator and artistic director of the acclaimed Kevetan World Sacred Music Festival in Goa, while currently holding the Anthony Gonsalves Chair as Visiting Research Professor at the Goa University in India. He has conducted choirs and orchestras, professional and amateurs, around the world throughout more than 400 concerts and performances in four continents, and led music tours in several countries, from the Amazonas Rain Forest to Leipzig-Germany (J.S. Bach's city); and from Peruvian Machu Pichu to the Indian Himalayas. He is also a composer who has premiered and published sacred choral music exploring the links between Western Choral music and Buddhist phenomenology and Hindu ritualism. 

Santiago with the Dalai Lama 2 copy.JPG

Santiago recently composed and performed an original piece for His Holiness The Dalai Lama with his Goa University Choir. The occasion was to launch the only university chair established in conjunction with His Holiness - Ancient Buddhist Philosophy & School of Conflict Resolution - at Goa University.

On this extraordinary adventure, Santiago's informed commentary will give meaning and context to our experience. His contacts with Indian musicians will be just as valuable, providing an opportunity to touch another world, surely the purpose of true travel. Each morning commences with yoga, meditation and singing, a process by which the Singing into the Mystic experience can permeate into your soul. Our intention is to sing in soft performance modes in Varanasi and Dharamshala, as well as in temples and places of beauty and significance. 

20191216-DSC00857-2 copy.jpg
We are embarking upon a journey that is destined to fail, but ironically that very gesture - attempting to touch the mystical heart of India - takes us some way there, and gives us the opportunity to momentarily rise above the mundane and soar into the mystic.


"In this trip we will be interacting with the Indian musical heritage in its various forms. Thoughout our exploration we will create a dialogue between the several Indian traditions and art forms and our western choral tradition. This conversation is a continuous leiv motiv that inspires our trip, an interchange between "them" and "us" to open the doors to several complex and beautiful musical forms and expressions. 

We will enhance the musical possibilities by adding an Indian musician with whom I have collaborated on a number of performances - Subhash Parvar. This young classical vocalist and swarmandal instrumentalist has had a meteroic career. His talent, kindness and understanding of Indian music will lead us to enter a mystical heritage and musical space that has inspired millions for millenniums."


In this journey, we seek an intercultural artistic dialogue to lead us not only to the roots of rituality, religious expression and Hindu and Buddhist mysticism with its connections to the Western musical and aesthetic traditions, but also to a direct experience of the philosophical and artistic foundations of the Indian culture itself.


I am aware this may all seem beyond our grasp, but with the daily yoga, singing, meditation and chanting sessions that merge with our travels, we hope that our experience goes beyond words to inhabit a deep sense of Indian mysticism.


I look forward to sharing this inaugural Singing into the Mystics program with you, a great adventure for all of us.”



Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 10.36.54

The Itinerary: Feb 27 - Mar 14, 2021.

Just the bare bones! This program continually evolves to take advantage of the ever changing cultural landscape of the India. Any change in the itinerary will be designed to make the experience deeper and more powerful.. 

27 Feb 2021: Arrive Delhi

Arrive at AMBASSADOR HOTEL at 2pm.  

After check-in visit the beautiful and culturally important Lodhi Gardens for an intial sing talk from Santiago on Muslim culture in India.

Return to hotel and welcome address and briefing.

Dinner at the hotel.

Overnight: Delhi

Meals: Dinner

28 Feb: Delhi – Jaisalmer (Flight 1030 / 1220 Hrs)

After breakfast check out from the hotel and transfer to the Delhi airport to board your onward flight to Jaisalmer. 

Check-in to the GOLDEN HAVELI HOTEL.

Lunch at hotel.

Afternoon singing rehearsal at GOLDEN HAVELI HOTEL overlooking Jaisalmer Fort.

Dinner at Jaisal Treats. 

Overnight: Jaisalmer

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner 

01 Mar: Jaisalmer

Easy walk to the beautiful Gadisar Lake for singing/meditation/yoga

After breakfast guided walk through Jaislamer Fort and visit to the Jain Temple. Talk from Santiago on Jain Religion

Afternoon singing session at Sunset Café overlooking Jaisalmer. 

Session joined by Rajasthani singers and musicians.

Dinner at Sunset café. 

Overnight: Jaisalmer

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner 


02 Mar: Jaisalmer

Easy walk to the beautiful Gadisar Lake for singing/meditation/yoga

After breakfast visit the Hindu Cremation temple - Bada Bagh. Workshop on Hindu religion and music.  

Visit Jaisalmer Bazaar and NGO operated Haveli with women desert weavers.

Free range time in Jaisalmer Bazaar.

Dinner at Jaisal Treats. 

Overnight: Jaisalmer

Meals: Breakfast, Packed Lunch and Dinner 


03 Mar: Jaisalmer

Easy walk to the beautiful Gadisar Lake for singing/meditation/yoga

Free time after breakfast. 

