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yeshe


Yeshe is a multilingual singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist possessing the ability to ensure his music remains as fluid as the element of water. Yeshe has spent decades absorbing the musical ambiance and atmospheres of many diverse cultures around the world. In doing so, he has been able to shape and structure his muse into whatever ethnicity he has immersed himself into. His music bubbles with intricate rhythms and liquefied melodies that flow with a unique tranquility and peace. Yeshe's compositions submerge the listener into a warm Zen-like fluid of enlightenment. His compositions are indeed a rare musical style - a luminous liquid. It's no irony then that Yeshe's life began near two vital sources of water. He was born and raised near Dusseldorf, Germany- where the Ruhr River joins the Rhine. Yet at this juncture, where two rivers meet, there was also the confluence of cultures. The neighborhood where Yeshe spent his childhood was the home of many migrant workers from the local shipyards. The workers consisted of Germans, Africans and Turks. They surrounded young Yeshe with a unique collision of cultures, customs and music. Yeshe was always open to new experiences, and this 'confluence of culture' had an integral and profound influence on Yeshe and his music. He had an innate interest and curiosity in musical diversity. He had a thirst for new cultures. Yeshe became fascinated with music at a very young age. Initially he studied instruments such as: guitar, cello, drum kit, and performing as a soloist in his school choir. An early and important musical influence on him was his older brother whose love of soul, funk and reggae slowly dripped into Yeshe's mind. Yeshe was also mesmerized by the unique sounds emanating from the homes of his Turkish and African neighbors. As he explains, "I was an alien in my own surroundings, and by the time I heard African percussion, I was gone for good!" Yeshe was a young teenager when he had a chance encounter with his first musical mentor -Mustapha Tettey Addy. Addy was a master Ghanaian drummer and ethnomusicologist and Yeshe was enthralled by his creative drumming compositions. He began performing locally with Addy's percussion ensembles and by the age of sixteen, he knew performing locally wasn't going to be enough - Yeshe had to see the world! His voyage began! Yeshe's embarked on his global voyage at the age of only seventeen. He had ceased his formal schooling and began to travel. During this time, he performed with many different bands as a drummer, percussionist, bass player, and even background vocalist. His winters were spent in Africa where he studied music and culture and occasionally performed with various dance troupes. During the summers, Yeshe would return to Europe performing with many different acts in a wide array of styles such as; Reggae, Funk, Blues, Latin and South African Jive. It was during one of these summers that he would meet another one of his musical mentors. This mentor was none other than Reggae World singer Tefo Hlaele, who was a founding member of the world famous musical, Ipi N’tombi. Yeshe's trips to Africa were among the most influential experiences of his musical development. He learned to absorb the cascading tides of style from each culture. As a pearl embeds into an oyster, Yeshe was absorbing and learning each culture's music. Layer by layer, he was adding to his knowledge and ability to create beautiful music. He had become a pearl embedded. In the early 1980s Yeshe met Canadian musician Harry Manx, known for his blend of Blues, Folk, and Hindustani Classical music. Yeshe and Manx became good friends and worked and toured together with many different acts around the globe. Manx would have a tremendous and powerful influence on Yeshe's future musical development, eventually inspiring his solo career. In the mid 1980s Yeshe would leave Europe and Africa for a time to explore the music and cultures of Asia and the Pacific Islands. He would spend five years in Japan working as a session musician with several other Japanese and international artists. During this time, Yeshe traveled throughout Asia to absorb the various percussion styles of its many cultures. He was invited to study with the Peliatan Gamelan Orchestra in Bali, the Kodo Drummers of Sado Island in Japan, and the Samul Nori of South Korea. Yeshe had explored a new continent and expanded his musical experience by absorbing Asian Elements. By the mid 1990s, Yeshe had found a new place to call home in Australia and performed locally there with many bands. In addition, he continued to tour internationally with the likes of Harry Manx and Ganga Giri. While