Rarities - Rare and unreleased recordings 1990-2015 A collection of song lyrics Dance Your Way to God At the Edge Mystic Poets of India Meditation Ragas Gaia’s Garden Ragas Relax Land of the Buddhas Om Shanti Buddha Moon Yoga Lounge Yoga Spirit Karma Circles Sacred Temples of India Yoga on Sacred Ground The Beloved Feng Shui Celtic Ragas Concert for India’s Environment DVD Chinmaya on Nightingale Records No Goal but the Path

I was born in 1954, in Kent, England, an area then accurately described as the ‘Garden of England’. Around our 400-year old farmhouse was a patchwork of hop gardens, apple orchards, wheat fields, woods and streams – a playground in which I could disappear for hours without my parents having any idea of where I was. (To dispel any notions that it was a true paradise, let me point out that this was rural Britain in the 50s and 60s – a repressed, depressed and tradition-bound culture that made being a rebellious Scorpio teenager a tough job!)

my first guitar in 1970

my first guitar in 1970

1970 was a turning point for me. I smoked my first whiffs of euphoria, hitchhiked to see Jimi Hendrix at the Isle of Wight Festival, and acquired my first guitar (a nylon string).

Over the next years of school and Art College, I mixed my love of painting with learning classical guitar and trying to copy the sound of my favourite folk musicians ‘Fairport Convention, The Incredible String Band and Planxty’. (The sound of my favourite progressive bands – Pink Floyd and Genesis was altogether beyond my abilities!).

India was always calling in those years, and in 1975 I took myself off on the hippy trail through Turkey and Afghanistan. Holed up in the mountains of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province surviving on fellow travellers generosity for months, having lost all my money, I got my first taste of the gentle rhythms of the East, where acceptance of whatever comes is more important than pushing your own goals. I also became a vegetarian (I have not lapsed) and started yoga.

my first sarod in 1986

my first sarod in 1986

It was my next trip East in 1979 that proved the decisive turning point in my life. At an all night concert in Delhi, I saw Ustad Amjad Ali Khan playing sarod and instantly fell in love with the instrument. On the same trip I fell in love with my first Osho sannyasin and started out on my journey with the infamous ‘Bhagwan’.

Returning to London, it took me four years before a sarod teacher appeared on the scene. Gurdev Singh (by chance Amjad’s leading disciple) found me an instrument and taught me over the next years.

Right from the start I seemed, mysteriously, to have some feel for Indian Classical music. I remember at Gurdev’s house, his fellow musicians sometimes putting their heads round the door to the back room where I was practising and saying, "Wah, I thought it must be an Indian playing not a gora (white man)!"

In 1988 I moved to the Osho Commune (now Osho Meditation Resort) in Pune, and studied sarod under Pandit Shekhar Borkar. I also began performing with some of the Commune musicians, people of diverse musical backgrounds blending Indian with Western music in the presence of Osho.

with Gopal and Lolita in Pune in 1988

with Gopal and Lolita in Pune in 1988

Two years later I recorded my first CD ‘Terra Incognita’ with some of them (including Prem Joshua and Ravi, both now well-known artists - photo below).

‘Tribal Gathering’ was released on Tao Music (today called New Earth Records).

with Ravi and Prem Joshua in 1991

with Ravi and Prem Joshua in 1991

During the 90s I lived in Munich, Amsterdam and Maui, Hawaii, returning each year to Pune for a few months.

with Karunesh and Shastro in Maui in 1997

with Karunesh and Shastro in Maui in 1997

I made a series of CDs for Nightingale Records in Germany and then rejoined New Earth Records in 1997 for ‘Celtic Ragas’ (with Vidroha Jamie), a CD that was later to bring me as close to fame as I am ever likely to get, when Paul McCartney fell in love with the CD and invited me to perform at his wedding in Ireland in 2002.

Celtic Ragas Band at Paul McCartney’s wedding

Celtic Ragas Band at Paul McCartney’s wedding

I formed the Celtic Ragas Band especially for the occasion. We assembled from all over the world for rehearsals in Wales and then flew off to our mystery destination (Paul’s people had kept all details secret and only instructed us to be at Manchester airport at a certain time!). He was very welcoming, danced along with us as we played and was kind enough to write afterwards a few words about us to use as a quote:

"I love the unique blend of Irish and Indian style music of Celtic Ragas. It has become one of my favourites."
Paul McCartney