- ZDF GERMANY
With exquisite skill and artistry, this charismatic father and sons trio from Varanasi-India, breathe great joy and vitality into music that dates back thousands of years. Their repertoire of Ragas, the heart of all of their music, comes directly from the ancient Vedic texts (Mantras). It has been passed down from generation to generation in this family of musicians that can be traced back 15 generations Yet, each Raga holds infinite potential for improvisation, always reflecting the shifting moods of the human heart and encompassing the full breadth of a lifetime. Every performance is unique, as the dynamic relationships between musicians and audience create an entirely new and unforgettable experience every time. The band has performed at major world music festivals in Europe, Asia, United States, Middle East, Canada, and South America. The Band is empaneled with I.C.C.R. (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) Ministry of foreign affairs, Government of India.
Pandit Vikash Maharaj
Sarod Maestro / Composer / Music Director / Philanthropist / Producer
One of the 20th century’s greatest masters of the Sarod, Pandit Vikash Maharaj is first Indian Sarod player who has performed at Noble Peace Center in 1989 in Oslo, Norway. Performed during International Leprosy Eradication Seminar in Munich-Germany on Special Invitation from 5th President of Germany Mr. Karl Carstens in 1982 and Invited to the Parliament of New Zealand in 2008. In 1995, Bach Music Academy, Germany has honored him with title of “Professor” for creating a cultural bridge between India and Germany. In 2014, Government of Uttar Pradesh has honored him with highest civilian award Yash Bharati for his extraordinary contributions in Indian classical Music. Followed with many other awards and honors by different Organizations and Countries. Pandit ji is empanelled artist from ICCR – Foreign Ministry, Government of India and Indian Radio & Television. Certificate of Honour by Mayor of city Remschied, Germany.
Pandit Vikash Maharaj born as 14th generations of Maharaj clan of Banaras Gharana in holy city of India, Varanasi. He received his early education on Tabla from his father legendary Tabla Guru Bengal Tiger Pandit Nanhku Maharaj and later taught Sarod by Guru Pandit Rajesh Chandra Moitra (Senior disciple of Baba Allauddin Khan Saheb) of the prestigious Maihar Senia Gharana. He belongs to a family of great performers and teachers such as his grandfather Pandit Bade Ramdas, Pandit Kanthe Maharaj and maternal uncle Padma Vibhushan Pandit Kishan Maharaj.
Raag Hinglaj (which is named over his beloved mother), Raag Dhumavati and melody Ganga are the most popular compositions composed by him among hundreds of others.
In 38 years of dynamic musical journey he has performed over 6000+ concerts world wide and shared the stage with Herbie Hancock, Peter Gabrielle, John McLaughlin, Paul Horn, John Handy, David Friesen, Art Handle, Umar Hakim, Tom Bailey, Wise Guys, Dom Um Romao, Luis De Matteo, Patrick Bebelaar, Andrew Cyrille, Connie Bauer, Rudy Smith, Lenart Äberg, Bernd Konard, Tom Vendargeld and recorded over than 150 LP’s, CD’s and Dvd’s which includes 10 years of Music Ensemble of Benares, Holiwater Project, Maya, Path, Celebration, John Handy Musical Dreamland, Point of View and To hear the world in a grain of Sand among all time Hits. Performed actively at historical Cologne Cathedral (Germany), Vienna Philharmonie (Austria), Berliner Philharmonie (Germany), WOMAD New Playmouth (New Zealand), San Francisco Jazz Festival (U.S.A.), LG Open Jazz Festival (Germany), Zelt Music Festival (Germany), Splore World Music Festival (New Zealand), Caravan Jazz Festival (Germany), Schloss Elmau (Germany), International Jazz Festival Innsbruck (Austria). Tanzbrunnen Cologne (Germany), International Film Festival Amsterdam (Netherlands). Centennial Celebration of Auckland War Memorial Museum (New Zealand), Te Papa Museum Wellington (New Zealand), International Book Fair at Frankfurt Messe (Germany), Donaueschingen Music Festival, Indera Samudra Hall, Brunei to celebrate 70th Independence day of India and many more.
He have worked in various national and International Universities as Visiting Professor such as Berkeley Music College (U.S.A.), San Diego City College (U.S.A.), Bach Music Academy (GERMANY), Cologne Music and Dance University (GERMANY), Mozart Academy of Ancient Music (AUSTRIA), Vienna Philharmonic -Department of World Music (AUSTRIA), University of Auckland (NEW ZEALAND), Northridge University California (U.S.A.), Tropical Institute for world Music (Netherlands), Tenri University Gagaku Music Society (JAPAN),Ochsenhausen Landesakademie (Germany), Esalen institute (U.S.A.), Santa Barbara University (U.S.A.) as named few.
He has also performed for numerous famous International TV and Radio, like National Radio and Television New Zealand, DW National Television Germany, ORF National Television and Radio Austria, ARTE National Cultural Television Germany & France, ZDF Radio and Television Germany, WDR Radio Germany, KBCS New York U.S.A., Channel 4 New Zealand, BBC London.