Late afternoon depart for Sam Sand Dunes, Thar Desert. Dinner at camp with gypsy village. 

Shared songs with Gypsies.

Performance by local singers and dancers. 

Overnight: Jaisalmer

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner 


04 Mar: Jaisalmer - Flight to Varanasi

(Flight 1250 / 1425 Hrs and 1625 / 1810 Hrs)

Morning yoga/singing session

Transfer to the Jaisalmer Airport to board onward connecting flight to Varanasi via Delhi. Arrive at Delhi and change of terminal and for onward flight to Varanasi. Arrive Varanasi and transfer to the beautiful heritage hotel - GULARIA KOTHI HOTEL - situated right on the River Ganges. 

Dinner at the hotel. 

Presentation by Santiago on the topic of a ‘City as a Mystical Force’ and the ‘Role of Ritual in Death in Varansi’.

Overnight: Varanasi

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner 



05 Mar: Varanasi

Yoga/singing Session at the hotel. 

After breakfast, walk with guides through Ghats on the Ganges. 

Singing session by the Ganges. 

Interaction with Sadhu. 

Lunch at Rashmi Guest House Restaurant.

Free time 

Dinner at the hotel. 

Evening chant by the Ganges.

Overnight: Varanasi

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner 


06 Mar: Varanasi

Early walk through old town to temples.

Breakfast at the hotel. 

Singing session in hotel courtyard then free time. 

Lunch at the rooftop of Suryauday Haveli.

Workshop on Drupad singing joined by local musicians and Subhash Pavar.

In evening attend Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat.

Dinner at the hotel 

Sing on the Ganges as evening meditation.

Overnight: Varanasi

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner 


07 Mar: Varanasi

Morning Yoga/singing Session at the hotel. 

Breakfast at the hotel. Visit Sarnath Temple for an introduction on Buddhism by Santiago.

Lunch at hotel. 

Afternoon free. 

Late Afternoon recital at Hotel in courtyard.

Dinner at the hotel. 

Evening chant by the Ganges.

Overnight: Varanasi

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner 


08 Mar: Varanasi - Amritsar via Delhi

(Flight 1050 / 1225 Hrs and 1520 / 1620 Hrs) 

Transfer to Varanasi Airport to board your onward connecting flight to Amritsar via Delhi. 

Check in to the RANJIT SVASA HOTEL.

Evening visit to Golden Temple.

Santiago - Talk on Sikh religion, Holy Temple and Sufism.

Dinner at the hotel. 

Overnight: Amritsar

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner 


09 Mar: Amritsar -Dharmamshala 

Morning Yoga/singing Session. 

Breakfast at the hotel. 

Walk to the Old City. 

Drive to Mcleod Ganj, Dharamshala. 

Check in at CHONOR HOUSE with Dinner at the hotel. 

Overnight: Dharamshala

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner 



10 Mar: Dharamshala

Yoga/singing Session at the hotel. 

Free time to relax and walk into Mcleod Ganj via introduction to Dalai Lama’s residence.. 

After lunch workshop on sounds and instruments with a local Buddhist monk. 

Talk on women’s experience in Tibetan Culture by prominent woman activist. 

Dinner with her family at the hotel. 

Overnight: Dharamshala

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner 


11 Mar: Dharamshala

Yoga/singing session at the hotel. 

After breakfast at the hotel drive to the Tibetan Norbulinka institute. 

Lunch at Café.

Workshop on Tibetan chant with instruments.

Dinner at the hotel.

Overnight: Dharamshala

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner 


12 Mar: Dharamshala

Yoga/singing session at the hotel.

After breakfast wander town at leisure. 

After lunch transfer to TIPA – Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts.


Recital to Tibetans.  Venue TBA. 

Dinner at the hotel. 

Overnight: Dharamshala

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner 


13 Mar: Dharamshala - Delhi (Flight 1120/1255hrs)

Yoga/singing Session at the hotel. 

After breakfast, transfer to the airport to board the flight to Delhi. Arrive Delhi and transfer to the AMBASSADOR HOTEL.

Free at leisure. 

Celebratory dinner at the hotel. 

Evening sing in the courtyard.

Overnight: Delhi

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner 


14 Mar: Depart Delhi

Yoga/singing session at the hotel. 

Check out from the hotel by 1200hrs. 

Meals: Breakfast 

20130203-DSC00571_inPixio smaller.jpg
20191119-DSC00189_inPixio copy.jpg
20191123-DSC00452_inPixio smaller.jpg
20130101-DSC00102_inPixio smaller.jpg
20191124-DSC00470 smaller.jpg
20191219-DSC00981_inPixio copy.jpg
20191119-DSC00183_inPixio smaller.jpg


The reviews below are an assortment of unsolicited responses to Sound Tracks Travel programs.


