THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE KARMIC Eight pieces, approximately 55 minutes; sitar, live percussion, synthesizer, pan pipes, shakuhachi, flute, guitar, African talking drum, pedal steel guitar, lap steel guitar. African, Mideastern, Latin, Asian and Caribbean rhythms. A wide variety of tempos and styles -- two long, meditative pieces, also some upbeat, "jazzier" pieces.
"By playing an instrument that developed well outside the melodic boundaries of Western music, Mikés may be the ultimate crossover artist. For proof, look no further than his third and most recent release, The Good, the Bad and the Karmic, on which Mikés successfully fuses the sitar's distinctive sound and winding Eastern melodies with a wide range of musical styles."
-- Jim Murphy, New Times
"With a slew of Eastern-style instruments, Mikés combines the best of all worlds and creates a masterpiece -- highlighted, of course, by the sitar. Soothing, spiritual and somewhat transcendental,
The Good, the Bad and the Karmic was created to take you away and it will."
-- DJ Justice, JAM Magazine
"If you picture a film in which Tom Cruise molds the use of Eastern powers for romantic purposes -- "Zen and the Art of Finding a Chick,' if you will -- this could be the soundtrack."
-- Bob Karlovits, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Stephan Mikes: World music that combines the language of classic Indian sitar with Hatian, Africa, Caribbean and Latin rhythms characterizing the South Beach area in Miami.Original, accessible, yet profound and spiritual music that crosses boundaries to deliver transcendence!
Although many Westerners have been fascinated by the sitar, Stephan Mikés is one of the few who have undergone the years of rigorous one-on-one training in classical Indian music necessary to do justice to this ancient instrument. As a primary student of sitar master Roop Verma, Stephan is part of a teaching lineage that goes back over 600 years and includes Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. He combines his knowledge of Eastern music with the influence of Latin, Middle Eastern, Afro-Cuban, and Caribbean rhythms to create compositions which are unique and compelling. In addition to the sitar, Mikés is proficient on guitar, zither, mandolin, lap steel guitar and various types of synthesizers. Since 1986, Stephan has been performing and perfecting his own distinctive technique on the sitar. He has released two highly-acclaimed CDs, Before You See and The Good, the Bad and the Karmic on the independent Akasha label, and his third project, Dakini Beach, was released in February 1999. Putumayo Records included Medium Rara from The Good, the Bad and the Karmic on their 1996 international release, Putumayo Presents: A World Instrumental Collection alongside such major label world music artists as Ali Akbar Khan, Strunz & Farah, Sharon Shannon and David Hewitt. Mikés was nominated in three categories for the Florida music industry's "JAMMY" Awards: Specialty Instrumental, World Beat, and Best Independent Release for The Good, the Bad and the Karmic. Miami's New Times annual "Best of Miami" issue named Stephan "Best Solo Musician," and in the XS Magazine annual guide to Broward and Palm Beach Counties, he was voted "Best New Age Artist." Stephan has been featured on many local TV affiliates in the southeast and southwest Florida markets. He also appeared as a guest on Family Channel International's show Casa Club Magazine, which airs in Europe and South America. A PBS Special about Stephan and his music, entitled "Sitar Under the Stars: An East/West Fusion" aired for the first time in October 1997 and continues to be shown periodically. In 1996 he was commissioned to compose and perform a piece for Momentum Dance Company, and he also composed, arranged and recorded a soundtrack for "Growing Older," a project produced by WLRN-TV. Stephan has also done studio session work for several rock and jazz projects, and even an Irish Celtic release. One of the few world music artists to transcend traditional boundaries, Stephan Mikés performs for a wide variety of events. He performed last spring at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for a fundraiser sponsored by Giorgio Armani. In April 1997, he performed in Boston for the Giorgio Armani Gala at the Wang Center for the Performing Arts. In August 1996, Mikés played for President Clinton's 50th Birthday Celebration, connected via satellite from the Biltmore in Coral Gables. He has been the featured musician at several black tie events sponsored by Ivana Trump, and has played for prestigious gatherings at places such as Kravis Center, Norton Sculpture Gardens and the Hibel Museum in Palm Beach, Vizcaya in Miami, and the Colony Theatre in Miami Beach. Stephan has also performed at most of the major jazz and rock clubs in South Florida, including Tobacco Road, where he plays periodically and opened for the surf-rocking Mermen. Most recently, Stephan has enjoyed enormous success as a featured musician for many top-rated art festivals throughout Florida and the US. A native of Chicago, Stephan Mikés' musical training began at age seven with the accordion, moving on to guitar at age eleven. His family then moved to Pennsylvania where he played with a number of rock bands during the late '60s. He attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, majoring in philosophy and anthropology. Having been introduced to the sitar through the Beatles back in the sixties, Stephan put away his guitar in the early eighties and found himself in a yoga class where he met his sitar master, Roop Verma, a student of both Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan. For the next six years, Stephan studied and learned classical Indian sitar. Upon moving to Miami, he absorbed the influences of the Haitian, African, Caribbean and Latin rhythms which characterize the South Beach area. "My music is kind of a microcosm of the different cultures in Miami rolled into one," Stephan states. "I took all of their rhythmic and melodic influences, combined it with my classical Indian training, and that's how the music came together." "I've always had a deep belief in the music," he says. "My loftiest ideal, what I would like to do, is to change the way society thinks about music, and what they think music is for. Of all the things my teacher taught me, one of the most important wasn't about music in the technical aspect. He taught me one of the most basic tenets: What is your intention when you create your music? Whatever the intention is behind your music, that's what people are going to get, no matter what kind of music it is. It's the intent behind the music that gives it the force to do whatever it does to people. Very few people understand that. The sitar lends a spiritual depth to the music which can take the listener as deep as he or she wants to go."