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Vamshikrishna Vishnudas

Vamshikrishna Vishnudas with a meditative presence pulls the raga from the air around you harnessing its power to make images appear in your mind while he works his voice melodiously through the South Indian Vocal repertoire of astonishingly varied ornaments.

Vamshikrishna Vishnudas is a vocalist from South India who specialises in traditional Carnatic music and has performed extensively in his home country and received several prizes and awards as a young musician. For nearly two decades he has lived in the United Kingdom and has gained a reputation as a solo performer and as a singer for dance. He has worked with many internationally renowned musicians (most notably with Carnatic violinist Jyotsna Srikanth), dancers and dance teachers, and has been a part of several creative music and dance projects in the UK and Europe. Vamshikrishna is also an acclaimed teacher and a resident vocal teacher at Pandit Ram Sahai Sangit Vidyalaya, London. He obtained his Bachelors in Music from Telugu University, Hyderabad, India.

Surjeet Singh Aulakh

Surjeet Singh embodies the purity of the musical traditions he learnt from his great gurus. Accomplished as a soloist and accompanist he brings a quiet dignity that belies his extraordinary ability to communicate with his ancient multi stringed Sarangi.

Surjeet Singh is one of the worlds most skilled sarangi players. His love of the enchanting sound of the Sarangi led him to the doors of the legendary Sarangi player, Pandit Ram Narayan in 1977. Since launching his career in the early 90’s, he has played extensively throughout India at various important festivals giving solo recitals as well as accompanying leading musicians such as Salamat Ali Khan, Fateh Ali Khan, Pandit Rajan-Sajan Mishra and Shiri L K Pandit amongst others. Also, he has played at numerous venues in UK, Europe, America, Thailand and East Africa.

Surjeet is fluent in the styles of Khyal and Thumri, which has led him to be noticed worldwide for his musicality and proficiency. He is now a tutor for the Gurmat Sangeet Academy and the Raj Academy.

Shahbaz Hussain

Shahbaz Hussain has an ease for making you at the centre of his rhythms and brings his wide tabla repertoire and dynamism to both classical and fusion.

Gifted with a sweet melodic sound, his playing is a confluence of styles learnt from his father and other maestros. Shahbaz Hussain is fast emerging as one of the most promising tabla virtuosos of his generation. He has received numerous accolades for his captivating performances, including receiving the prestigious “Son of Lahore” Award from the Government of Pakistan in 2008.

Shahbaz began his grooming in the art of tabla at age five with his father, the late Ustad Mumtaz Hussain – a prominent vocalist. He later went on to study with tabla legends Ustad Faiyaz Khan from the Delhi Gharana (school), the late Ustad Shaukat Hussain Khan from the Punjab Gharana and finally the late Ustad Allah Rakha Khan.

Shahbaz is an extremely versatile tabla player. He has mastered all the traditional skills as well as the ability to project those skills to more contemporary styles. His solo performances have gained great recognition all over the world. He is also much sought after for his accompaniment skills by many of the great masters musicians of India & Pakistan – including Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, Ustad Shahid Parvez, Ustad Rais Khan, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia and ghazal legend Ghulam Ali to name but a few.

Shahbaz regularly travels across the world to present performances, including throughout Europe, North America & the Asian subcontinent. He has performed in many prestigious venues, including the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., Lincoln Center in New York and London’s Royal Albert & Queen Elizabeth Halls. His band, Indus, has received critical acclaim for their debut album Firefly and they continue to tour the UK & internationally.

He is a dedicated teacher and regularly teaches across the country, including at the University of Newcastle and the University of Huddersfield. Shahbaz is based in Rochdale, England.

Divyanand Caird

Divyanand Caird plays the ancient lute-like Saraswati Veena of South India. His blend of mastery and enthusiasm enables him to bring the rich tones of his instrument with its idiosyncratic ornamentation to any musical mix.

Divyanand is a professional South Indian (Carnatic) Classical musician of the Saraswati Veena based in London. He hails from an Indo-Scottish Heritage. He is a prime student of Veena maestro Dr. Karaikudi S. Subramanian, a ninth generation musician from the illustrious Karaikudi Veena Tradition and founder of Brhaddhvani.

Divyanand has extensively toured North America and Europe with his guru. He has been a faculty and cultural coordinator at the research institute Brhaddhvani since 2010 and has supported the Veena craftsmen and curated several music festivals in Chennai. His interests also extend to cross-cultural collaborations with world musicians, Ethnomusicology, sound engineering, archiving music & heritage.

He is the founder of ‘Brhaddhvani Global Centre for Music’ in the UK to spread the Karaikudi Tradition and his gurus pioneering methodology COMET (Correlated Objective Music Education and Training.

Dheeraj Sahai-Mishra

Dheeraj hails from Varanasi which has been a cultural centre of North India for several thousand years. Also known as Ashish, he is one of the exciting dynamic young Tabla players of his generation and brings a laid back modern groove to the eight generation old Benares Gharana tradition he represents. At the age of 7, Dheeraj became a disciple of his grandfather the legendary Pt Sharda Sahai, the founder of PRSSV and the direct descendant of Pt Ram Sahai ji the founder of the Benares Gharana.

