Sitar,     Tabla,    Vocal  
                Toronto, Hamilton, Niagara
 


 
















Guru Neeraj Prem


A musician with the capacity to mesmerize and mirror the intricacies of your soul, Guru Neeraj Prem is a rare musical entity.  He is a virtuoso sitarist and leader in the modern movement of Indian music as a sought after performer and teacher.  It seems his destiny sounded a solid course from the beginning, as music surrounded him since birth.  Born in India, from a young age he would sneak out of his room to listen to his father teach his students.  "I think that time was the beginning when I really imbibed music just by listening, watching and practicing", he says.

 

Guru Neeraj is often described as a painter at the Sitar, weaving musical images in the air with his dense, mystic and technically perfect playing.  The remarkably fresh music originating from the 'canvas' is attested to by his immense popularity among music lovers.  He is a composer who has mastered both classical technique and adroit improvisation and who, at the same time, is exceptionally comfortable as a performer too.

 

While he was growing up, Ustad Vilayat Khan was one of the most revered musicians in India and his son Ustad Shujaat Khan was the product of his mastery, becoming himself a highly respected sitarist.  Both were models for Neeraj's growing abilities.  As his talents were recognized early, it became an important task to find the proper teacher to deepen his budding genius.  In India there is a tradition where a teacher takes on a student, as if taking on another child.

 

Shagird (student) of USTAD SHUJAAT KHAN, Guru Neeraj belongs to the Ustad Vilayat Khan Gharana of Hindustani Music.  He has managed to in time, to develop a niche for himself in the music scenario as one of the most versatile Sitarists of our time.  He follows the 'GAYAKI ANG' (Vocals Style) of playing Sitar.  The fast Taan, and melodious and steady Alaap needs special mention.  His creativity and speed has enabled him to traverse through different 'raags' and 'taans' and churn out such compositions that has sent many audiences into dizzy raptures.

 

He has performed widely at various venues and auspicious occasions solo as well as with other great Masters Touring as far as Africa, Europe, North America, India and the list goes on.

 

As President of Ustad Vilayat Khan Music Foundation, New Delhi, he has been promoting upcoming and deserving artists by putting his talent to good (charitable) causes.  He has organized concerts in aid of The National Foundation for Communal Harmony, an organization working under the wings of The Ministry of Home Affairs for the Children affected by the riots in India.

 

Since 2002 when Guru Neeraj immigrated to Canada, he has been engaged in various musical events which involve performances all over Ontario and as far as Washington and New York.  He has been actively involved with productions on television and radio.  Asian Television Network and Omni 2, are few of the many channels of television where he does weekly shows that not only entertains, but also educates and creates an awareness of traditional Indian classical music among his viewers.  McMaster radio is another medium where he does a weekly show educating and entertaining his listeners.  Through CBC radio, he has been sharing his work as well.  Believing in his work, he also runs the Raga Music School which caters to students in Toronto and surrounding areas as far as Hamilton.

 

Teaching and performing have similar roots, as both act as guides for others to experience music in its fullest light.  For Guru Neeraj, both are ways of sharing music with people, he says "sharing music is the only passion and mission of mine."

 

In Canada, Guru Neeraj has also been fortunate and honoured by various organizations.  He is on the Board of Directors for one of the frontline organizations in Hamilton for immigrant artists, Immigrant Culture and Arts Association (ICAA).  He has also been a member of the selection committee for Ontario Arts Council (OAC).  He has commissioned himself to the promotion, inculcation and sowing the seeds of classical and world music among the youth of today and virtually affected a renaissance of Indian Classical Music in the wake of our rendezvous with the new Millennium.  This has led him to associate closely with schools and young children at different levels and spheres.

 

Guru Neeraj's debut musical album, Sounds of India, which was recorded in both India and Canada, has been one of the best sellers in the music community and has also been awarded Dofasco Hamilton Music Awards for special instrumentalist of the year, and best cultural recording of the year in 2004 and His latest Music album (A Black and White Christmas) won the same award in 2012. Guru Neeraj  has also been honored by the prestigious PANDIT NIKHIL BANERJEE MUSIC AWARD by Sangeet Bhawan (Lucknow) for the year 2005. 

 

His ability to improvise accompanied by his masterful technical achievement makes his music current, as he is able to respond directly in the moment as a clear channel for musical expression.  There are virtually no limits for this musician.

 

Experiencing a performance by the acclaimed Guru Neeraj Prem is a sensual sound bath, seducing your soul to remember your passions and secret yearnings.  His music captivates and takes you places unimagined in the soundscapes of today.  There is no hesitation to his faith as he guides people to the deeper realms of romance and spiritual union.  Surrendering yourself to the sounds of Guru Neeraj Prem is a gift to your soul.

 

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