Kaveesh Maharaj: A Man With Music In His Heart
  Nerissa Hosein
February 2020

It’s not often that you come across someone wanting to bridge the cultural gap in music, but just sit down for five minutes with Kaveesh Maharaj and you will find that person. I had the pleasure of speaking with him one on one and I’m blown away by this young soul who is fighting that fight to fuse classical and modern day music with a passion.

Kaveesh has music in his blood. It’s not a liking he acquired but something he was born with. His grandmother and father are both singers so it was no surprise that he was born with music on the mind and in the heart.

Born in 1987, he grew up in a humble home in central Trinidad surrounded by his family and their strong cultural beliefs. He values family above all else and credits them for his urge to pursue his passion. At the tender age of two and a half years old Kaveesh was on his grandmother’s lap accompanying her as she sang at family functions and cultural events.

After primary school, he attended Couva East Secondary School where he was a typical teenager, juggling sports and academics while still accompanying his family in his spare time to perform. It was at Form six, during a cultural function at school, when he first performed on stage to his peers, that he remembers being bitten by the performance bug. From the moment he sang that first note and the crowd responded he knew that he wanted to perform professionally.

However he still attended the University of the West Indies and pursued a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a minor in Linguistics. He continued throughout his schooling to perform at functions, weddings and cultural shows. In 2007, while performing at the Anchorage Pop Rock Awards, he won the Best Keyboardist of the Year award. It was his first win in the industry.

After that, Kaveesh realised that he wanted to do something different with his talent. He did not want to go down the road of the typical chutney, rock, soca or Indian music star. He wanted to combine all these to make something new, something special and something that would appeal to a wider demographic.

With that in mind he decided to go abroad to study. He travelled to Chennai, India where he enrolled in the K.M. Music Conservatory. He was the first West Indian to study under the acclaimed A.R. Rahman, who is famous for his work on films such as Dil Se and Slumdog Millionaire. There Kaveesh studied Music Theory Production, Hindustani Classical Vocals and Opera music.

In 2015, with his training under his belt, he returned to Trinidad and started the band Kaveesh and the Band. He wanted his band to be known as a World Fusion band that merges the East, West, Classical and Alternative and his six band members agreed with his vision, each with his own experience in the music industry. They have all had time to get to know their crafts, including Ravi Maharaj a (a well-known producer), drummer Jonathan Otway, Narendra Maharaj on the flute and saxophone, Rajiv Ramlogan on piano and percussion and bass guitar by Rakesh Kalloo.  Kaveesh doesn’t want his band to just sound different, he truly wants his audience to feel different. He wants to make connections within persons to their higher selves and their spiritual beings.

Of course with any new endeavour there are a few setbacks. Trinbago is very set in its roots of chutney/soca so to get funding and recognition for something that does not fall squarely in that box has proven to be a bit difficult. The fear of the unknown is always great but Kaveesh is aiming high and not taking “No” for an answer.

Within the four years of its formation, the band has performed on several stages in Trinidad and Tobago, and has hosted three main concerts that he credits as being their biggest accomplishments to date.  Music on the Meadows Part One and Music on the Meadows Part Two have been praised by media for their successful fusion of classical Indian and film songs with Alternative music. Many talented artistes took part in the event including Gillian Noor, Stefan Roach and Nigel Rojas from one of the best known local bands Orange Sky. Rojas and Kaveesh have also worked together on their own collaboration called On The Moon. Another hit concert done in 2019 that featured the talented band was Passage to your Heart for Valentine’s Day. The event was held at Passage to Asia Restaurant and was a brilliant success! For 2020, the band’s Valentine’s Day concert will be entitled Expressions of Love: A Valentine’s Day Concert and held on Sunday 15th February 2020 at the Southern Academy of the Performing Arts. It’s an event not to be missed!

So, what’s next for the multi-talented band? More music, more stages and more barriers to take down. Kaveesh is determined to show the world that Trinidad and Tobago is more than just a soca, chutney and calypso country. He is determined to show that we have more to offer and to revitalize the alternative scene as well. He wants to keep performing and to produce and release his own album soon. Kaveesh is a man with a dream. He believes music is very much equated to romance, melody, spirituality and mysticality and won’t stop until he has made us all see through his eyes...


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All photos for this article were provided by Kierron Yip Ngow and KYN Photography

By: Nerissa Hosein | FEATURES | February 2020