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Prem Joshua

"Prem Joshua is the new guru of World Fusion Music" –Times Of India, New Delhi, India

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KASHI: SONGS FROM THE INDIA WITHIN

Prem Joshua & Chintan

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Kashi: Songs from the India Within
Prem Joshua & Chintan

Released August 5, 2014

Upon his very first visit to India in 1977, the young Prem Joshua felt an immediate and profound connection. Deeply inspired by the venerable culture, the young German musician began infusing familiar forms of western music with the exotic flavors of India. Already an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, he mastered the sitar – and the rest is musical history. Dividing his time over the years between India and Europe, as well as his frequent touring and prolific recording work – releasing 19 albums over 2+ decades – Prem Joshua has established himself with dedicated fans worldwide. He has achieved credibility and acclaim even within India’s music establishment: a true accomplishment for a westerner.

With Kashi, Prem Joshua and collaborator Chintan Relenberg have crafted a sparkling suite of new songs around beloved, traditional Indian mantras and shlokas (a type of couplet verse, and the basis of such ancient Indian poetry as the The Mahabharata and Ramayana epics). Each original song offers a fresh take on devotional music that manages to be transcendent yet utterly, accessibly contemporary – enjoyable as well as enlightening.

From the atmospheric opener “Balakrishna” – a modern take on kirtan that evolves into a breezy, beat-laden excursion – the album traverses richly diverse terrain in both style and content. The vocal chemistry of singers Hamsika Iyer (known for her work with Bombay Dub Orchestra and Juno Reactor), Prem Joshua, and Sanou Olszewski is framed with great subtlety with arrangements by Joshua (sitar, bamboo flute, saxophones) and Chintan (keyboards, bass, tabla, kanjira, pandeiro, udu, drum programming) with the able support of guitarist Werner Schultheiss and tabla player Raul Sengupta.

“Tumhaari Mara” marries sitar and Bollywood-evocative melody with sturdy reggae rhythms and deep bass, as its lyrics honor the revered 16th century Rajasthani royal poet-saint Meera. The joyfully lovely groove of “All Roads Lead to Om,” (as opposed to “Rome”) draws its prayer from the 3,000-year-old Brihadaranyaka Upanishads, considered the oldest of all Vedic texts. Yet the message remains as urgently relevant today as ever; as Prem Joshua says, “In a world where fanaticism and ignorance seem to be taking hold ever more strongly, this prayer shines like a beacon – guiding our journey along the ‘road to Om.’”

Born to a musical family in Germany, Prem Joshua began learning the flute at the age of five and became a fine flautist when still a child. As a teenager he started learning electric guitar and saxophones. His practicing Rock and Jazz could not only be heard in his own house. Some of his neighbors (classical music teachers!) still haven't forgiven him to this day!

Nevertheless he was soon performing in various Rock, Jazz and Fusion bands to a more appreciative audience, always searching for new ways of expressing and expanding his music.

This musical "discontent" combined with his spiritual seeking led him to an interest in India. He remembers hearing Indian music for the first time at 16 on a record called Concert For Bangladesh, a live recording of a festival with George Harrison and many other famous Rock names from that time.

One side of the 3-vinyl record set was a performance on sitar by Ravi Shankar: "I had never heard anything like this before," Joshua recalls. "This was beyond my musical grasp and experience but was something of such immense beauty and depth. It felt unfamiliar and mysterious--yet at the same time like a remembrance of something I knew very well."

In the late seventies, at the young age of 18, he knew only one thing: what he DIDN'T want to do! He left home and high school and ended all his career plans to go overland from Europe to India and join the "hippie tribe" in an attempt to find out what he really wanted. On his first three overland trips to the East he traveled throughout countries like Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He became deeply involved with traditional oriental folk music, playing live with and learning from local musicians everywhere. "I loved the roots of this music and felt an immediate connection that I missed so much in Central European folk," he says. When he reached India he had a sensation of knowing it; it felt like coming home!

Along with the feeling of familiarity there seemed to be an inexplicable vibe of at-ease-ness in this country of mysteries, contradictions, colors and smells. One of his first actions in India was to buy a sitar in Delhi for the price of what you pay for it's strings today. What he didn't know then is that playing this instrument would become a main part of his life.

And coming home to India was only the "outer" part of his journey. On his travels he came across the enlightened mystic, Osho. In the presence of this man with a long white beard, eyes as deep as the ocean and a strong sense of humor, he got in touch with the art of the inner music –silence.

Of his time in India, Joshua reports, "This was really coming home! For the following years I did nothing but be with this man, meditate and play, play, play music. Here I found the musical and spiritual nourishment and satisfaction that I had been looking for. I started playing with musicians from all over the world and learning from some of India's finest teachers, among them Maestro Ustad Usman Khan, who became my sitar mentor."