Year 1986, Pandit Vikash Maharaj founded Panchnaad- a music ensemble of five separate musical sounds to increase and develop the interest to Indian Classical Music around the world. He devoted his life promoting plural voices through the Afghani instrument Sarod. He is also co-founder member, as well as music director of THE HOLIWATER PROJECT documentary movie / organization (New Zealand) stabilized to save drinking water around the globe.
He has travelled and performed in many countries like U.S.A. Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxemburg, China, Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Russia, Japan, Thailand, Nepal, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Australia, Greece, Singapore, and United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.).
Sitar Player / Vocalist / Composer
Internationally acclaimed Sitar player from India, Abhishek Maharaj born on 30th March 1987 as 15th generations musician of Maharaj clan Banaras Gharana in Varanasi. Received his early education as Vocalist from Guru Sri Jalpa Prasad Mishra (Grandson of Bade Ram Das ji) and later shifted to Sitar under his legendary father Yash Bharati Awardee Sarod maestro Pandit Vikash Maharaj of Maihar Gharana.
Belong to family of excellence in Laya and Swar, Abhishek has trained well in both Khayal Gayaki and Drupad Ang style, which is extremely rare. At the tender age of 18, Abhishek introduced to the largest gathering on the earth, Kumbh Mela in Allahabad. His father and Guru Pandit Vikash Maharaj has seen an ultimate potential of future Sitar Maestro in him and increased his hours of practice for many years.
Abhishek is well known for his unique approach to his instrument Sitar as well as in Vocal. He has wide understanding of music that sets him apart from other performers. The modally and fluency he expresses on his instruments and Vocal speak of deep emotions and moods with clarity and precision heard by a Sitar performer. Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan and his grandfather Padma Vibhushan Pandit Kishan Maharaj have blessed him in numerous occasions to carry Indian Heritage, Culture and Music to the world. Abhishek Maharaj has performed at WOMAD Festival, San Francisco Jazz Festival, Ganga Mahotsav, Mumbai Festival, Kabir Festival, Sankat Mochan Music Festival, 70th Independence Day celebration in Brunei Darussalam by Ministry of Culture (Govt. of India), Jaipur Heritage & literature Festival, Splore Music Festival, Tanzbrunnen Köln with Wise Guys (famous German A Capella band), 3rd International Yoga Day in Frankfurt, Tagore Centre at Indian Embassy, Berlin-Germany and Parliament of New Zealand in Wellington on special invitation by Ex. Prime Minister Mrs. Helen Clark, as named few.
Abhishek has been honoured with 6 Gold Medals by Ministry of Culture and Central Universities of India, including Banaras Hindu University at first place. Sangeet Praveen with highest marking in history of Prayaag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad with Gold Medal. Equally command on Vocal, Violin, Harmonium, Sarod and Sitar, Abhishek has composed many tracks for national and international short and long Films.
It has been well said, “Sons follows father’s steps”. Abhishek joined his father to fight against Corruption, Child Labour, Prostitution, Human trafficking, domestic violence and Save the Rivers thru his music. Alike his father, born and brought up upper cast Hindu Brahmin, he never followed cast system, touchable or untouchable, went door to door, holding equality messages in hand sending message for equal right for Education and social care. Since 1995 till 1998, the year of world renowned Global March with Sri Kailash Satyarthi and his father Pandit Vikash Maharaj, he has traveled all over India and abroad to send message for brotherhood and peaceful society thru this music. Proudly, the movement happened to bring “Nobel Peace Prize” in our country. He has also joined famous Indian Spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to create Guinness World Record for largest Musical Ensemble. In 2012, Pandit Vikash Maharaj found group Maharaj Trio joined by Abhishek Maharaj on Sitar and Vocal, which created easy way to understand and receive the nectar of Indian Classical Ragas and melodies.
For his distinguish contributions in Music and society he has also received numerous awards like- India Cultural Ambassador (P.V.C.H.R. India/Asia), National Scholarship, Government of India, N.C.Z.C.C. Allahabad, India, Dharohar Samman, Rotary International.
B.B.C. India, National Radio New Zealand, ZDF Germany, Channel 4 New Zealand, DW Germany, Radio SWR Germany, Doordarshan and Akashvani India, EPIC Channel India, ZTV India, ETV India, India TV as named few.
ZDF Documentary on Indian Super Stars –Germany 2017, CELEBRATION Audio Cd with Pandit Vikash Maharaj & Ralf Klotz 2015, MAYA Audio Cd with Tom Bailey, Pandit Vikash Maharaj and James Pinker 2012, Documentary Movie Holiwater Band -New Zealand 2008, PATH Audio Cd with Pandit Vikash Maharaj 2007.
Director of Banaras Music Academy to provide free traditional Indian Classical Music to all including Dalits. Composed 4 Audio CDs to support Dalit School in Varanasi. Helped building 2 schools for free academic and music classes. Working in 50 rural villages in Varanasi and around to support equal rights and living.
