Born: December 27, 1942 Primary Instrument: Drums
Muruga Booker, also known as Steve Booker, Maruga, and Muruga is an American born, drummer and artist of Serbian decent. Muruga and his wife Shakti, son Aaron, and daughter Rani have lived a drummer's journey.
He was born Steven Bookvich in Detroit, Michigan on December 27th, 1942. His father Melvin Bookvich was a shoe maker who played accordion. Muruga first played the accordion before taking up drums as a pre-teen. Muruga studied drums under a Russian music teacher Misha Bischoff.
Muruga first professionally played drums with The Low Rocks in Detroit as Steve Booker. Under that name he achieved fame locally playing with not only The Low Rocks, but the Thunder Rocks, Ted Lucas and The Spike Drivers, and was renown for his long, driving drum solo's. He was on the same bill at venues like Detroit's Eastown Theatre and Grande Ballroom as Ted Nugent(2/23/70), Traffic(6/5/70 & 6/6/70), Jack Bruce(2/13/70 & 2/14/70) and others.
Through the 60's ,Steve Booker recorded with Jim and Jean on Changes 1964, & People World 1966, The Paul Winter Consort's Something in the Wind, and played drums at the original Woodstock Festival with Tim Hardin.
At Woodstock Steve Booker met Swami Satchidananda who gave him the name Muruga. After Woodstock Muruga studied under Swami Satchidananda and also recorded on a 1969 meditation record with him.
Through the 1970's Muruga recorded with Darius Brubeck, Gunter Hampel, Al Kooper, Ursa Major, and Weather Report on Sweet Nighter 1973.
In the the late 70' and early 80's Muruga lived in New York and played with David Peel on King of Punk and Death to Disco. In 1980 Muruga moved back to Detroit where he connected with funk legend George Clinton.
Muruga's band, Muruga and the Soda Jerks, were produced by George Clinton and he also recorded with George Clinton, Funkadelic, Bootsy Collins, and the P-Funk All Stars on the following records:
1985 - George Clinton - Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends 1984 - Muruga & The Soda Jerks - Boogy With You (45) 1983 - George Clinton - You Shouldnt-Nuf Bit Fish 1983 - P-Funk All Stars - Urban Dance Floor Guerillas 1982 - George Clinton - Computer Games 1982 - Godmama (w/Bootsy Collins) - Here 1981 - Funkadelic - The Electric Spanking of War Babies
Mid 1985 Muruga moved to Oakland California where he formed the band Muruga UFM which recorded Terroristic Activities 1990, and Rock the Planet 1993. Big Brother and the Holding Company guitarist James Gurley also played with Muruga UFM. It was during the early 90s that Muruga, Prem Das and others recorded the long selling Journey of the Drums. It was a pioneering drum album. As well, during that time, Muruga urged Merl Saunders to record Blues from the Rain Forest. Jerry Garcia came in and played on that Grammy nominated album. Muruga recorded on the Merl Saunders & The Rainforest Band's live CD Save the Planet So We'll Have Some Place to Boogy (1992) and Fiesta Amazonica (1998) as well as with Babatunde Olatunji and Sikiru on the CD Cosmic Rhythm Vibrations 1993 that was later remixed and distributed on Chesky records as Circle of Drums 2005.
Muruga continued to work with George Clinton and would play with the P-Funk whenever they performed in California and he recorded on George Clinton's Smell My Finger and The P-Funk All Stars' Dope Dogs.
Muruga moved back to the Detroit area by 2000 and currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since moving back to Michigan, Muruga has formed the band Muruga and The Global Village Ceremonial Band, which released the CD One Global Village featuring P-Funk vocalist Belita Woods and jazz clarinetist Perry Robinson . Muruga and The Global Village Ceremonial Band also played at several festivals including The Starwood Festival, Spirit Drum, Rhythm Fest 1 with Mickey Hart, Rhythm Fest 2 with Airto Moreira.
In 2004 with most of the same musician as Muruga and The Global Village Ceremonial Band, Muruga formed the band Free Funk. Free Funk has played a hand full of concerts in the Detroit area and recorded the self titled color vinyl lp titled Free Funk in 2005 which is being released by Qbico Records. Free Funk also features P-Funk's Belita Woods, Trey Lewd, and Louie Kabbabie.
Muruga is a Deacon of the Orthodox Christian faith and has been studying Iconography. Muruga also invented the Nada Drum which was sold through LP.