Stephan Mikés 

 

 

 

 

   Stephan Mikes's musical talents became apparent at a an early age. At age 7 he began his  musical training with Maestro Carmelo of Italy and gave his first public performance at age 9. Discovering the guitar when he was 11, Stephan was playing professionally and teaching that instrument by the time he was 16. Around this time, Stephan first heard George Harrison's experimental Sitar work with the Beatles, and then Ravi Shankar's performances at Woodstock and elsewhere, and he discovered there was a new musical universe to be explored. Stephan knew he had to play the sitar, and after working a number of years as a producer and arranger for hire, he had his chance. Stephan was taken on as an apprentice to one of the greatest Sitar masters in the world, and he trained for an initial period of 10 years.

 

   Stephan arrived in South Beach in 1992, taking the island by storm,and was soon playing five nights a week hitting every major venue in town. This period inspired the first of his sitar jazz fusion albums, combining the exotic Eastern sound of his Sitar with the sultry melange of Afro-Cuban, Reggae, Haitian, and Latin Jazz he discovered in South Beach.

 

   After his second album was released in 1995, Stephan's composition "Medium Rara" was picked up by world music label Putumayo Records, and his music has now been released in over 100 countries, with unit sales in six figures. He has performed in concert halls like the Wang Center in Boston and The Kravis Center in Palm Beach on the East coast and the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco on the West coast, and has  been featured at hundreds of music and arts festivals across the US. Stephan has been invited to accompany onstage Classical Master Ravi Shankar and pop icons like Donovan and Cheap Trick, and in the world of Latin Music, the sound of Stephan's sitar has been used on recordings by Carlos Ponce and Emilio Estefan.

 

   Locally, Stephan has been twice honored by the Miami New Times, as Best Acoustic Performer and Best Solo Performer. Ft Lauderdale's XS Magazine named him Best New Age Musician. WLRN Television filmed

a full length feature on Stephan's music, and he has performed live on WLRN radio many times, and at other NPR affiliates around the country. 

 

  To this date, Stephan has released over 10 recordings of different styles, some his modern sitar world jazz, some classical sitar music and also music for massage and meditation. Current works in progress include an album of Sitar Electronica, an album of sitar fused with traditional Latin forms, and more music for massage and meditation. 

 

 Media Quotes-       "The sitar is back and one of it's new contemporary masters is Stephan Mikés." -

                                  The Palm Beach Post

 

                                   " A master at blending cool Indian-inspired ragas with upbeat instrumental world jazz."

                                   20th Century Guitar Magazine

 

 

 

 

                                   "Playing sitar is extremely challenging, Playing one as well as he does is as rare as a rabbi 

                                    in the Himalaya Mountains." -New Times Miami

 

 Celebrity quotes-  "I love the way he blends the music of East and West." -  Ivana Trump

 

                                  "Sounds just like the Buddha Bar in Paris." - George Hamilton

 

                                  "He's a Genius."   - Shirley Jones, Broadway, TV and Movie Star   

 

Stephan's corporate clients include Armani, AirBus International, Bank of America, GlaxoSmithKline, International Polo Assn, MetLife, Merck, J.P.Morgan, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Walt Disney World, General  Motors, Trump International Resorts and more. 

 

 

 All of my earliest memories are about music and sound and the strange and powerful effect they had on me. I remember the very first time I saw a guitar, hanging on a neighbor's living room wall, I was about 5 years old, and I felt a floating sensation in my belly.

 

   When I was 7 my parents bought a custom built accordion for me, and under the fine tutelage of Maestro Carmelo of Italy I played my first recital at 9. (Later in life, I traded that accordion for an amp stack that was taller than me!)

 

    At 11 I got my first guitar and dived into the music of the time- Yardbirds, Stones, Beatles, Animals,Cream,Donovan, and then Traffic and Zep and Everybody from California! OMG! and ....by the time Sgt. Pepper came out, I started getting interested in Eastern philosophy and when George and Ravi did the Concert for Bangladesh, I knew I had to play the Sitar.

