The ensemble is led by Australian composer and saxophonist Matt Keegan who’s search for new experience and sounds first drew him to India in 2009. It was in the beautiful town of Santiniketan that he first met these wonderful West Bengali musicians and understood that a collaboration with colleagues from Australia could create something really special.
The Three Seas is fronted by Baul singer Raju Das, who’s full-hearted voice and radiant stage presence is accentuated by his mastery of the khamak and its danceable rhythms. The Bauls are a nomadic tribe with a rich cultural heritage and their own language, dance and musical style. Generations of Raju’s family have lovingly passed down these traditions with a deep emphasis on spirituality and a heartfelt focus on the vast energetic presence within the human body, as expressed through song and dance. Some of The Three Seas pieces are modern interpretations of ancient Baul songs that celebrate this spirit.
Darjeeling-born singer and multi-instrumentalist Deaoashish Mothey contributes soulful vocals and sound effects in a Himalayan style. He also plays an array of West Bengali stringed instruments including the dotora and esraj producing intricate and mesmerising riffs. Drummer Gaurab Chatterjee from Kolkata is a member of the popular Bengali rock band Lakkhichhara. He is also fluent in traditional West Bengali folk percussion beats and feels. Master bassist Steve Elphick introduces the deep grooves that underpin the energetic and uplifting musical alchemy of The Three Seas.
MATT KEEGAN – SAXOPHONE
Saxophonist Matt Keegan regularly performs throughout Australia and around the world. In 2011 he won the prestigious MCA Freedman Fellowship for jazz. As a project leader of 20 years experience, Keegan has produced and released 7 albums that feature his prolific work as a composer, arranger and soloist. He is currently the artistic director of the cross cultural ensemble The Three Seas a band that combines Australian jazz musicians with folk musicians from West Bengal, India. As a sideman Keegan is currently a member of bands including; The Phil Slater Quintet; the Steve Hunter Band; Garfish; Sarah Belkner; The Stu Hunter Band; and Elysian Fields. In composer mode he has been commissioned to write works for the Australian High Commission in Thailand; The Zephyr String Quartet; and Elysian Fields. He has also arranged the music for the horn section in projects led by artists including; Passenger; Emma Pask; Pat Powell; Ray Beadle; and The Voice.
RAJU DAS BAUL – VOCALS, KHAMAK
The Three Seas’ lead singer and khamak player Raju Das Baul has been singing and performing in the ancient Bengali tradition of Baul from the tender age of four years old. Trained initially by his father, Sridam Das Baul, Raju is currently a disciple of the internationally acclaimed Baul singer Sottonando Das Baul and is rapidly gaining recognition as a prodigy in this mystical performance art. Raju has already recorded a number of albums with other leading Baul musicians and has featured in a major television documentary on the Baul. When he is not touring the world with his music, Raju lives and teaches Baul singing in Shantiniketan, West Bengal.
GAURAB CHATTERJEE – DRUMS, DUBKI
Gaurab “Gaboo” Chatterjee is a renowned drummer based in Kolkata, India. His rock band, “Lakkhichhara”, is one of the most popular bands in Kolkata and the rest of Eastern India. Beyond his drumming, which encompasses rock and roll right through to traditional Baul percussion instruments like the dubki, Gaurab directs music for films. He made his debut as a music director in the Bengali film industry with the films “Kagojer Bou” and “Necklace”. He is also a sought after session musician who has worked and played with many high-profile musicians including iconic tabla maestro Bickram Ghosh.
DEOASHISH MOTHEY – LEAD VOCALS, DOTORA, ESRAJ, GUITAR
Deoashish Mothey is a singer and multi-instrumentalist who was raised in the Chamong tea garden of Kalimpong, Darjeeling, a lush green region of the North Eastern Himalayas. Deoashish studied music at Visva-Bharati University, Shantiniketan where he learnt Esraj (a bowed Indian classical instrument) with professor Buddha Dev Das and Vishawa Bharati Sangeet Brawn. He has also been greatly inspired by regional folk music from Bengal and Nepal and his fluency in the musical instruments and traditions of the region brings a fresh dimension to The Three Seas musical project. Deoashish is also a talented composer and regularly performs his own compositions on guitar, dotora, duggi and various percussion instruments. In recent years, Deoashish has devoted his time to his role as project coordinator and musical director of the Warnamala Project, an animated musical educational program aimed at encouraging children to learn the Nepali alphabet.
STEVE ELPHICK – ACOUSTIC BASS
ARIA award-winning jazz bassist Steve Elphick. One of Australia’s most in-demand bassists, Steve has had an illustrious career working and touring with luminaries such as Bernie McGann, Roger Frampton, Sandy Evans, MARA! and David Bowie.
RICHARD BELKNER – SOUND ENGINEER, CO-PRODUCER
Free Energy Device Studio head engineer/producer Richard Belkner (affectionately known as “Richie B”) has twenty years of experience producing and engineering records with leading Australian and international artists across all musical genres. His unrivalled ability to expertly combine analog and digital recording techniques and his quest to capture each musician’s sound and soul with unique clarity make recording with Belkner at the beautiful Free Energy Device Studio a joyful experience.