Craig composes the music score for Gurinder Chadha's new feature film, "It's a Wonderful Afterlife":
The original music score for this current film release is a varied mix of Stravinsky-esque orchestral moments, coupled with Ealing comedy styles, and then sprinkled with Craig's trademark Indo-fusion pieces and even some "sacred chants" moments. There is a lot of music driving the film, best described as a "romantic comedy about reincarnation, with a supernatural twist". Released in the UK and India during May 2010, Craig traveled to Lithuania in September 2009 and conducted his orchestral score there with the St Kristofers Chamber Orchestra in Vilnius. Wonderful players! Craig mixed the music score in surround sound at his own Heaven on Earth Music studios in Wiltshire. Previously, Craig scored the original music for most of Gurinder Chadha's films, including "Bend It Like Beckham", "Bride & Prejudice", "What's Cooking?", "Bhaji on the Beach" and "Rich Deceiver" (for the BBC). The collaboration is very different this time, and the film is quite whacky and "out-of-the box"!
High profile UK drama series with Craig's music score gets top viewing figures:
A new prime-time BBC-TV 1 drama series has been aired during March 2010 -- "Five Days", with an intricate and enigmatic score from Craig. 7.4 million viewers in the UK tuned into this mystery thriller set in Yorkshire, England. Five one hour episodes aired over five consecutive days, by award winning script writer, Gwyneth Hughes. Directors Toby Haines and Peter Hoar combined with a brilliant cast to create a very atmospheric and thought-provoking programme. Caroline Skinner producing. Craig featured a well known Glastonbury harpist, John Dalton, in the tapestry-type music score for the programme, recorded at Heaven on Earth Music Studios during November and December 2009.
The Ganda Foundation is launched:
The Ganda Boys have launched their charitable organisation: The Ganda Foundation -www.gandafoundation.com
Craig traveled to Kenya and Uganda in October 2009 and gave concerts for the UN's "Stand Up Against Poverty Campaign", in conjunction with the "Hands Up For Lamu" project in Eastern Kenya, inspired by Art of Living members: www.hands-up-lamu.org. While in Uganda, Craig visited the Kawolo Hospital and Lugazi School outside of Kampala, and filmed the Ganda Foundation's work at these locations (see Ganda Foundation website for viewing the films). Please donate generously to help promote this work. The Ganda Boys are using their musical skills and public profile to promote this work, and while Craig was in Kampala, he was interviewed on New Vision, Uganda's premier radio and media station.
At-Ma trio gears up for a summer of concerts:
Russell Stone, Craig and Tom Simenauer (Tabla Tom), have a truly remarkable and wonderful partnership with their world-fusion music trio, At-Ma. Every time they play, something magical happens. It's never the same music twice -- it's very spontaneous and creative in the concert setting. The meeting of these experienced musical minds creates a whole palette of charming colours and melodies and call-and-response vocals and expansive sound textures. Russell's voice soars, caresses and chants and dances, Craig ably supports on sitar, harmonium, drones, trumpet and percussion, while Tom holds the proceedings down with his imaginative tabla virtuousity, ringing bells and singing bowls. Both Tom and Craig also add their vocals. For the concert schedule and news from At-Ma, see: www.at-ma.com
The Ganda Boys project is born!
Craig has joined forces with two superstar Ugandan singers and songwriters, Denis Mugagga and Daniel Sewagudde (formerly of DaTwinz) to form the GANDA BOYS - an exciting and propulsive band, representing the best in contemporary African fusion music. Combining the dynamic and soulful voices of Denis and Dan with Craig's big sound vision, this Afrobeat, funk, rock and highlife music for a new generation. The new album is finished and ready to ship - it's called the "War of Love", with the ancient Bugandan shield logo on the front cover. It is African Truth music, from the heart, with songs that penetrate. Although the origins of much of the Ganda Boys music are Ugandan, the album has a "United Africa" feel to it, with a high level of band production and rich recorded sound. There is an element of film music to it, too, where the soul of the songs touches one with the poignant stories from Africa, including songs of separation and struggle. Craig, Denis and Dan first met while collaborating on the highly acclaimed 2009 BBC-TV drama series, "Moses Jones" (see below). As a live band, they are totally scintillating. The Almeida Theatre in London on August 1st, 2009, experienced the full force of their 14 piece band experience, to a packed audience and rave reviews.
