Born in Beirut Lebanon, Paul Livingstone is an international performing artist, composer and ensemble leader. In the creative tradition of North Indian classical music, Paul has been rigorously trained for the past 17 years in India and the US to play and improvise ragas (traditional melodic forms) on sitar. He studied under Amiya Dasgupta and Rajeev Taranath at the California Institute of the Arts where he earned his undergraduate & masters degrees in world music. Paul currently continues advanced Indian music studies under Rajeev Taranath and the living legend of sitar Pandit Ravi Shankar.
Paul has focused his studies on a variety of other world music traditions including Jazz, Persian, South Indian, Javanese Gamelan, African (Ghanian Ewe), Macedonian & Brazilian music. Paul plays a 9 string fretless guitar of his own design 'fretless 9' and has also developed a unique style of playing which blends Indian ragas with jazz among other diverse sources. Also evident in his music is the influence of Arabic, flamenco, folk, blues and rock & roll having imbibed this music thoroughly since his youth. Paul now plays a variety of guitars (including 9 & 11 string fretless) and 'world strings' including requinto jarocho (fretted and fretless) from Mexico, Macedonian tambura, Persian setar and Javanese ziter.
With concert performances around the US, Mexico, Malaysia, Spain and Iran, Paul has played with world music and jazz artists such as Swapan Chaudhuri, Rajeev Taranath, Geetha Bennett, John Bergamo, Glen Velez, Kenny Burrell, Hossien Alizadeh, Ali Jihad Racy, Poovalur Sriji, Pedro Eustache, Chitravina Ravi Kiran, Sandip Burman, Wadada Leo Smith, Prince Diabate and the Liän Ensemble. He has also performed and recorded with popular Los Angeles groups Ozomatli & Cypress Hill.
In Los Angeles, Paul has played at major performance venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Ford Amphitheater, Grand Performances at the California Plaza, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, Wilshire Ebell Theater, Japan American Theater, Cal Arts, UCLA, Occidental College, Cal Tech and USC.
Arohi... a term from Indian classical music means 'ascending melody'. Paul's latest cd Arohi, incorporates a unique variety of traditional and contemporary instruments from over 10 different cultures in a collection of original, creative world music pieces and improvisations. Paul performs regularly with his group Arohi Ensemble. The ensemble features flute virtuoso and world wind phenomenon Pedro Eustache from Venezuela, percussion wizard Leonice Shinneman on Afro-Indian percussion/drum set and bass dynamo Anand Bennett on 7 string electric mandocello & contrabass. Members of the group all play traditional and contemporary instruments that they have designed and redefined themselves. The Arohi Ensemble often includes guest artists such as explosive mridangam extraordinaire Poovalur Sriji and master veena player/vocalist Geetha Bennett from South India and guitar virtuoso Miroslav Tadic from the former Yugoslavia.
For the past 2 years Paul has collaborated in a number of unity concerts with the leading Persian classical Sufi music group in the US, the Liän Ensemble. He has recorded on the release of the new Liän cd, 'Light & Fire' and performed with them in concerts such as the 'World Festival of Sacred Music' and the 'Holiday Celebration' at the Music Center, which was broadcast on PBS.
Paul also founded a unique and innovative Indo/African ensemble called Tumbafé with master kora player and griot musician Prince Diabaté from Guinea, West Africa. Paul is featured on Prince's cd recording 'New Life'.
Paul's most recent recording project is a multi-lingual unity suite 'Salaam' recorded in collaboration with members of Los Angeles popular/world groups Ozomatli, Quetzal and Kan Zaman. Salaam utilizes Arab, American & Latino musical influences & musicians in an irreverent musical collusion with reggae, Indian, hip-hop & country musical styles.
Paul composed and performed the music for the award winning short film, 'Turbans' and also scored the first US/Indian cartoon, 'Swaroop' a Warner Brothers animation short for Cartoon Network. He has played for numerous major Hollywood films & for documentary film soundtracks for the Getty Museum & the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Teaching & Community
Paul is committed to making diverse forms of music available to people of all backgrounds in Los Angeles. Alongside a community of dedicated individuals Paul founded & is the Artistic Director of the Sangeet School of World Music in North East Los Angeles. Paul teaches classes in Indian and world music at the Sangeet School and also is on the faculty of Cal Arts.
Paul received the 'Artist in the Community' grant from the City of Los Angeles for three consecutive years for producing innovative and educational world music concerts & new music workshops such as the 'Raga Jazz Experience, Contemporary Applications of Indian Music'. He has produced free & low cost concerts of world music & dance events in schools, churches & community centers since 1993.
Paul teaches a class called 'World Drumming for Children' every week to kids ages 3-12 in the low-income community of Highland Park. The class helps youth in development of essential social & life skills such as teamwork, listening, language, respect & cultural diversity though drumming traditions & the rhythmic mnemonics of Indian, Cuban & Brazilian drumming.
Paul plays a modified Santa Cruz guitar, 6 and 11 string fretless Godin guitars. He uses D'Addario strings exclusively and SWR acoustic amplifiers.