Dheeraj’s debut performance was at ‘Gritma’ at the age of 13 and since then he has performed in many festivals across India and Europe. He has accompanied many leading artists including Padma Vibhushan Girija Devi (vocalist), Amar Nath Mishra (sitarist), Ravi Shankar Mishra (Kathak dancer) as well as many upcoming young artists.

Dheeraj is a versatile artist equally at home with the formalities of the Tabla solo and classical accompaniment, the lighter forms of Thuri and Ghazal, and is developing new fusion works with Blues, Greek, Celtic and other artists. He has a Master’s Degree in Music from Benares Hindu University and is a gold medallist. He is currently resident artist and teacher at PRSSV in London.

Clem Alford

Clem Alford, born in Glasgow, is called a ‘Scottish Pandit’ for his knowledge of Indian classical music tradition.

Although he initially studied bagpipes, Clem took to the sitar in the mid-1960s after being inspired by Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan. He went to India in 1968 to study classical sitar with Pandit Sachindranath Saha and had his first album recorded in 1969 with guitarist Jim Moyes and tabla player Keshv Sathe. This set him on the path to study Indian traditional sitar in India for many years.

Clem has made a name for himself in the world of Indian music and has performed in the major cities of India and several times in Japan and other Asian countries. He has also collaborated with leading musicians in India and is acclaimed in Indian newspapers for his detailed and mellifluous expositions of ragas.

He has composed music for film and won several accolades in India and the West. Clem has also been associated with the famous John Williams (classical guitar), John Mayer (composer/ Indo Jazz Fusions), Maurice Jarre (film scores), John Dankworth (jazz), Hemmant Kunar (vocalist) and a host of other striking personalities in the world of music.

He has taught hundreds of people over the years in London at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and in PRSSV where he is presently a resident artist. He is a graduate of Midnapore Music College in West Bengal (India) and has written a guide book to explain his philosophy and how to play the sitar.

Meet John Mayer

In October 2018 PRSSV Institute of Performing Arts and Heritage launched the touring heritage exhibition, talks and concerts celebrating the life and legacy of ground-breaking composer, musician and Indo-Jazz pioneer, John Mayer (1929-2004).

This major retrospective shines a light on the fascinating life of renaissance composer John Mayer. Supported with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, PRSSV with a team of dedicated volunteers has digitised, interpreted and enhanced an archive documenting what has evolved into ‘’Meet John Mayer’’.

The launch of the multimedia exhibition took place in the presence of his family and with performances led by his son, the sitarist and composer, Jonathan Mayer at the Watermans, London in October 2018. To date this exhibition has been hosted by Uxbridge Library (January 2019) and Harrow Arts Centre (February 2019). The latter featured a memorable concert of Indo Jazz Flavours with Jonathan Mayer (sitar) and Steve Tromans on piano.

About John Mayer

John Mayer (1929-2004) was a composer and musician of Anglo-Indian descent, trained in both Indian and Western Classical music. His pioneering work from the 1950s onwards brought the foundation of fusion music, a common feature in British music making. He opened up the possibility of successful collaborations between artists in different genres. John Mayer’s story is key to understanding the heritage of contemporary British music.

‘Meet John Mayer’ explored various aspects of John Mayer’s life, with over twenty panels and main subject headings such as: his life, timeline, violinist, composer, Indo Jazz Fusions, his legacy and more.

Indo Jazz Fusions was a “double quintet” of five Indian and five Jazz musicians who performed together in the 1960s.

Atlantic Records’ co-founder, Ahmet Ertegun, who was impressed by John Mayer’s Jazz piece ‘Nine for Bacon’ introduced Mayer to Jamaican Jazz saxophonist, Joe Harriott, suggesting they work together on a new album blending Indian Classical music and Jazz music.

The album ‘Indo-Jazz Fusions’ (1966) found immediate success in avant-garde circles. Notable musicians who performed in the ‘Fusions’ ensemble included Larry Adler, John Williams, Tubby Hayes, Keith Emerson and dancer Surya Kumari. Mayer and Harriott continued to record and tour until Harriott’s death in 1973.

In 1995, John Mayer reformed the Indo-Jazz project with encouragement from his students at Birmingham Conservatoire and his son Jonathan Mayer. This again was me with success leading to the release of four albums, major tours and appearances at numerous festivals until John Mayer’s death in 2004.

Project Highlights

  1. Launch of the multimedia exhibition and premiere of the documentary film ‘Meet John Mayer’.
  2. Several performances of John Mayer’s Indo Jazz compositions.
  3. World premiere live performance of John Mayer’s 1976 album fusion of Indian, South East Asian and Jazz music album, Dhammapada on 20th October 2018 at Watermans, London.
  4. Jonathan Mayer worked with several schools in Hillingdon to create a new piece which was inspired by Mowgli Tales by composer John Mayer which was showcased at Winston Churchill Theatre Ruislip on 31 January 2019.

Testimonial from a partner organisation

“The project, which also involved a visiting exhibition at Uxbridge Library, was led by PRSSV, working with Hillingdon Music Hub, Hillingdon Libraries Hillingdon Theatres and Hillingdon Museums, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with additional value being provided via the Music Hub’s Arts Council England/DfE core grant. The project has enabled us to engage with schools where the Hub hasn’t previously run musical activities, and we are hopeful that the circa 140 young people who participated will have this event as a strong musical memory for the rest of their lives”. Tim Saward, Museum and Performing Arts Manager for Hillingdon.

Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Lottery Fund