Moses Jones - BBC-TV drama series broadcast February 2009 - music by Craig
Craig has created a unique music score and propulsive African tracks for this intriguing drama about a second generation UK Metropolitan Police detective, Moses Jones, of Ugandan origin, who investigates a ritual murder in London which thrusts him right into the heart of the Ugandan community in multi-cultural urban London, and yet at the same time helps him to re-discover his own family's past. The hero of the piece is a charismatic musician, Solomon, who has a great, rocking nine piece band, which is featured in many of the scenes. Craig created the four featured songs in the series with Denis and Daniel of the Ganda Boys, and a team of crack session musicians in the UK, including Alex KB, Osibisa's drummer. The rest of the music score is cinematic in nature to go with the contemporary feel of the three one-hour episodes. Directed by Michael Offer, produced by EMMY Award winner, Cameron Roach, with Eamon Walker playing Solomon and a wonderful cast that includes Dennis Waterman, Jude Akuwudike and Femi Elufowoju, jr. The London Metro newspaper described Moses Jones as "pulsing to the soundtrack of the year". New, updated versions of the four songs featured in the Moses Jones series are included in the new Ganda Boys album "War of Love", now available.
Waiting - Turner Prize Exhibition opening, film soundtrack by Craig for Zarina Bhimji, Turner Prize nominee
Zarina Bhimji was nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize in 2007, one of the most acclaimed art awards in Europe. Craig has scored the music for her two art installation films, "Out of Blue" and "Waiting" which was installed at the Tate Liverpool for the Turner Prize Exhbition opening month in September 2007. "Out of Blue" was installed for some months in 2003 at the Tate Britain in London, one of the UK's premiere art galleries. Both films feature Craig's special enveloping, modern and abstract sound design mixes for 5.1 surround sound installations at the galleries. Zarina's family ties have brought her back to East Africa for both her films, and she is currently working on "Yellow Patch", about the migration of peoples from Gujarat, India, to East Africa. Craig will be scoring this film in late 2008 or early 2009.
Gold Diggers - The Biggest Bank Robbery in History
Discovery Channel documentary, in three one hour episodes, looks at the incredible impact of the bank heist in 2006 in northern Brazil town of Forteleza. The documentary itself became part of the police investigation, so much so that the young British director's life was threatened. A glimpse into the dark heart of Brazilian society, the materminds of this audacious crime ($100 million worth in used notes stolen without a shot being fired) have never been brought to justice. Craig teamed up with world musician, Ravi, to create a contemporary music score with Brazilian colours for the robbery re-enactments, and then the bizarre twists in the story of the investigation. An incredible story.
Jane Hall - ITV television series, with music soundtrack by Craig
A charming TV series based on Sally Winwright's own true experience of becoming a bus driver in London at a young age. This six British TV part series (2005) is a gutsy portrayal of young Jane's bewildering love life, and the bizarre goings-on at the bus drivers' depot in Southall, London. Sometimes hilariously funny, there are some dramatic moments, including a bus hi-jacking and dubious and risque goings on. Craig's soundtrack captures all the colours of a multi-cultural London society, and yet underscores the action and emotional deveopments with an experienced guiding hand.
