Primary Instrument: Sitar
Neel Murgai Ensemble
Neel Murgai: sitar, vocals, daf Mat Maneri: viola Sameer Gupta: tabla Greg Heffernan: cello
“Music is a reflection of the times. This is our stimulus of vibrations into the global dialogue, a cross-cultural mélange only possible at this time: the Ancient Future Traditional.”
NME announces the release of their debut CD, Audionomic Stimulus Package!
Sitarist, overtone singer, frame drummer and composer Neel Murgai creates music that defies categorization. His unique global sound is rooted in his sitar studies with Pundit Krishna Bhatt, combined with modern and avant-guarde western music and other sounds from around the world. The Neel Murgai Ensemble is the realization of Neel’s many years of experimentation in Indian classical music, free improvisation, modern compositional techniques, mathematical rhythmic structures and droning overtone minimalism. This group of stellar musicians, features downtown improv wizard, Mat Maneri on viola, along with Sameer Gupta (Marc Cary’s Focus Trio) on tabla and Greg Heffernan (Paradox Trio) on cello. Together they create an Indo-chamber jazz with Indian melody and rhythm, orchestral textures and ecstatic flights of improvisational fancy.
Neel Murgai is a multi-instrumental performer, composer and teacher from New York City. His life long journey into the depth and beauty of sitar and Indian classical music began with Ravindra Goswami in Banaras, 14 years ago. For the past 8 years Neel has studied with his guru and mentor, Pundit Krishna Bhatt. His interest in music began at a young age with trombone and guitar. While obtaining a degree in Civil Engineering, Neel worked as a radio DJ, hosting an international music program. This fostered in him an abiding interest in music from around the world. He went on to live in India, immersing himself in the music and culture of his parent’s homeland. Upon returning to the U.S. Neel began a career in music. In addition to sitar, he has since learned to play daf (Persian frame drum) with Soheil Zolfonun and kanjira with V. Nagarajan in Chennai. He has studied overtone singing with the Buriyat performance group Uragsha and Harmonic Choir member, Timothy Hill. Neel has also learned Western composition with Edgar Grana. He is currently working on his Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College.
While dedicated to Indian classical music, Neel is also interested in creating an original music that is rooted in his many influences and studies. The Neel Murgai Ensemble is a product of many years of thought about the ideal instrumentation to advance his compositions. They have released a debut CD “Audionomic Stimulus Package”. Recently the NME have performed at The Stone and opened up for Pundit Krishna Bhatt accompanied by the great tabla maestro, Pundit Anindo Chatterjee in New York City.
Neel has toured around the world with the Bill T. Jones Dance Company, performing and collaborating in their multi-media show, “Blind Date”. Other artists Neel has worked with include Samir Chatterjee, Daniel Bernard Romain, Ellen Stewart, Laraaji, Yuerba Buena, Baba Israel, Raz Mesinai, Mission on Mars, Akim Funk Buddha, Loren Conners, Louis Bellogenis, Ted Mason and Cosmo Vinyl. He has performed at venues ranging from the Lincoln Center and Kennedy Center to jazz clubs such as the Blue Note and at festivals around the U.S including Art Wallah, Arts plosure, Masala! Mehndi! Masti! and many others.
Neel has composed music for numerous film, TV, video, theater and dance projects including the recent feature length documentary, “The Yes Men Fix the World”, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, and will soon be released on HBO. His music has been featured in the BBC series, “Holiday’s in the Danger Zone”, and TBS programs, “Women of the Ink”, and “Spotlights”.
In a way the star of the record is Neel Murgai. - Rambles, a cultural arts magazine. writing in review of the Haunted House album, Up in Flames.
Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students