 

  Fast forward to the 1980's and I am running a recording studio producing mostly feminist folk artists- I still have no sitar, I feel that the desire is too strong to resist any longer, and I dedicate myself to finding a sitar and possibly learning how to play, a task much harder in the 1980's before the days of the internet.

 

    To finish the story quickly, after a long and arduous search, I finally find a sitar, and soon after, a lifelong teacher, almost like a Jedi Master of Music, whom I still learn from to this day after 26 years. He initiates me into the mysteries of the music of his masters, Ali Akbar Khan, and Ravi Shankar . After a period of training I go on to perform all over the US at hundreds of festivals for millions of people, and release over 10 recordings of contemporary original compositions and traditional music, released in over 100 countries.

 

 To top it all off, I have also had the opportunity to go on 3 trips to India to meet and consult with the sitarmakers all over the country. Wait, there's more.. then I get an invitation from the grand master Ravi Shankar himself, to come and accompany him at a formal concert! And then a call from Donovan and Cheap Trick to recreate the Sgt. Pepper album live onstage! and then... well there's more, but I said quickly, so that's the short story.

  • NEW TIMES MIAMI- "BEST ACOUSTIC PERFORMER"
  • NEW TIMES MIAMI- "BEST SOLO MUSICIAN"
  • XS MAGAZINE-        "BEST NEW AGE MUSICIAN"
  • FLA JAMMY NOMINATION-"BEST WORLD BEAT CD"
  • FLA JAMMY NOMINATION-"BEST SOLO INSTRUMENTAL CD"

 

  • PERFORMED WITH LEADERS IN CLASSICAL MUSIC SUCH AS
     -RAVI SHANKAR                                                         
  •  -ANOUSHKA SHANKAR                                                                       
  •  -SACH DEV                                                                                 
  • PERFORMED WITH TOP MUSICAL ICONS SUCH AS
    -CHEAP TRICK                                                                            
  • -DONOVAN                                                                                
  • -HOT BUTTERED RUM                                                                        
  • -TEA LEAF GREEN                                                                          
  • -EKOOSTIC HOOKAH 

 

  • PERFORMED AT PRESTIGIOUS VENUES LIKE
      -THE WANG CENTER, BOSTON                                                               
  •  -THE KRAVIS CENTER, PALM BEACH                                                         
  •  -THE COLONY THEATER, MIAMI BEACH                                                       
  •  -VIZCAYA, MIAMI                                                                         
  •  -THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, SAN FRANCISCO                                               
  •  -THE HIBEL MUSEUM, PALM BEACH                                                           
  •  -NORTON SCULPTURE GARDENS, PALM BEACH                                                 
  •  -FAIRCHILD TROPICAL GARDENS, MIAMI                                                     
  •  -THE DEERING ESTATE, MIAMI                                                              
  •  -THE BILTMORE, MIAMI                                                                   
  •  -TROPICANA FIELD, ST. PETERSBURG                                                        
  •  -RUTH ECKERD HALL, CLEARWATER                                                           
  •  -DISNEY WORLD, ORLANDO                                                                 
  •  -THE RINGLING MUSEUM, SARASOTA

 Although many Westerners have been fascinated by the sitar, Stephan Mikes one of the few who have undergone the years of rigorous one-on-one training in classical Indian music necessary to do justice to this ancient instrument. As a primary student of sitar master Roop Verma for over 25 years, Stephan is part of a teaching lineage that goes back over 600 years and includes Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. He combines his knowledge of Eastern music with the influence of Latin, Middle Eastern, Afro-Cuban, and Carribean rhythms to create compositions which are unique and compelling.

 


P E R F O R M A N C E S 
    For over 20 years, Stephan Mikés has been delighing audiences and listeners around the world with his performances and compositions. In addition to being featured on international radio and tv programs, incuding a 30-minute PBS special entitled “Sitar Under the Stars: An East/West Fusion,”  Stephan has performed at hundreds of music and arts festivals across the United States to millions of listeners. 