The Mistress of Spices - spacious film soundtrack by Craig
NUMBER ONE IN INDIA. A beautiful art film, starring Aishwarya Rai, is described as "magical realism", and is a perfect vehicle for Craig's brand of Gandharva/spiritual/romantic Indian fusion music. A 90 minute film, with over 60 minutes of originally composed music score, the various spices each have their own musical intrument, with Craig weaving piano, sitar, Indian voice, violin, guitar, tabla and bansuri with sacred chants into a score that features a seamless blend of Indian ragas and contemporary Western film score music. Directed by Paul Berges and produced by Gurinder Chadha (the same team that brought you "Bend It Like Beckham" and "Bride & Prejudice"), the film has been released in cimemas during early 2006. The music soundtrack sessions were recorded at Craig's Heaven on Earth Music Music Studios in Marlborough, Wiltshire, where the surround sound mixes were also crafted. Total immersion into space and raga. DVD now available in most shops.
Bride and Prejudice - number one movie box office hit in UK, India and S Africa
NUMBER ONE in the UK and INDIA film box offices. During the first part of 2004, Craig created the original musical score for the Miramax film, "Bride & Prejudice", starring Aishwarya Rai, Martin Henderson, and Anupam Kher. Much of the recorded work started at Craig's studio, and features perfomances by Craig, Deepa Nair, Manjit Rasiya Singh, Satpaul Bhamra, Deepak Pandit and Rajiv Sharma. Contributions also from Bollywood composer, Anu Malik, for some cheesey Bollywood songs! Next stage, Craig conducted a large orchestra at Angel Studios in Islington, London. All the sound was put together at the dubbing theatres in Shepperton and Pinewood Studios. The music creates almost a new genre of "not quite Bollywood, not quite Hollywood" but something...... well, new! Released in the UK and India in October 2004, it went straight to number one in the cinema box office there, and it reached number 15 for three weeks in the US film box office during March 2005.
Albums currently under development by Craig:
"Sacred Chants of Krishna" featuring Acharya Meenakshi Devi. "Sacred Chants of the Sikhs" featuring Dya Singh.
Craig performs for Prince Charles at Highgrove for small private concert
Craig played a featured performance on sitar right in front of Prince Charles at his royal residence of Highgrove in Gloucestershire on June 18th. Set in the beautiful Orchard Room for a select group of one hundred people, Craig opened the evening playing "Welcome Home", with tabla maestro, Manjit Rasiya Singh. The evening was hosted by Dr. Keith Critchelow, President of the Temenos Academy. There was a beautiful settled atmosphere for the music, and also poetry read by actor Peter Marinker. Patricia Rosario sang some South American classical vocal pieces. Afterwards, Craig was able to talk with Prince Charles twice about meditation, and some of Craig's work teaching Art of Living to prisoners in the UK.
Craig performs at Dalai Lama talk in London
On May 28th, London hosted a special talk by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Westminster Halls (opposite the Houses of Parliament). Prince Charles was in attendance, and Craig opened the event with a long and settled rendition of "Welcome Home", accompanied on swaramandala by his wife, Asta Pruess. The spacious sound filled the hall (attendance over 2,500), and Craig received an enthusiastic ovation for his performance. HH Dalai Lama spoke mainly about human values, and their importance in our modern world. Many music business celebrities were present including Annie Lennox and, Damien Albarn.
Craig performs for war veterns in Kosovo.
Craig travelled to Pristhina, Kosovo, to hold special concerts of meditative sitar music and vocal chanting for War Veterans, UN troops and the public. Two live television performances took place on Kosovo national TV, and a public concert in Pristhina's concert hall. From there, Craig travelled to Serbia, and played in the main concert hall in Belgrade. The concerts were organised by the Art of Living Foundation.
Craig's concert appearances at the Mind Body Spirit festival, London, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009. Yoga Show, 2008.
"Bend it Like Beckham" reaches top 10 in US film box office chart during April 2003
Craig contributes to latest Massive Attack album "100th Window"
Craig was in the studio with Massive Attack, November 2002, composing and arranging haunting, Indian-style string parts for the tracks "Antistar", "Special Cases" and "Butterfly Caught". "Antistar" also features a unique sitar tapestry Craig created with three acoustic instruments. The eagerly awaited album by the band reached number 1 in the UK charts upon release in February 2003.
