Karuna Kshetra was initiated in 2003 by German sax player Rainer Pusch and Carnatic vocalist Manickam Yogeswaran. Performing with different rhythm sections, the arrangements are based on South Indian Carnatic music. While improvising, Carnatic elements, original ragas and talas are incorporated, resulting in a fusion of Western jazz and Indian classical music. The band touring through India in September 2012 consists of Manickam Yogeswaran (vocals), Rainer Pusch (saxophone), Jigmee Dorjee Sherpa (guitar), Abhishek Mangla (bass) and Reuben Narain (drums).
Alongside famous Indo-jazz fusion projects with Louis Banks, Sivamani, Ranjit Barot and Dr. Mysor Manjunath; Rainer Push has been recording with A.R. Rahman and other producers in the Indian film industry.
Manickam Yogeswaran’s reputation is strongly linked to his performance in the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrik´s film "Eyes Wide Shut". Moreover, his eclectic range of styles includes traditional South Indian classical music (Tamil classics), multi-cultural collaborations with the band "Dissidenten" and the 16-strong voice choir "The Stout". In June 2012, Yogeswaran performed a song composed by Jocely Pook as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee.
Abhishek Mangla, the electric bass player and arranger from New Delhi, has experimented with an array of genres, such as Rock ‘n’ Roll, Indian fusion, Indian classical music, Pop/Blues, Blue Breakfast and Jazz/R’n’B.
Delhi-based Reuben Narain has been actively performing with a variety of bands such as Artistes Unlimited, Faridkot, Frequency and Café Turtle jazz trio. During the last years, he concentrated on his own band "Drift!!" and worked as a teacher at The Performers Collective.
Jigmee Dorjee Sherpa joined the only jazz band in Nepal – Cadenza – in 1999. In 2004, he started his own trio called the JCS trio. Later, he was invited to teach at Kathmadu Jazz conservatory and Nepal Music Center.
Information on the artists:
Rainer Pusch: He has worked as a freelance jazz musician for about 30 years and has focused on South Indian music since the mid-90s. After finishing his diploma at the Berklee College of Music in Boston (USA) with musicians like Horace Parlan and Art Farmer, he has been studying Carnatic music with S. Rajaram at the Kalakshetra College of Fine Arts in Chennai. Besides his studies in Carnatic music, he played with many Indian musicians such as Mumbai-based guitarists Keith and Karl Peters. Other Indo-jazz fusion projects included Louis Banks, Sivamani, Ranjit Barot and Dr. Mysor Manjunath. Pusch also recorded with A.R. Rahman and other producers in the Indian movie industry and played concerts with Ganesh & Kumaresh, Selva Ganesh and Dr. Balamuralikrishnan.
Manickam Yogeswaran: Known for singing in the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrik´s film "Eyes Wide Shut", he shows an eclectic range of styles, from the more traditional South Indian classical music of his group Tamil Classics, to the multi-cultural collaborations with the band "Dissidenten". Also known as Yoga, he is also a member of "The Shout", a 16-strong voice choir who serenaded the Royal Festival Hall's reopening as part of a 48-hour music marathon in June 2007 and the BBC Proms 2006. He has received acclaim for his appearances at festivals such as WOMAD, Glastonbury and Montreaux Jazz festival, and has worked with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Spitalfields Festival. Yogeswaran performed a song composed by Jocely Pook as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee.
Abhishek Mangla: He is an electric bass player from New Delhi who has studied jazz at the Conservatorium Van Amsterdam and with some of the finest bass players in India and abroad like Brennon Denfer (India), Inderneel Hariharan (India), Chris Tarry (Canada/New York), Charly Angenois (Holland), Jan Hollestelle (Holland), Tomas Merlo Pascual (Spain) and Bruno Raberg (Sweden/Boston). He has collaborated with an array of artists from different genres, like the Rock 'n' Roll band Parikrama, Indian fusion with bands like Advaita, Mrigya and Vedanta, Indian classical music with sarangi maestro Kamal Sabri Khan, Pop/Blues with Sajid Akbar, Blue Breakfast and Jazz/R'n'B with Brian Citro Trio, Syncopation, Drift, Adil and Vasundhara and Artistes Unlimited. Apart from playing bass, Abhishek is also an active arranger, writing music for fellow artists as well as composing for his own ensembles.
Reuben Narain: The Delhi based artist studied jazz drums at the Drummers Collective in New York and later was a scholar of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, which he concluded with a Bachelors of Music. He has worked with big names such as Artistes Unlimited, Faridkot, Frequency and Café Turtle jazz trio amongst others and has accompanied celebrated jazz artists such as Tyris Washington, Margos Hererra and Rory Stuart. Reuben is a band leader in his own right and is writing music for his trio "Drift!!" that hopes to release their self-titled album soon. The music of "Drift!!" is deeply influenced by work of artists such as Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and John Scofields. Reuben is also an active teacher. He has been teaching music theory and drum set at The Performers Collective for the last seven years. He currently holds the designation of Head- Academics and Facilities at the school.
Jigmee Dorjee Sherpa: He started playing guitar in his school days in Darjeeling and decided to turn his attention to Kathmandu in 1999, where he joined the only Jazz band in Nepal - Cadenza. In 2004, Jigme started his own trio called the JCS trio, which became famous for delivering some of the most electrifying performances Jazzmandu had witnessed (Jazzmandu 2008, 2009). Four years later, Jigme was invited to Kathmadu Jazz conservatory, where he tought music theory, improvisation, guitar ensembles, and tandem sessions. He was later invited to work with Nepal Music Center.