Originally a guitarist drawn to the improvised music of jazz and jam bands, through a chance encounter with the sitar Chris fell in love and departed Western music to follow the endless depths of North Indian classical music. Using the early 2000s era internet to buy a sitar and learn everything possible about Hindustani music online, Chris silently listened to the masters and practiced along in the isolated Bootheel region of Southeast Missouri, transposing the Ganges to the Mississippi.
After a few years Chris developed a new fascination with Persian music after spending time learning the history of the instrument with legendary sitar master Ustad Imrat Khan-sahab who happened to be a visiting professor of sitar at Washington University in St. Louis, 2 hours to the north. Ustadji was a source of great inspiration and encouragement for Chris’ music making, and though the short time spent with such a cultural icon was cherished, Chris heard a bigger calling than just the sitar.
While listening to multicultural collaborations between musicians, studying Hindustani music had primed his ear to discover that there were hidden commonalities between Middle Eastern and Asian music, and each featured the solo performance of a sitar-like instrument. To Chris these musical connections in the family of instruments known as lutes – the ancestors of the guitar – told a compelling story of human connection and the joy of cultural exchange along the Silk Road. So just as before, he ordered more instruments online and listened to recordings of master musicians while practicing along. Over the years Chris has been able to teach himself the traditional styles of the Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Chinese lutes; highlighting their uniqueness and celebrating the commonalities between them.
After a decade touring around Missouri and the Midwest; bringing his collection of instruments to museums, libraries, universities, and cultural gatherings of all kinds, Chris has found a new home in New York with hopes of sharing the music with larger audiences.