Kashi 300Kashi: Songs from the India Within

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Articles

Multi-instrumentalist and composer, Prem Joshua – pioneer extraordinaire in the field of World Fusion Music – creates and explores forever new synthesis in sound, transporting the listener as he does beyond the borders of both East and West.

Drawing inspiration from the deep well of the ancient music traditions of the Indian sub-continent, while remaining constantly in touch with the pulse of contemporary Western music scene, over the years Joshua has continued to refine his awesome talent for fusion, creating a sound both distinctive and unique.

His music appeals so deeply because despite its contemporary feel, it still succeeds in keeping alive the wild ‘let-go’ and meditative silence of its cultural roots. This musical masala of Indian classical, jazz, funk, ethno and trance music is so masterly, yet playfully blended, that it has indeed a completely global appeal.

Listening to the music of Prem Joshua, whether on one of his many best-selling CDs, or live in concert, means being audience to one of the freshest world music experiences to be found on the planet. With confidence, originality and forever present virtuosity, his international band weave together threads so seemingly disparate into an exquisite organic musical whole, where even the impossible suddenly becomes possible.

Despite this breaking of boundaries, Prem Joshua’s ‘World of Fusion’ nevertheless retains a deep reverence towards its musical roots. One hears Indian temple chants with reminiscences of urban jazz; sufi poems set to reggae rhythms; unfettered and complex Indian classical music on sitar and tabla… and soaring melodies on the bamboo flute over driving trance loops sending the listener effortlessly spinning into dervish-like heights of ecstasy.

For his timely interpretation of the music traditions of the East, Prem Joshua has been especially honored in India. His music seems to touch the “mood of the moment” and one hears his music everywhere - from the Himalayas in the north, down to Delhi and Bombay, then south to the beaches of Goa and Kerala. The foremost Indian newspaper - the Times of India - has even lauded him as the 'New Guru of World Fusion Music’.

In 2005 his band played live on 'MTV Asia'.

In 2006 he and his band gave a private performance for the President of Malaysia.

In 2007 Joshua received the award "Best Film Music on Indian TV" at the Indian TV Awards in Mumbai. And more recently his band performed for the President of India, the Prime Minister of India, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and legendary Indian singers, Asha Bhonsle and Lata Mangeshkar.

Today he is the number one best-selling World Music artist in India. However, his music is not only appreciated in the East. It has also ‘come West’. Most notably, in 2007 his band gave a private concert for the UK’s Prince Edward at the Royal Palace in London - in 2008 the 'BBC' nominated him for their ‘World music listeners award’ - in 2009 the band performed at the 'Big Chill Festival' and in 2011 at the famous 'Glastonbury Festival'.

Always a passionate live performer, Joshua tours the globe with his band for almost 10 months each year and is as much at home on the stages of Bombay and Dubai as in the clubs of New York and Paris. For the last 15 years he has shared the stage with internationally acclaimed musicians from East and West, and has performed in India, the Middle East, South East Asia, USA, Japan, Israel and all over Europe.

Kashi – Songs From the India Within – by Aromero

Transglobal and Versatile Indian Music - October 7, 2014

Kashi – Songs From the India Within (White Swan Records, 2014) – By Prem Joshua & Chintan

Multi-instrumentalist global traveler Prem Joshua has released a wonderful album of easily accessible Indian fusion music. There are many types of fusion and what Prem Joshua delivers on his latest album, Kashi – Songs From the India Within, is a tasty collection of mantras and schlokas (a kind of couplet verse that is the foundation of ancient Indian poetry such as the The Mahabharata and Ramayana classics) that incorporate Indian classical and folk, jazz, reggae beats and trance electronics.

Prem Joshua and his longtime collaborator Chintan take ancient Indian musical instruments and influences and add exciting new arrangements that make the music appealing to world music, electronic dance music and kirtan and western-style mantra music fans alike.

Prem Joshua plays primarily the sitar and the beautiful soaring bansuri (bamboo flute). Chintan Relenberg adds keyboards, trip hop trance beats, bass and a wide range of Indian and global percussion. Two talented female vocalists, Hamsika Iyer (Bombay Dub Orchestra and Juno Reactor) and Sanou Olszewski, interplay with the warm male vocals of Prem Joshua and Chintan. However, the most fascinating interactions are between Prem’s sitar and Hamsika’s vocals. Guests on the album include Werner Schultheiss on electric guitar and Raul Sengupta on tabla.

Born in Germany, Prem Joshua first traveled over land from Germany to India in 1977. In India he learned to play sitar under the guidance of his teacher Ustad Usman Khan. Joshua took on the name “Prem,” which means “love” in Hindi.