I have not let you know how deeply both Rochelle and I were affected by the whole experience. It’s hard to articulate, but when I got home and got up the next morning I realised I was looking at everything as though for the first time - it all seemed laden with new significance, and I trod the ground as though each footstep was almost a sacred act. I've been waxing lyrical about the whole trip to anyone who will listen ever since I got home. So thank you from my heart for creating such a transforming experience.

With our love

Paul & Rochelle

“I feel very privileged to have been part of this extraordinary journey of country, culture and people of Australia. Thanks for that opportunity and your insight into our country.”
- Sincerely Ann Bailey


I don’t seem to have the words to truly express my appreciation for your wonderful visions and your ability to manifest such amazing experiences for people! It has been one of the most significant times of my life - one of love and deep healing.

ThankYOU blessings 

Carol xx


Hi Raymond, Wow what a trip!! What an undertaking and what a wonderful outcome! We reckon on reflection and processing of the many varied aspects and multi layered experiences of our two week adventure it has proven to be a winner. The opportunities that you presented and the risks that you took to embark on such a dream culminated in a tremendous journey. 

Your Favourite South Island sheep farmers

Brian & Giselle


Beyond all expectation - visually, culturally and musically. It's a trip that no one else (but Raymond) could have put together because of his knowledge and feeling for these special places and special people. I really mean that. I think that will be one of life's highlights for me.

Mary Dinnis


Sincere thanks for a wonderful adventure combining beautiful vistas for us to savour, a love of country, indigenous culture and embellishing that with music for the heart and soul. I have so enjoyed every day with another part of Australia I didn’t know much about but this experience has encouraged me to discover more.  Thanks for giving me the opportunity to love country and joyfully sing it’s praises. You’ve been a generous and attentive host for our unique journey.


Ann Bailey



I haven’t been able yet to process my experiences this trip. It really was profound and special. Thank you for having the vision. I feel so grateful to have been able to share in it.



Dear Raymond,

Thanks to your passion for Country, People & Culture our Heartland adventure was packed with experiences that cannot be easily described. Now they can see and hear for themselves and savour at least a taste of this fortnight-long banquet. 

Arohanui and many blessings from New Zealand,



Hi Raymond

I had been waiting to reply and thank you for a fantastic experience in the desert. I was trying to encapsulate the experience and what it meant to me. Then the video arrives and expresses so many of my thoughts and feelings. Thank you so much. Once again thanks for an unforgettable and thought provoking experience.



Hi Raymond,

The trip was as you say on my bucket list that I didn't even know. Love as always the connections that you put in place.

Heartfelt thanks from Liz Thanks, Raymond, for your vision and inspiration for getting this trip together - it was a

unique and amazing experience.

Kindest regards


Hello Raymond

Raymond thank you for what was an incredible trip. I can’t imagine how much work went into organising it. It will stay close to my heart and there are many special moments that I will treasure. I could go on with superlatives but will leave it at that.

Xx Jane


Hi Raymond

The trip was really special in so many ways and was everything I had hoped for, especially our interactions with the local people. What a privilege to be able to share our music with the ladies at Hermannsburg and our time with Alison and her family. Thank you Raymond for creating the opportunity to meet members of the Aboriginal community in a place of

shared friendship and mutual respect. It was deeply meaningful for me.

Lynne x


Hi Raymond, thanks very much for the video - when I got home I was unable for about 2 weeks to tell my friends much about the journey as I just dissolved in tears every time. I had just about got myself in some sort of working order and the video arrived and I was crying all over again!!! I can only imagine the energy you put into that trip and the many

others that you organize and I thank you most sincerely for the experience I had and will never forget. 

Anna Wright

sendbinary (20).jpg
A personal perspective

Over years of leading choirs into beautiful places throughout Australia there have been many wondrous experiences: recitals in sea caves on the wild coast of Tasmania; pop-up gigs in remote pubs, in outback woolsheds and in lonely churches.

One such experience was so sublime that it has never left me, and it resonates still in the design of Singing to the Heart.

At night the desert landscape of Australia mirrors a Shakespearean set, landscape a principal player, stage lighting provided by moon and stars, theatre props of shadowed rocks and spikey grevillias. All the while a sub-plot underpins the scene, the sense that Indigenous people lived and conducted ceremony here for thousands of years. 

Raymond Hawkins

Tour Leader & Director

In a place like this, just six months from my father’s death, I listened to a choir sing around a campfire. In one beautiful piece my loss found its expression, a universal register for those feelings you feared were yours alone. At that moment sound was stripped to the elemental, attuned to a stark desert that demands sparseness in all things. At that perfect moment, around that fire, private grief morphed into something universal. It spoke to the transcendent power of song.