    Mikés’ performances are also a sought-after commodity in the world of celebrity fundraisers and other special events. He has performed at events hosted or attended by such luminaries as Ivana, Ivanka and Donald Trump, Tommy Lee Jones,Lauren Hutton, Arlo Guthrie, the BeeGees, Dennis Hopper, George Hamilton, President Bill Clinton, to name a few -- in venues including the San Francisco Museum of Art, Wang Center for the Performing Arts in Boston, the Hibel Museum and Kravis Center in Palm Beach, Ruth Eckerd Hall in Tampa, and the Colony Theatre, the Biltmore, Vizcaya, and the Versace mansion in Miami. Music from his album The Good, The Bad and The Karmic was used on the soundtrack of a 30-minute commercial feature for Clientele Cosmetics hosted by soap star Hunter Tylo and the legendary vocalist and TV and movie star Shirley Jones, who honored Stephan with the comment: "He's a genius." 

 Other Musical and Media stars who have enjoyed Stephan's music at various events and venues across the country include Will Smith, Melanie, Dan Ackroyd, Marty Balin, Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

    In addition to his performances of original world jazz compositions, Stephan Mikés also presents concerts and workshops for healing and meditation at yoga studios and spiritual centers  -- the result of 30 years of study and practice in the ancient healing arts of Raja Yoga, Gyan Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Kirtan Yoga, and Nada Yoga, the yoga of sound, a tradition dating back to the 3rd century B.C. In addition to 25 years of studies with his primary teacher Acharya Roop Verma, Stephan has trained in techniques of Surat Shabd Yoga with Sant Darshan Singh,and additional years of training and practice with his own spiritual Guru in Raja Yoga.

 

M E D I A 
    Media in his adopted hometown of Miami have named Stephan “Best Solo Musician,” “Best Acoustic Performer,” and “Best New Age Artist.” He has shared the stage in a supporting role with such icons as Ravi and Anoushka Shankar and the late bansuri flute master Sachdev. In the world of rock and modern music, Stephan has performed with such greats as Cheap Trick, Donovan, the Mermen, Hot Buttered Rum, Tea Leaf Green, Ekoostic Hookah, and others. Stephan has done a wide range of studio session work for a number of rock and jazz projects (including several produced by Emilio Estefan), and an Irish Celtic release.   
   
D I S C O G R A P H Y 
     Stephan released his first album of original compositions for the sitar and flute, Before You See, in 1994 to much critical acclaim, followed by The Good the Bad and the Karmic in 1995, which also brought kudos from the critics and earned three Jammy nominations. Putumayo Records selected “Medim Rara” from this recording for inclusion on their hit international release, Putumayo presents: A World Instrumental Collection along with stellar artists such as Strunz &  Farah and his own late paramguru, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. 
    Dakini Beach, Stephan’s album of tunes influenced by South Florida’s laid back tropical vibe was released in 1999 folowed by the blues, jazz and triphop flavored Secret Songs of the Sitar Player in 2001, and the followup Secret Songs Volume 2 in 2006. Currently, Mikés is working on a new set of compositions influenced by his two years performing on Ocean Drive in South Beach -- dance beats with a rock flavor and a touch of Bollywood spice. 
   Stephan also has produced two CDs of traditional Indian music, Twilight: Evening Ragas and Serenity: Afternoon Ragas; Jewel of the Lotus: Sitar Meditations; and Sitar Christmas. 

