“Classically trained but a fusioneer by nature, sitarist Sheema Mukherjee has played with trance troupe Transglobal Underground and folk radicals the Imagined Village among others. This solo debut (vinyl/MP4 only) draws from her palette with panache. Slash Sitar is a showboating rock thrash (air sitar, anyone?); Sikkim Girls comes drenched in Bollywood strings; Morning Celeste is a dreamy neoclassical raga; and the driving Little Dragon sounds as though John Lee Hooker had mastered the sitar. More unexpected are sweetly sung covers of Radiohead and Françoise Hardy and playful evocations of 60s pop (Mrs Moo) and sodden samosas on an English beach (Bit God). A charming, altogether singular creation.” – Neil Spencer 23rd August 2014 The Observer, Music
Sheema Mukherjee, established sitar player and composer; a regular in Transglobal Underground playing sitar and electric bass; a key member in The Imagined Village project; a formidable collaborator with internationally renowned artists from many genres.
Sheema Mukherjee absorbed North Indian classical music and the western tradition side-by-side, studying sitar and Indian classical music under the tutelage of her uncle, the Late Pandit Nikhil Banerjee and then with the Late Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Brought up between Britain and India, she has a rich background to draw on in her own compositions and collaborations. Sheema works across many styles and genres from eastern and western classical music to jazz, pop and dance music.
She has collaborated with internationally renowned artists such as Sir John Tavenor, Martin Carthy, Bobby Mcferrin, Boris Grebenshikov, Natacha Atlas, Noel Gallagher & Cornershop, Mercan Dede, the Bulgarian Folk singer Yanka Rupkina. Another significant collaboration is with UK saxophonist Courtney Pine and Sheema has been featured on his albums Back In The Day and Devotion and was a guest artist on the ‘On Track’ tour – a project for the UK Commonwealth Games.
Sheema has toured the world with a variety of ensembles and key performances include The World Music Festival (Chicago), Montreux Jazz Festival and the Olympia-Halle (Munich), supporting Jimmy Page and Robert Plant throughout their European tour (1998), the Olympics Arts Festival for Sydney 2000 and also makes regular appearances at WOMAD (UK) with her own ensembles.
A versatile and creative musician, Sheema Mukherjee is evolving both as a composer and as a collaborator. Recent work has included an Indian Classical performance for Elton John’s Black Tie & Tiara Ball, an improvisation with Australian recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey in Westminster Abbey for The Queen on Commonwealth Day, and a creative development role in composition and song writing in Beijing, Hong Kong and Gateshead as part of the PRS Foundation and Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong Creative Exchange Project. Larger scale work has included composition for full orchestra, for theatre, including Wuthering Heights (Tamasha), The Cornershop Project (Black Country Touring & Foursight), West Yorkshire Playhouse (Northern Exposure).
In addition to her composition and live work, Sheema is a rigorous and disciplined teacher and has conducted many workshops in improvisation and composition as well as classes focusing on her instruments (both eastern and western) in the UK and abroad.