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About

Book Kalpana & Band for your next event or festival

Biography

  • Kalpana Rao Herself

    Kalpana Rao is a professional Jazz singer and vocal coach for Jazz, Pop & Rock. Born in Germany and raised in India, she lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland, which has been her home for over 30 years.
    Singing since the age of 4, Kalpana holds her listeners captive with her sensual tonality and multi-faceted voice; the roots of which are in her Indian upbringing and music.

    Although Kalpana completed her education in India with a Dental Degree from Mumbai, she moved to Switzerland and switched careers; seriously taking up her passion for music, by initially performing all over Switzerland, Germany and Austria with professional Pop & Rock bands, before finding her true calling in Jazz.

    In Switzerland she has performed with the local Jazz elite and travelled the country extensively ; with Roberto Bossard, K.T.Geier, Joell Reiff, Robert Mark, Beat Baumli, Pius Baschnagel, Laura Cesar, Giorgious Antoniou, Carlo Schöb, to name a few. She has also appeared as a guest with Wycliffe Gordon in Berne. In India she has performed with Louiz Banks, Braz Gonsalves, Sheldon D’Silva, Adrian D’Souza, Amit Heri, Muthu Kumar, Aman Mahajan, to name a few.

    For more Information about Kalpana as a Jazz singer and for booking her for Jazz gigs please click the following link : https://www.alljazzpromotion.ch/AJP.SBreeze.html

    She has done intensive studies in all genres of music, including three years at the Zurich University of the Arts (Dept of Jazz & Popular music), from where she received a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Music Pedagogy. She is currently attached to two youth music schools ; the music school of Knonaueramt Zurich and Winterthur & surroundings, where she teaches Jazz, Pop & Rock vocals.
    Her unmistakable touch is a reflection of a striving to blend cultures in a natural and subtle manner without losing their purity or beauty, and yet infusing it with her own personality.

    Being a serious practitioner of Yoga since 20 years it had always been her wish to bring the message of its principles accross to all through her music. So based on the Sanskrit Mantras and prayers taught to her by her grandmother she created this self-named genre MantraJazz Fusion and composed the album „Transformation“.
    The music reflects the duality of her name „Kalpana“ which is a Sanskrit word that means “creativity” and “imagination”. it speaks both of the inner eye and the outer vision, also suggesting „illusion“. The music is also a play between cultures, strongly depicting her own identity as a person and singer.

    And last but not least, apart from being a Jazz singer, having grown roots in Switzerland, and become a World Music/New Age artist, Kalpana strives to be an ambassadress for Indo-Western cultural relations through her music.

  • Album Biography

    Kalpana Rao is a professional Jazz singer and vocal coach for Jazz, Pop & Rock. Born in Germany and raised in India, she lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland. Having sung since she was 4 years old, Kalpana holds her listeners captive with her sensual tonality and multi-faceted voice; the roots of which are in her Indian upbringing and music.

    Her unmistakable touch is a reflection of a striving to blend cultures in a natural and subtle manner without losing their purity or beauty, and yet infusing it with her own personality.

    Being a serious practitioner of Yoga since 20 years it had always been her wish to bring the message of its principles accross to all through her music. So based on the Sanskrit Mantras and prayers taught to her by her grandmother she created this self-named genre MantraJazz Fusion and composed the album „Transformation“.

    The music reflects the duality of her name „Kalpana“ which is a Sanskrit word that means “creativity” and “imagination”. it speaks both of the inner eye and the outer vision, also suggesting „illusion“. The music is also a play between cultures, strongly depicting her own identity as a person and singer.

  • Worldmusik

    Kalpana Rao: Transformation.

    Mantra Jazz Fusion. Album launch:
    Moods jazz club, Zurich, 2. 2. 2020★★★★ ✩

     

    The singer and vocal pedagogue Kalpana Rao was born in Germany and raised in India. Today she lives and works in Zurich. Her music combines the rich tradition of religious Indian music with elements of Jazz, Pop and Rock. Kalpana Rao has a strong, flexible voice with a solid core and honey-like lustre, as well as a stage presence that reveals a strong personality. Her music is inseparable from Yoga, which she has practiced for twenty years. Inward focus and the message of mindfulness are fused into her songs, sung in Sanskrit and English. It is no coincidence that she calls her style “Mantrajazz Fusion” and her album after one of the seven original compositions “Transformation”. The music that Kalpana Rao plays with her quartet can put you in a trance with its suggestive uniformity, but it also makes you dance again with its beat and groove. The charismatic singer is supported by four experienced musicians: the drummer Massimo Buonanno, the Tabla player Muthu Kumar, the bass player Rodrigo Aravena and the pianist Aman Mahajan come from very different cultures and yet find a lingua franca together that is spiritual but not esoteric, down to earth but not earthy.