H I S T O R Y
    Born in Chicago, Stephan Mikés’ musical training began at age 7 under the tutelage of Maestro Carmelo, virtuoso of the accordian from Italy. He began his guitar training at age 11 and by age 15 he was working as a teacher in the local music store of his new hometown of Somerset, Pennsylvania where his family had moved in the mid 60’s. Throughout the late 60’s and early 70’s, during high school and college, Stephan played in rock bands persuing his love of music while studying cultural anthropology, philosophy and journalism. 
    In the later 70’s, Stephan moved to South Florida to persue a full time career in music, spending several years exploring the musical influences of the various cultures and traditions represented such as Afro-Cuban, Latin, Reggae, Haitian Rara, Bahamian Goombay and South Beach trancedance. 
    “My music is kind of a microcosm of the different cultures in Miami rolled into one,” Stephan states. “I took all of their rhythmic and melodic influences, combined it with my classical Indian training, and that’s how the music came together.” 
    “I’ve always had a deep belief in the music,” he says. “My loftiest ideal, what I would like to do, is to change the way society thinks about music, and what they think music is for. Of all the things my teacher taught me, one of the most important wasn’t about music in the technical aspect. He taught me one of the most basic tenets: What is your intention when you create your music? Whatever the intention is behind your music, that’s what people are going to get, no matter what kind of music it is. It’s the intent behind the music that gives it the force to do whatever it does to people. Very few people understand that. The sitar lends a spiritual depth to the music which can take the listener as deep as he or she wants to go.” 

 

Stephan Mikes / Akasha Productions 5595 SW 80th Street, #C / Miami, FL 33143 USA / (305) 665-4104

 AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE ON THE INTERNET at CDBaby.com go to http://cdbaby.com/all/sitar20

e-mail address: stephanmikes@mac.com

 Before You See, the first album from Stephan Mikes received a good deal of critical acclaim, including . . . "For fans of psychedelic world music, this one's a must . . ." -- Dennis Walkling, JAM Magazine, 5-star (highest) rating "The sitar is back. And one of its new, contemporary masters is Stephan Mikes . . . (He) has created a compelling East-meets-West musical fusion using the sitar and other Eastern instrments along with pedal steel guitar and synthesizers. The sounds may be foreign but the compositional structures are familiar and include pop-like melodic hooks you can hang your head and heart on."

-- Scott Benarde, Critics' Choice, The Palm Beach Post ". . . The result is a collection of accessible originals, featuring simple, appealing melodies and rhythms, which at turns produce meditative or uplifting feelings."

-- Laura Wilansky, Cafe Society, XS Magazine, on The Good, the Bad and the Karmic: "By playing an instrument that developed well outside the melodic boundaries of Western music, Mikes may be the ultimate crossover artist. For proof, look no further than his third and most recent release, The Good, the Bad and the Karmic, on which Mikes successfully fuses the sitar's distinctive sound and winding Eastern melodies with a wide range of musical styles.'

-- Jim Murphy, New Times "With a slew of Eastern-style instruments, Mikes combines the best of all worlds and creates a masterpiece -- highlighted, of course, by the sitar. Soothing, spiritual and somewhat transcendental, The Good, the Bad and the Karmic was created to take you away and it will." -- DJ Justice, JAM Magazine "If you picture a film in which Tom Cruise molds the use of Eastern powers for romantic purposes -- 'Zen and the Art of Finding a Chick,' if you will -- this could be the soundtrack." -- Bob Karlovits, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

 Also, about Dakini Beach : "A master at blending cool Indian inspired ragas with upbeat instrumental world jazz, Mikes is at his best on Dakini Beach, his latest album . . ." -- Robert Silverstein, 20th Century Guitar

 And most recently: " 'Secret Songs' continues Mikes blend of the sitar with Western sounds and genres -- stringlike keyboards and lap steel guitars make appearances -- to build contemplative melodies that retain the mystery and exoticism of Indian music while also dabbling in jazz, blues and trip-hop." -- Rene Alvarez, Street magazine

 "A great chill-out album filled with world beat sitar sounds and subtle yet effective percussion and electronica, 'Secret Songs' is like an audio travelogue filled with magical, mystical sounds." -- 20th Century Guitar

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Upcoming Performances

Feb 27
Walt Disney World
Lake Buena Vista, FL
Mar 3
Walt Disney World
Lake Buena Vista, FL
Mar 4
Walt Disney World
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Patagonia Sunrise listen!

Meditate! Free Track Below

Take a few minutes and close your eyes while you let this sound envelop you completely, and if you have any negative 
vibes from your daily contact with the mundane world, they 
will melt away by the time the music is over.


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Musical Mind Eraser

The Last Dance