Abhishek Maharaj have travelled with his Music to Germany, Italy, Greece, France, Austria, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Nepal, Oman, Dubai, Australia, New Zealand and Kuwait.
Born on 15th July 1983 as 15th generations of musician in highly respected musical family of Pandit Bade Ramdas Das ji in Varanasi, India. As being part of musical heritage Prabhash has received his early education on Tabla by legends of Banaras Gharana themselves, such as grandfather Bengal Tiger title awardee Tabla Guru Pandit Nanhku Maharaj, Padma Vibhushan Pandit Kishan Maharaj and his father Sarod Maestro Pandit Vikash Maharaj. In tender age of 7, Prabhash gave his first Tabla solo recital in front of thousands of audience in Varanasi, gathered to fight against social injustice and Dalits torcher in India and later awarded with high appreciation by Great Poet Sri Kaifi Azami.
In 30 years of his musical career, he has accompanied the legends like Bharat Ratna Pandit Ravi Shankar, Bharat Ratna Pandit Bismillah Khan, Ustad Mumtaj Hussain, Pandit Vikash Maharaj, Wise Guys, Tom Bailey, Missy Higgins, John Handy at numerous occasions like Ganga Mahotsav, Kalidas Sangeet Samaroh, Taj Mahotsav, Haridas Sangeet Sammelan, Jaipur Literature and Heritage Festival, Habitat Center-New Delhi, India International Center-New Delhi, Buddha Mahotsav, Lucknow Mahotsav, San Fransisco Jazz Festival, International Yoga Day, Frankfurt-Germany, Tagore Center, Indian Embassy-Germany, WOMAD festival Taranaki-New Zealand and honoured by being first Indian Tabla player to Perform at Parliament of New Zealand, Wellington to celebrate Diwali festival with then Prime Minister Mrs. Helen Clark. Along with his father, he has joined social organization Bachpan Bachao Andolan in 1990, as back then very few were aware about Child Labour issue in our society. He has marched, joined hunger strikes as well as joined the police during raids at Carpet, Crockery & Bangles industries to free thousands of innocent life. He has marched with Sri Sundar Lal Bahuguna to protect mother Ganga and since 1998, Prabhash Maharaj has founded band of International musicians Holiwater to spread awareness to save main source of our life, Rivers around the earth. His most famous slogan “We can live without Petrol but can’t survive without Water” became world voice now and increasing followers on social media day by day.
Festival of India organized by ICCR & Ministry of Culture: He has proudly represented India and Indian culture during 70th Independence Day of India celebration in Brunei Darussalam, Dhaka, Rajshahi and Chittagong in Bangladesh, Diwali festival in Auckland, Wellington and Parliament of New Zealand in New Zealand.
Awards and Honour-
For his distinguish contributions to society he has also received numerous awards like- Sant Keshavdas Ratna Samman-Government of Bihar, Parliamentary batch of Germany, Dr. Radha Krishnan Award, Avantika, New Delhi, Paharua Samman, Dr. S.S. Foundation, Uttar Pradesh, Tabla Maestro, United Nations Y.O., India Cultural Ambassador, P.V.C.H.R. India/Asia, Awantika Samman - New Delhi, N.C.Z.C.C. Allahabad, India, National Scholarship, Govt. of India, C.C.R.T. Department of Culture, Govt. of India, Tabla Shiromani, Gopio, Mauritius / India, Citi Karnika ZEE T.V. Network, India, Dharohar Samman, Rotary International.
Honorable Member: Ex. Cultural Forum of Bachpan Bachao Andolan, (B.B.A.) New Delhi. People Vigilance Committee on Human Rights, (PVCHR) Varanasi. Artists Against Child Labor (AACL) International. Music Institute of Benares U.S.A./INDIA. Kashi Vishwanath Sangeet Samaroh Varanasi, Ex- Misereor Germany, Holiwater New Zealand, Xertifix Germany, Sahana Iliya Germany.
Radio & TV: B.B.C. London -U.K., Channel 4 -New Zealand. National Radio-New Zealand, K.B.C.S. New York-U.S.A., All India Radio Doordarshan, India National Radio-Germany, Radio and Television Baden– Baden, Germany, SWR Germany, EPIC Channel India, ZTV India, ETV India, India TV, ZDF Germany as named few.
Prabhash Maharaj has been working as Visiting Professor in several most popular national and international Universities to create an understanding and honor for India and Indian Classical Music since 16 years till present. Few Universities names are as follows: Berkeley Music College (San Francisco) California State University Northridge-California, Santa Barbara University-California, Santa Barbara California, Loyola Marry Mount University (Los Angeles) California, San Diego City College (San Diego) California. Ochsenhausen State Music Academy, Ochsenhausen, University of Auckland, Auckland.
He has been honoured with two master degrees both in Music and Sociology with 6 gold medals, various scholarships and NET certificate by University Grant Commission (UGC) Government of India. Prabhash Maharaj has traveled regularly to perform to U.S.A., Australia, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, France, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Netherlands, Mexico, South America, Canada, Brunei Darussalam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Nepal, Oman, Dubai and Kuwait.