Pakistani composer combining the beauty and grace of the ragas with contemporary sounds and grooves.
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Combining the beauty and grace of the ragas with contemporary sounds and grooves, Pakistani composer Abbas Premjee’s music spans many genres, from rock and jazz to world and classical. Raised in Karachi, Abbas moved to the US at 16, where he cut his teeth in a variety of rock and jazz bands and developed his love of classical guitar. He completed his Bachelors degree in Music Theory and Composition at Loyola Marymount University, going on to achieve a Masters degree in Classical Guitar from Southern Methodist University, where he studied under Robert Guthrie. On returning to Pakistan a few years later, Abbas opened a recording studio and production house, working with local talent and producing music for TV. In the process of reconnecting with his roots, Abbas discovered Indian Classical music and took up the Mohan veena – a modern hybrid between a guitar and a sitar – taking instruction from legendary sitar player, Ustad Rais Khan. Featuring collaborations with some of Pakistan’s finest musical talent, Abbas’ 2008 debut Elements introduced listeners to the subtleties of jazz and classical guitar built on ragas and drones. It was followed in 2011 with the release of Crescent Moon, which saw Abbas foregrounding the Mohan veena. In 2009, Abbas returned to the United States and has since taken up residence in Irvine, CA, where he is active as a composer for media, a teacher and a performer on the Mohan veena.