“The images…have less to do with a religious belief system than a representation of basic life energies; so it is with mantras,” says Prem Joshua. “It is not about blindly adopting religious concepts, but rather about experiencing these images and sounds as guide maps for the inner journey.”

Kashi – Songs From the India Within – by Yogini Tiff

Yoga Teacher Magazine

KASHI: Songs From The India Within

by Yogini Tiff

Accomplished multi instrumentalist and composer, Prem Joshua, with 19 albums to his credit , and collaborator Chintan Relenberg have released a new album, KASHI, Songs From the India Within, on the White Swan record label. The album is a diverse musical journey, an infusion of modern and ancient, western and Indian; this devotional album blends mantra and Indian poetry with a variety of instruments and exotic grooves.

The album opens with Balakrishna, a modern take on kirtan. The song is an experimental mix of instruments, beats, and vocals. For me this is the album’s weakest song. Happily it gets much better.

The second track, All Roads Lead to Om, sparkles with creativity and devotion. The lyric, an ancient prayer, come from the powerful Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, one of the oldest texts of the Upanishad corpus.

The fourth Track, Don’t Worry My Love, is slow, enchanting, and soothing.

Tumhaari Mayais a mix of danceable reggae beats and beautiful vocals. This song was one of my favorites, a real highlight to this album.

The hypnotizing vocals of the closing track Lingashtakam, evoke a spacious sense of peace. A surrender to the Divine. This song is beautiful.

KASHI is perfect for a flow yoga practice or trance dance. I found myself experimenting with new flows, tapping into the rhythm and energy of the music, and enjoying the vibrations.

The vocals are by Hamsika Iyer, Sanou Olszewski, and Prem Joshua, and instrumental accompaniment by Prem Joshua (sitar, bamboo flute, saxophone), Chintan Relenberg ( keyboards, bass, tabla, guitar, pandeiro, udu, drum programming), Werner Schultheiss (Guitar), and Raul Sengupta (Tabla). This is a refreshing, creative collaboration that can be enjoyed at any time, on or off the mat.

Yogini Tiff is a mother, Reiki Master, writer, dancer, performer, teacher, dreamer, and gypsy. Currently she lives and teaches on the island of Santa Maria in the Azores, Portugal.

Kashi – Songs From the India Within – by Matthew Forss

KASHI: Songs From The India Within

Review by Matthew Forss

Prem Joshua & Chintan Kashi White Swan Records Prem Joshua & Chintan bring us some tantric and Sanskrit-infused compositions from India's inner soul on their latest collaboration, Kashi. There are nine hit tracks with a little Indian psych funk, contemporary yoga rock, and electronic elements infused with a good dose of percussion, vocalizations, and new age/jazz connotations that are ripe with world music elements. The transcendental songs are majestic, euphoric, and meditative. Of course, the tabla, harmonium, and sitar are a part of the mix, but the electronic and contemporary elements are a bit more prevalent. The result is a global fusion that covers dub on "Tumhaari Maya;" dance on "Gayatri Ghetto;" and modern embellishments on "All Roads Lead To Om," "Ya Devi Sarva," and "Lingashtakam." The devotional tunes are rather lengthy between five and ten minutes long, which allows for some expressive and thought-provoking results. There is nothing really comparable to Kashi, but the apparently-defunct group, Nuklearte, from Italy, is relatively close. If you love the South Asian-inspired modern grooves of yoga, Hindi, and mantra-style music, then Kashi will satisfy your soul. Best enjoyed with your favorite cereal : ) –Matthew Forss

Yoga International Interview with Prem Joshua

KASHI: Songs From The India Within

Yoga International Interview with Prem Joshua

What does the word Kashi mean? It’s an ancient name for the holy city of Varanasi, also known as Benares. But another meaning is “abode of the soul.”

Read entire Interview

Kashi: Songs From The India Within - MAZ Reader Review

KASHI: Songs From The India Within

MAZ- Reader Review

Read entire Interview

2014 TOUR

Thursday, 19 June 2014, 8:00 pm
Samavesh Hall, Hotel Savera, Chennai (IN)
 
Saturday 05 July 2014, 8:30 pm
Parimal Gut Hübenthal, Witzenhausen (DE)
 
Sunday 06 July 2014, 11:00 am
Parimal Gut Hübenthal, Witzenhausen (DE
 
Thursday 10 July - Monday 14 July 2014, 09:00 am
Espace Healing Summer Festival, Comps (F)
 
Friday 11 Jul 2014, 8:30 pm
Espace Healing Summer Festival, Comps (F)
 
Thursday 21 Aug 2014, 8:00 pm
Centro d'Ompio, Pettenasco (I)
 
Saturday 30 August 2014, 8:00 pm
Live Wave Event Bürgerzentrum Engelshof, Köln (D)
 

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