  • Weltmusik

    Kalpana Rao: Transformation.

    Mantrajazz Fusion. Plattentaufe:
    Jazzklub Moods im Schiffbau, Zürich, 2. 2.
    ★★★★✩

    Die Sängerin und Gesangspädagogin Kalpana Rao wurde in Deutsch- land geboren und wuchs in Indien auf. Heute lebt und arbeitet sie in Zürich. Ihre Musik verbindet die reiche Tradition der religiös geprägten indischen Musik mit Elementen von Jazz, Rock und Pop. Kalpana Rao verfügt über eine kräftige, bewegliche Stimme mit festem Kern und schimmerndem Schmelz sowie über eine Bühnenpräsenz, die eine starke Persönlichkeit verrät. Ihre Musik ist nicht zu trennen vom Yoga, das sie seit zwanzig Jahren praktiziert. Versenkung und Botschaft sind eins in ihren bald in Sanskrit, bald in Englisch gesungenen Mantras und erweiterten Gebetsformeln. Nicht zufällig nennt sie ihren Stil «Mantrajazz Fusion» und ihr Album nach einer der sieben Eigenkompositionen «Transformation». Die Musik, die Kalpana Rao mit ihrem Quartett spielt, kann einen in ihrer suggestiven Einförmigkeit in Trance versetzen, doch sie bringt einen mit ihrem Beat und Groove auch wieder zum Tanzen. Unterstützt wird die charismatische Sängerin von vier erfahrenen Musikern: Der Drummer und Produzent Massimo Buonanno, der Tablaspieler Muthu Kumar, der Bassist Rodrigo Aravena und der Keyboarder Aman Mahajan kommen aus ganz verschiedenen Kulturen und finden doch zusammen zu einer Lingua franca, die spirituell ist, aber nicht esoterisch, erdverbunden, aber nicht erdenschwer.

The Band

„Transformation“ MantraJazz Fusion

Kalpana Rao’s album, „Transformation „ is a powerful package of music entailing elements of Jazz, World & Pop, fused to form catchy melodies, underlined by strong, ethnic and modern, infectious rhythms. Based on the Sanskrit Mantras of her homeland India, and Jazz that has steered her musical life in Switzerland, her songs are partly English making the meaning of the Mantra tangible to all, subtly promoting the message of peace and mindfulness. Kalpana with her strong, sensually expressive voice and her prolific, international line-up bring together all their musical influences to form a unique, hip sound. Reaching out to a wide audience, this band holds the listeners captive, making one embark upon a musical journey that is calming & invigorating at the same time, inspiring one to groove, sing and let feelings flow freely.

Massimo Buonanno – drums / producer

Massimo Buonanno is counted as one of today’s most sought-after live and session drummers.
Massimo began playing drums at age 13. Known as a prodigy, by the age of 16, he was already in demand as a session musician in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Italy.

He has won the first prize in numerous drumming competitions; Swiss National Drum Contest, European Musician Contest; Drums & More Festival in Austria, Jeff Porcaro Tribute Contest, to name a few.
In 2005, Massimo attended The Drummer’s Collective, a world reknowned Drummer School in New York, on a full scholarship. He studied with several famous musicians such as Kim Plainfield, Ian Froman, and Marco Djordjevic. Graduating from the Berklee College of Music on a scholarship, Massimo was strongly influenced, among many others, by the likes of Dave Fiuczynski, Mark Walker, Dan Moretti, Oscar Stagnaro, who left an indellible mark on him, making his ambition to be the best drummer he can possibly be in a career focused on collaboration, experimentation and dedication to his craft.

