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Jim Gelcer (musical director)

Jim Gelcer is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer. Jim has recorded and performed around the world with artists as diverse as Lee Aaron, The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, Reg Schwager, and Dave Young. He is at home in a wide range of genres — from rock, pop, and r&b, to jazz, classical, and world music. One of the few Canadian artists invited to perform at Bhakti Fest, Jim’s debut recording “Bhagavan” was hailed as one of the year’s best by U.S. radio shows In The Spirit and Full Lotus Kirtan. Yoga Chicago magazine called him “the perfect bhakti singer”. His style has been called “welcoming, inviting, and contagious”, and mashes up traditional Sanskrit chants with r&b, jazz, and rock. His second album, “Bhakti Groove Machine”, recorded with Grammy-nominated producer Ben Leinbach (Jai Uttal, Deva Premal, Snatam Kaur) has also met with widespread critical acclaim. Jim hosts an annual Kirtan/Yoga retreat in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Ted Quinlan

Ted Quinlan (guitarist, writer, educator) is respected as one of Canada’s most multi-faceted jazz musicians, highly skilled as a solo jazz guitarist, session player, writer, and dedicated educator. He is a sought-after sideman, frequently appearing with the “who’s who” of Canadian jazz artists on concert stages, in clubs, and in jazz festivals from coast-to-coast. Throughout his abiding career, he has performed with some of the biggest international jazz stars including Freddie Baker, Chet Baker, Eddie Harris, Jimmy Smith, and Joey DeFrancesco. His recording credits are numerous, highlighted by performances on Doug Riley’s recording Con Alma and as one of six major Canadian jazz guitarists featured on Radioland Records’ compilation album A Tribute to Wes Montgomery. A dedicated jazz educator, Ted Quinlan is the long-time head of the Guitar Humber at Humber College, one of North America ’s most respected Jazz Studies institutions.

Bruce Cassidy

Bruce Cassidy studied Raja Yoga and Nada Yoga under his guru Rammurti Mishra (Shri Brahamananda Sarasvati) and was named Nadananda (colloquially; cosmic music) by him. Bruce also studied Zen with Roshi Philip Kapleau. Encouraged by his guru to play music for healing he formed a group, ‘The Body Electric’ while living in South Africa. The group attunes to the atmosphere present in the environment and plays to resolve and elevate inner feelings by means of musical performance.

His instrument of choice in this work is the EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument) of which he is acknowledged as a leading proponent. For the past 30 years he has taught sound current meditation and what he terms depth meditation. His musical interest and experience ranges from pop to orchestral, from classic jazz to the avant-garde.

Kevan Mckenzie

Kevan has played drums on hundreds of CD’s, TV shows, films, thousands of jingles and many tours all over the world. Some of his credits include James Taylor, Anne Murray, David Foster, Buffy Sainte- Marie, Ray Charles, Marc Jordan, Gene Simmons, Rob McConnell, Liza Minnelli, Amy Sky, Dan Hill, David Clayton-Thomas, and ABBA. He endorses Pearl Drums & Percussion, Sabian Cymbals, Regal Tip Drum Sticks and Aquarian Drum Heads. He has produced, written and recorded three international albums for the Somerset label (including a certified gold) and a new CD with renowned Canadian pianist/composer Jack Lenz as well as music for commercials and film at his home studio. He is a first-degree black belt in shotokan karate and an ardent student of yoga.

George Koller

George Koller has accumulated hundreds of wildly diverse performing and recording credits in his expansive musical career: The Shuffle Demons, Phil Woods, Peter Gabriel, Loreena McKennitt, Bruce Cockburn, Holly Cole, Ian Tyson, Marc Jordan to name only a few. A prolific composer and producer, yet recognized primarily as a bass player, George also plays a variety of instruments; many featured on his award-winning (HMV “fresh blood” grand prize) solo CD,”Music for Plants, Animals, and Humans”. He has performance and/or producer credits on on over 600 cds . George has toured for 11 years with Holly Cole. He has also toured and recorded with Ken Whiteley, Sharlene Wallace, Julie Michels, Joe Sealy, Carol Welsman, Valdy, and many others. He has also produced artists ( Eliana Cuevas, Laila Biali, Fern Lindzon, Julie Michels, Amanda Martinez, Patricia O’Callaghan, The Toronto Tabla Ensemble, and DK Ibomeka. Most recently, he has also produced music for Yoga, and Indian Classical music artists. His playing of Indian stringed Instruments: Sitar, Sarode, Tanpura, and the violin-like Esraj and Dilbruba are featured in the motion pictures “Such a long Journey” and “Possible Worlds”, and on Loreena McKennitt, Jane Siberry and Bruce Cockburn recordings. George was presented with the 2007 national jazz award for “bassist of the year” and is currently performing with his own quintet and in solo settings.

Kath Gillis

Kath Gillis can’t wait to be enjoying kirtan with everyone at Shri Fest. She is a “spirit-filled” musician since her teens in the 70’s. Coincidence led her to Kirtan where she found the joy of collaborative music-making and communal practice to be both exhilarating and relaxing, planting the seeds for great change in life.She’s performed with Jim Gelcer, Brenda McMorrow, Lea Longo, Waleed Abdulhamid, Ruth Finlay, Michael Moon, and many others in the world music genre.

Her musical background spans genres as broad ranging as rock, gospel, musical theatre, improvised jazz and West African percussion ensembles. Also a practitioner/student of meditation and consciousness studies, she finds that music and meditation are one and the same in life, and cannot be separated. She has found great joy in music as a healing art, running rhythm and percussion programs for stroke patients in Toronto hospitals. She plays piano, harmonium, and many genres of adapted cultural percussion originating in West Africa, Sudan, Egypt, Persia and Sufi traditions. With a busy corporate life, Kath’s music is her healing art.