Multi-instrumentalist and composer, Prem Joshua – pioneer extraordinaire in the field of World Fusion Music – creates and explores forever new synthesis in sound, transporting the listener as he does beyond the borders of both East and West. Drawing inspiration from the deep well of the ancient music traditions of the Indian sub-continent, while remaining constantly in touch with the pulse of contemporary Western music scene, over the years Joshua has continued to refine his awesome talent for fusion, creating a sound both distinctive and unique. His music appeals so deeply because despite its contemporary feel, it still succeeds in keeping alive the wild ‘let-go’ and meditative silence of its cultural roots. This musical masala of Indian classical, jazz, funk, ethno and trance music is so masterly, yet playfully blended, that it has indeed a completely global appeal.
Listening to the music of Prem Joshua, whether on one of his many best-selling CDs, or live in concert, means being audience to one of the freshest world music experiences to be found on the planet. With confidence, originality and forever present virtuosity, his international band weave together threads so seemingly disparate into an exquisite organic musical whole, where even the impossible suddenly becomes possible.
Despite this breaking of boundaries, Prem Joshua’s ‘World of Fusion’ nevertheless retains a deep reverence towards its musical roots. One hears Indian temple chants with reminiscences of urban jazz; sufi poems set to reggae rhythms; unfettered and complex Indian classical music on sitar and tabla… and soaring melodies on the bamboo flute over driving trance loops sending the listener effortlessly spinning into dervish-like heights of ecstasy.
For his timely interpretation of the music traditions of the East, Prem Joshua has been especially honored in India. His music seems to touch the “mood of the moment” and one hears his music everywhere – from the Himalayas in the north, down to Delhi and Bombay, then south to the beaches of Goa and Kerala. The foremost Indian newspaper – the Times of India – has even lauded him as the ‘New Guru of World Fusion Music’.
In 2005 his band played live on ‘MTV Asia’. In 2006 he and his band gave a private performance for the President of Malaysia. In 2007 Joshua received the award “Best Film Music on Indian TV” at the Indian TV Awards in Mumbai. And more recently his band performed for the President of India, the Prime Minister of India, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and legendary Indian singers, Asha Bhonsle and Lata Mangeshkar.
Today he is the number one best-selling World Music artist in India. However, his music is not only appreciated in the East. It has also ‘come West’. Most notably, in 2007 his band gave a private concert for the UK’s Prince Edward at the Royal Palace in London – in 2008 the ‘BBC’ nominated him for their ‘World music listeners award’ – in 2009 the band performed at the ‘Big Chill Festival’ and in 2011 at the famous ‘Glastonbury Festival’. Always a passionate live performer, Joshua tours the globe with his band for almost 10 months each year and is as much at home on the stages of Bombay and Dubai as in the clubs of New York and Paris. For the last 15 years he has shared the stage with internationally acclaimed musicians from East and West, and has performed in India, the Middle East, South East Asia, USA, Japan, Israel and all over Europe.
About Prem Joshua
Born in Germany to a musical family, Joshua began learning the flute at the age of five, becoming a fine flautist while still a child. As a teenager he was soon performing in various Rock, Jazz and Fusion bands as a flute and saxophone player, always searching for new ways of expressing and expanding his music. However, a musical “discontent”, combined with his search for the spiritual, pulled him, perhaps inevitably, towards India – her culture and her music.
He remembers vividly hearing Indian music for the first time, age 16 – a crackly vinyl record of a sitar performance by Ravi Shankar: “I had never heard anything like this before,” Joshua recalls. “It was beyond my musical grasp and experience but was something of such immense beauty and depth. It felt unfamiliar and mysterious – yet at the same time like a remembrance of something I knew very well.”
This experience changed his way of perceiving music completely. Thus it was, that in the late seventies, at the age of 18, he left school, home, ended all his career plans, and traveled instead overland from Europe to India – following the irresistible pull that the East had now cast over him.
On his subsequent overland trips eastward he traveled extensively throughout countries such as Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. And in each place he became deeply involved with the indigenous folk music he found there, playing live with and learning from, local musicians everywhere. “I loved the roots of this music and felt an immediate connection; something that I had missed so much in Central European music,” he recalls.
When he finally reached India he had a sensation of knowing it; it felt like coming home! Along with the feeling of familiarity there seemed to be an inexplicable vibe of “at-ease-ness” in this country of mysteries, contradictions, colors and smells.
And this coming home to India was only the beginning of a much more all-encompassing journey… for on his travels he came across the enlightened mystic, Osho. In the presence of this man with a long white beard, eyes as deep as the ocean and a crazy sense of humor, Joshua came in touch with an altogether different kind of music; the art of the “inner music”… silence. While diving deep into this new world of ‘silence’ Joshua also found the time to learn Indian music from one of India’s finest teachers, sitar maestro Ustad Usman Khan. Years later after many years of study in India, in the early nineties when Osho had left his body, Joshua returned to the West. He and his music had totally changed – it was time to share the overflow within… and time for his music to really blossom.
To date he has released 14 albums under his name and played on countless studio recordings. He has traveled the world numerous times and plays to an ever increasing number of music lovers, inspiring them with a musical message that reaches beyond the borders of tradition, politics, religion and belief.