Craig Pruess is one of the few session musicians, conductors and composers active in the UK music scene who has mastered and synthesized three great musical traditions of the world: Western classical and contemporary, Indian classical, and African music. His credits are extensive and impressive: two UK number one film scores for “Bend It Like Beckham” and “Bride & Prejudice”, plus art films, “The Mistress of Spices”, “What’s Cooking?” and “Bhaji on the Beach”. He has scored some of the most successful independent TV drama series in UK history (“Peak Practice” for ITV), and arranged and conducted orchestras for Massive Attack, Def Leppard, Bond and Sir Cliff Richard, including composing the number one UK chart hit single at the Millennium, “Two Worlds” (the double A side to Sir Cliff’s “The “Millennium Prayer” - a million seller in the UK).
As a session musician and Indian music consultant, Craig has played sitar on the Manic Street Preacher’s number one UK album “This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours” (on the track “Tsunami”). Craig has created the Indian music colors (playing sitar, tambura, swaramandala - zither) for the Johnny Depp, Tim Burton film “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, the Harry Potter film “The Goblet of Fire”, the Madonna film “The Next Best Thing”, the Heather Graham film “The Guru”, and most recently “Shoot on Sight” with Greta Scacchi. Other keyboard and sitar session work has included Elton John, Mike Oldfield, Katie Melua, Gareth Gates, Selena Jones, Joe Cocker and Japan.
Craig is an accredited yoga/meditation teacher for the international Art of Living Foundation, and regularly stages music/meditation concerts/experiences internationally. He has performed for the Dalai Lama, at the WOMAD Festival in the UK, Glastonbury Festival, and also for Prince Charles (an exclusive and private concert at the Prince’s home in 2004). His original ground-breaking albums “Sacred Chants of Shiva”, “Sacred Chants of Buddha” and “The 108 Sacred Names of Mother Divine” are sold in over 80 countries around the globe, with “Sacred Chants of Shiva”, especially, selling many millions in the Indian subcontinent.
Born and raised in Westchester County, New York, and playing music from a young age, he attended MIT studying physics and philosophy, and later traveled and became a full time member of the teaching staff at the East African Conservatoire of Music in Nairobi, Kenya (1971-1973), before coming and settling in England in March 1973. For his full professional biography and early background, see his Heaven on Earth Music website.
Besides being a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, record producer and seasoned arranger, Craig is also a sound designer and sound engineer with a great wealth of experience and technical expertise, which shows in all his unique and crystal clear recordings. Indian music is a very old and powerful tradition, with intricate knowledge of the connection between sound/vibration and the human body and emotions. Craig has also studied Ayur-Veda (the science of perfect health), and his approach to music and recording is a totally life integrating and life affirming undertaking.
"The 108 Sacred Names of Mother Divine - Sacred Chants of Devi" has come to be considered a landmark recording. Originally released in 2002, it has been embraced and used by some of the leading figures in the human development movement like Brandon Bays, Anthony Robbins and Sri Bhagvan at the Golden Temple in India (during the "21 Day Process"). These spacious Sanskrit chants create a warm, cosmic expansive mood -- perfect for yoga, meditation, body work, message, Reiki and/or profound healing. The pure and heartfelt voice of Ananda resonates directly to the heart. The sound landscape to compliment her voice is well crafted, but highly unusual in its combination of subtle, moving sounds: empty and yet full! There is the resonant drone instrument, the "tanpura", and the beautiful, glistening Indian zither, the "swaramandala", along with ethereal acoustic sounds of rubbed wine glasses, muted choir sustains, and resonant strings. The effect achieved is to never take the attention away from the steady, measured and deeply settling vibe of Ananda's vocal delivery. It is definitely "eyes closed" music - not recommended for playing while driving! (sounds like a government health warning!)
The album takes ambient world music to another level, making the heart of the Indian classical tradition easily accessible to all cultures and all musical tastes. Sanskrit is the root of all the Indo-European languages of the world and its sound has primordial resonance in the body, mind and to our inner core. These ancient chants of the Divine Mother are beautifully pronounced, this CD having been created by two experienced, Western "yogis". It is simply and powerfully "spiritual music" at its most purely intended.
Ananda, a visionary painter, has been a meditation teacher for over 30 years, and her beautiful Devi paintings are featured in the CD artwork cover and booklet. Born in Germany, she currently lives in Croatia with her husband, when not traveling the world teaching Art of Living advanced courses.
The Art of Living Foundation is a non-profit educational organisation, and one of the fastest growing NGOs (non-governmental organisations) in the world, dedicated to improving every aspect of human life on this planet. Effective programs include: prisoner rehabilitation, personal development courses, corporate sessions, poverty eradication in poor rural locations in Africa and India, natural health improvement schemes, meditation and yoga training, powerful breathing techniques for a more joyful stable and dynamic life, key post-traumatic relief work in places of natural disasters (also including 9-11), and youth training and women's empowerment programs.
Amazon.com comments: (where is has a five star rating)
"Hands down, this is one of the best CD's for renewal and relaxation. If your mind is filled with thoughts and you want to clear them, play this CD....." - Darlene Pina
"This is a beautiful CD." - Nancy Husari
"This was part of a Tony Robbins seminar I attended, and when used correctly can be so powerful! I love the healing sounds, it is soooo relaxing and calming to listen to." - J Mitchel
and more from Amazon.co.uk: (also five star rating)
"This is the latest in the "Sacred Chants" series from Craig Pruess (Sacred Chants of Shiva and Sacred Chants of Buddha) and it just gets better all the time. I came across this CD in a small shop in India and listening to the first 10 seconds of track one convinced me this was another classic from the master of sacred chants.
Turn down the lights, take the 'phone off the hook, light a stick of incense and sit back and relax... this CD is sheer bliss from start to finish and will have you drifting off to that special place you go when you think of heaven. High praise but definately not wasted on this wonderfully relaxing album." - Elizabeth Whiteman "Darshan"
"I first heard this album when doing a Karuna Reiki Practitioner course when track 1: Ganesh Invocation, was used to invoke Lord Ganesh as 'destroyer of ego, remover of obstacles' and I can highly recommend it. The Devi Prayer is also really beautiful, as is Lalitha Ashtotram: The 108 Sacred Names of Mother Divine. This CD is just over an hour long (about 67 minutes) and would suit meditation to connect with Ganesh and the Divine Mother energies. Ananda has a heavenly voice and Craig Pruess's music flows beautifully with an appropriate touch of Hindu sounds. Enjoy!"
(Please note: as far we know, none of the above people are our acquaintances, and their remarks were unsolicited, appearing on the Amazon site, where you can check them out.) =;-D