At 34, Massimo Buonanno is an accomplished musician. His career achievements to date include more than 200 recordings. He is grateful and thrilled to have been asked to record and play for a variety of artists across the spectrum of music such as: Seven / Gregor Meyle / John Mayer / Alain Clark / Marc Broussard / Laith Al Deen / Lunik / Xavier Naidoo / RAD /Adrian Stern / Stefanie Heinzmann / The Voice / Band member of the Voice of Germany /RAD etc.

He has also appeared on TV with the superstar Robbie Williams @ the Swiss Sport Award and Italian superstar Eros Ramazzotti.
He has and is still touring worldwide with Swiss, German and international chart-toppers and released his second solo album at the end of 2017.
He also works as a producer at his own record label, Lucky Tiger Records, Switzerland.

Muthu Kumar – tabla / percussion

With over 20 years in the music industry, Muthu kumar has made a niche for himself as a tabla player/ percussionist par excellence.

Having studied under legends Ustad Allarakha and Ustad Zakir hussain, Muthu has travelled around the globe many times and performed on many prestigious stages and festivals.

He has accompanied the likes of AnupJalota, Alice Coltrane, Maynard Ferguson, John Barnes, Bill Laswell, Dana Gillespie, Bombay Jayashree, Grammy winner Ricky Kej, and Lucky Ali to name a few.

He is the founder of Rhythm Shala - a school for Indian percussions. Muthu is one of the pioneers in the field of Online Tabla learning with more than 50 students around the globe.

Muthu has collaborated with musicians around the world, across genres. He has recorded on numerous albums.
He is the founder of popular bands - Mystik Vibes and Atmic Vision

Muthu’s drum circles “beat hunt” are a much sought after stress buster act

Aman Mahajan – piano / keys

Aman Mahajan is a pianist, composer and improviser based in Bangalore, India, playing improvised music across a diversity of musical idioms. A Berklee college of Music alumnus, his current work is influenced by traditional and contemporary forms of music from around the world, often concept-driven, and inspired by a sense of unity and connection. He is also keenly interested in improvised music as a medium of interaction and exploration.

He has performed widely on the Indian music circuit, and in Europe and USA, at a number of music venues, concert halls and music festivals, including Jazzwerkstatt Graz (Austria, 2018), Jazz Utsav (New Delhi, 2017), EUROPAFest (Sinaia, 2015), Festival of Sacred Music (Thiruvaiyaru, 2015), Goa Jazz Festival (Goa, 2014), IndiEarth XChange (Madras, 2014), Kasauli Rhythm & Blues Festival (Kasauli, 2014), goMAD Festival (Ooty, 2013) and MAD Festival (Ooty, 2012).

Focussed on the development of contemporary improvised music in India, Mahajan also teaches music privately at his piano studio in Bangalore, and has been a returning faculty member at the Global Music Institute.

Rodrigo Aravena - bass / e-bass

Rodrigo was born in Santiago, Chile but grew up in Melbourne, Australia.

Rodrigo grew up in a musical family and was from quite a young age, constantly exposed to various styles of music. Following in the footsteps of his drumming father and older brother, his first instrument (and first love) was the drums. Then at age 15, and after experimenting on a few different instruments he settled for alto sax, and continued to play it all through high school.

At age 18 Rodrigo switched to bass and very quickly began playing on a freelance basis with various bands and ensembles, both in live and studio settings, and in a variety of genres such as flamenco, Latin (Cuban & Brazilian), rock, blues and reggae but particularly jazz and funk.

In 1993 Rodrigo enrolled at the Victorian College of The Arts (in Melbourne, Australia), where he did the Jazz course (Bachelor of Arts in Performance).

In Australia, Rodrigo toured nationally and internationally with Men At Work, Daniel Merriweather, Jenny Morris, Bardot, and with Ricky Martin on his ‘Jaleo’ Australian tour.

He also toured and performed with Jamie Oehlers, Sam Keevers, Ian Chaplin, James Muller, Bernie McGann, Scott Tinkler, Paul Grabowsky, Julien Wilson, Steve Magnusson, Steve Grant, Mark Fitzgibbon, Simon Barker, Andrew Gander, Richard Tedesco and Doug De Vries as well as, Gary Pinto, Jade MacRae, Alison Wedding, Nina Ferro, Hayley Clare and Nichaud Fitzgibbon.

