Performing live is what drives Ganesh Giri Jaya – it’s almost a mania. In the last five years, Ganesh has performed live over a thousand times, in a wide variety of situations. In each, he’s always been what he is: a groove player. Whether it’s a country two-beat, swing ballad, pop classic, funky groove, or a hard rock melee, it’s the way the music feels that is paramount. “Whatever style I play, I always try to let the song dictate my part, and adjust the feel to fit. I want the song to stand out.” It’s that surrender and dedication to musicality that have put Ganesh in such high demand.
Born in New Orleans, Ganesh began his music education in the public school system. Taking up the trumpet at age ten, drums at 14, voice at 16, and guitar at 18, he excelled in music from the first, being selected for the LMEA District Honor Band three times, and selected as a GMEA All-State Vocalist twice. In 1991, after two years of intensive study with Jeff Wilkinson and Dave Henderson, Ganesh attended PIT in Hollywood, CA., where he studied with Joe Porcaro, Ralph Humphreys, Chuck Flores, Efrain Toro, Casey Schurell, and Doane Perry.
Since then, Ganesh has performed and recorded across the country, from Portland to Panama City. He has an authentic command of a variety of styles, including Rock, Pop, R&B, Funk, Jazz, Blues, and Country. Opening for artists like Jimmy Buffet, Alan Jackson, and Hall & Oates, he’s as much at home in a stadium as a small night club. Over the last five years, Ganesh has performed and recorded with Arlo Guthrie, Peter Searcy, Francisco Vidal, Clay Cook, David Ryan Harris, Heritage Cherry, the Wrights, Sonya Vetra, Butterfly Stitch and many others.
In 1998 Ganesh Giri took up the practice of yoga. “Yoga changed my life. I finally found a way to be myself, and live from my heart.” In 2000, he was introduced to kirtan, a form of spiritual practice using melodic chanting, by his teacher, Swami Jaya Devi Bhagavati. In essence, kirtan is singing to the Divine. “Kirtan and yoga completely changed the way I approach music, and improved my performance skills considerably. It greatly enhanced the joy I get from playing.” Since then, Ganesh has worked to hone a new set of skills, guided by his beloved teacher Swami Jaya Devi, and his guru, Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati. He’s already performed and recorded with well-established kirtan wallas Girish, Arjuna (Dave) Stringer and Bhagavan Das, and is hard at work on his first solo kirtan recording.
Not that any of this has slowed Ganesh down. His performance schedule remains demanding, and he teaches yoga, leads kirtan every week, and freelances in many different capacities, playing both guitar and drums, and always singing. “The act of playing music brings me so much joy, I will continue to do it as long as I’m able.”