in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1996, Yeshe met American singer/songwriter Chris Berry of the band Panjea. Berry was a master mbira player that had already released many successful songs in Zimbabwe. It was this important meeting that sparked Yeshe's interest in the mbira. Yeshe became proficient on the mbira with the help of many teachers and friends, especially Garikayi Tirikoti, a well known mbira virtuoso. Yeshe says of Garikayi; "When I heard him play for the first time that was it! I would compare him to someone like Coltrane or Beethoven and I seldom left his sight after that when in Zimbabwe." Garikayi became Yeshe's main teacher and close friend and transformed him into talented mbira player. The mbira quickly became a centerpiece of Yeshe's music. By the year 2000, Yeshe had toured and recorded with numerous bands, but had never recorded his own songs. Yeshe states, “I'd really never planned on doing my own thing, it just sort of happened.” This would all change in 2003 when he recorded his first EP entitled Offspring. Harry Manx then called on Yeshe to be a support act for his Australian tour. Yeshe says, “After the successful tour fans were asking me for CDs and Harry encouraged me to put my songs together into an album.” Following the release of Offspring Yeshe formed a new band called World CitiZen and released his first full length CD, World CitiZen. The album was co-produced Yeshe and Manx on Manx’s Canadian based label, Dog My Cat Records. The release of World CitiZen was very successful and led to many positive reviews including CDBaby, which featured the album on their front page. CDBaby called the album “a true gem in our World Music category.” Enthusiastic reviews came from Rhythms Magazine, Australia's Faster and Louder, Soundroots, and a myriad of others. The Village Voice, a Canadian newspaper, said “Yeshe's own singular voice was supple, like worn leather, and made for an earthy counterpoint to the otherworldly sound of the mbira.” For Yeshe it was new music met the new millennium. Yeshe's music and performances have been featured on over twenty different albums, and he's played on every continent, and his music has received many awards and honors. He was a finalist in the New Recording Talent category of Australia's Dolphin Awards in 2004 for his song “Elegua.” In 2006, World CitiZen took second place in the Best African Album category and “Elegua” took second place as Best African Song at the Just Plain Folk Awards in California. In addition, World CitiZen reached the top 40 in the Nielson Soundscan system in summer 2006. In late 2008 Yeshe was a Top 10 Finalist in Musicoz.org's National Australian Independent Music Awards in the category of World/Folk, and the awards continue to flow as most recently he got #4 at the international "Unisong" songwriting contest and finally landed #1 in the "World" category @ the official Billboard World Song Contest. In the past few years Yeshe has started to work with another ethnic instrument, the Kamele Ngoni (Hunter's Harp.) This ten string instrument originates from Burkina Faso and Mali in Western Africa and is featured in three tracks on his latest release, Eye 4 Eye. The album features guest appearances by Harry Manx, Ganga Giri, Tefo Hlaele, Siaka Diarra as well as many other artists from around the globe. In 2008, Yeshe created his own indie label called World CitiZen Records. The new label is not only for his music but also for other artists and bands affiliated with him. One of these groups included in the new label is The Diarra Ngoni Project. This group features Kamele Ngoni based contemporary songs by Siaka and Aruna Diarra, from Burkina Faso. Yeshe will also be producer, engineer, drum programmer and bassist on the album. He plans to also produce Garikayi Tirikoti's next album which will be on the World CitiZen Records label. Today, Yeshe still tours in Australia and around the world, performing at many international festivals. Some of his favorite festivals are Parihaka in New Zealand, Glastonbury in England, and Sziget in Hungary. Yeshe has also co-founded two cultural centers in Ghana and Zimbabwe that were set up to teach western people about African music and culture. His music continues to grow without boundaries or limitations. He has made sure his music remains formless and shapeless, like water. His music knows no border, no obstacle. It is a luminous liquid yielding peace, healing and tranquility. Like water Yeshe has covered the globe, living on each continent, absorbing from it, and giving back to it. He is indeed a Zen-like 'world citizen.'

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Acoustic
 
 
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