And in Switzerland with Fai Baba, Steff La Cheffe, Lunik, Lo & Leduc , William White, Dodo, Heidi Happy, Brandy Butler, Evelinn Trouble, Lea Lu, Jo Elle, Emel, The Soul Maniacs, You&I, Eliana Burki, Chamber Soul, Guillermo Sorya, Leafar, Warp 5, Bergitta Victor, Lariba, Tanja Dankner, Tom Freund, Baum, Daniela Sarda (Danee Woo), Nicole Johänngten, The Dani Felber Big Band, The Luzern Jazz Orchestra, The Biasotto Symphony Orchestra and The Zürich Chamber Orchestra (Zürcher Kammerorchester).
He was a member of the William White Band for 7 years.

Rodrigo has played at the Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland); Edinburgh Jazz Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe (Scotland); Iceland Airwaves Music Festival (Iceland); Galway Arts Festival and Galway Jazz Festival (Ireland); Manila Jazz Festival (Philippines); Brecon Jazz Festival (Wales); Jambalaya Music Festival (New Zealand); Malta International Jazz & Rock Festival (Valetta, Malta); Évora Festival (Portugal);
Trans Musicales Festival (France); Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club (London); Southbridge Jazz Club (Singapore); The World Expo (Japan); Festival de Verão, Salvador (Brazil); Millennium Celebrations (Hong Kong); Live en Août Festival (New Caledonia), as well as gigs in China, Austria, Argentina, The Netherlands, the USA, Belgium, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, Peru, Hungary, Spain, Colombia, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Germany, Chile, and the Dominican Republic.

Notable gigs in Australia include: the Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney Festivals; Womadelaide; Woodford Festival; Bellingen Festival; Melbourne International Jazz Festival; Wangaratta Jazz Festival; North Coast Jazz Festival; Apollo Bay Festival; Queenscliff Music Festival; Melbourne & Adelaide Fringe Festivals and the Byron Bay Bluesfest.

In Switzerland: the Montreux Jazz Festival, Paléo Festival, Rock Oz' Arenes, St-Gallen Openair, Gurten Openair, Caprices Festival, Carabana Festival, Jazz a la Gare, M4Music, Das Zelt, Sounds of Glarus Festival, Stars in Town Openair, Brienzersee Rockfestival, Blue Balls Festival, Quellrock Festival, Soundcheck Festival, Estivale (Estavayer-le-Lac), Reeds Festival as well as multiple gigs in clubs all over Switzerland.

To date, Rodrigo’s compositions, arranging and bass playing feature in over 200 albums. Before he left Australia, he was also a member of the faculty at Monash University (Jazz course) where he taught, ran workshops and occasionally lectured.

Florian Reichle - drums

Grew up in the Zurich area, drummer, percussionist and beat maker Flo Reichle immersed himself in Switzerland's finest music scenes - Jazz, Brazilian, Afro and Beat-based-music. His searching open mind, energetic and dynamic playing helped establish his very own sound. As Jorge Rossy simply said: "Man, he's just great!".

Currently Flo is focusing on following bands:

THE BEAUTIFUL NOW, a producer duo along his musical brother Toni Schiavano. It's debut EP MOES gained international attention.

SWISS JAZZ ORCHESTRA, Switzerland's most renowned Jazz Big Band, that had collabos with Joshua Redman, Peter Erskine, Donny McCaslin and many more.

KAOS PROTOKOLL, a successful crossover jazz quartet with Simon Spiess, Luzi Schuler and Benedikt Wieland.

Flo has played and continues to perform clubs and festival gigs all over Europe, Asia, Africa and Brazil. He has worked with numerous artists from the United States, Brazil & South Africa. He co-produced Steff la Cheffe's No.1 album "Vögu zum Geburtstag", worked with Nemo (CH), Munir Hossn (BRA), Jneiro Jarel (US), BIGYUKI (JAP), Filewile (CH), Lo & Leduc (CH), Akil the MC (LA), Matt Welch (NYC), Ronny Graupe (GER), Lucas Niggli (CH), Joy Frempong (GHA) Rodrigo Botter Maio (BRA), singer/producer Dodo (CH), Gregoire Maret (NYC) and many more.