"Sony Chillout Classics 2" album features two tracks by Craig
This top 5 chart album is currently continuing to sell very well after its release in December 2001 and includes two new original arrangemenets by Craig of famous classical music melodies with a “chillout” treatment — expansive sound and tumbling, uplifting rhythms. “Jupiter” is the famous slow melody from Gustav Holst’s “Planet Suite” (Jupiter), re-worked to stirring effect. The other selection is “Pictures” taken from Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition”, featuring the grand melody from the “Great Gates of Kiev”.
Other artists featured on this Chillout Classics 2 double CD include William Orbit, Goldfrapp, Moby, Sade, Oliver Shanti, Jose Padilla, and Martin Taylor.
The London entertainment magazine, Time Out, reviewed the CD as follows:
“...... The formula works. Here you get Goldfrapps “Lovely Head” next to Moby’s easliy identifiable “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?” and guru Jose Padilla’s “Que Bonito” sharing head space with Oliver Shanti’s grooved-out “Sacred Nirvana”. Some of the choices are so old-school they are practically obsolete. But if re-treading Sade and St Etienne doesn’t do it for you, there are certain surprises within. The Craig Pruess pieces, “Pictures” and “Jupiter”, and Martin Taylor’s “Green Lady”, hit the Mussorgsky, Holst and neo-folk buttons, while classical gas freaks can brush up their electronic Vivaldi in the company of Arnage or download some John Cage systems music via William Orbit’s trippy “In A Landscape”. Nothing too far fetched but a definite antidote to the tripe on the telly and ten too many mince pies. One for the virtual clubber.”
Recordings by Craig for SONY Classical, January 2002
Craig has been commissioned by SONY CLASSICAL MUSIC in London to record large orchestral arrangements of music from the films “Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter”. On January 25th, 2002, at Sony Studios, Whitfield Street, London, saw a joyfully intense recording session with a 73 piece orchestra, including Craig’s custom world sounds. Provisionally called “Craig Pruess and the Film Theme Orchestra”, these new recordings will feature on a new SONY MUSIC compilation of famous film themes including “Braveheart”, “Gladiator”, “Titanic” and others. Release dates will be announced soon.
Craig’s new orchestrations included 10 minutes from the beautiful score of “Lord of the Rings” and 5 minutes of virtuoso “wizard” music composed by John Williams for the film “Harry Potter & The Philospher’s Stone”. At the recording session itself, initially there were some protestations from our assembled orchestra at the sheer difficulty of actually playing this piece (especially strings), even though the orchestra contained many of the same accomplished players that performed for John Williams at the original Harry Potter recording sessions in London during Sept 2001. However, the final recorded performance was superb, surpassing even the original recording from the film! Well done, everyone!
Release of the double CD "Sacred Chants of Rama"
This beautiful new concept album was two years in the making, as a labour of love and devotion in the Heaven on Earth Music recording studios in Amersham, England. Recorded in the UK in beautiful digital sound (additionally featuring recorded performances in Bombay by top Indian instrumentalists and singers), it is a collaboration by Craig with maestro classical Indian vocalist, composer and lyricist, Pandit Vishwa Prakash. Released throughout India during November, 2001, it has received warm critical acclaim in the national Indian press:—
“For millions of men, women and children in India, the epic of the Ramayana has a profound effect on their spiritual progress and culture. It is not just a book of beautiful poetry, it is a dharma shastra expounding lofty ideals. The Ramayana is a timeless tale of adventure, loss, perserverance, triumph and supreme devotion. This epic can indeed inspire and motivate our lives in countless ways. In Times Music’s latest release, “Sacred Chants of Rama”, Craig Pruess (creator of “Sacred Chants of Shiva”) and Pandit Vishwa Prakash bring this immortal tale to life through brilliant musical orchestration and rendered with great power. The kirtan in this album serve as a reminder that life is a celebration in all ways. The bhajans remind us that devotion purifies the heart and uplifts the soul. the meditative chants further reinforce the underlying importance of daily relaxation and deep self-exploration.......” (Bombay Times, Delhi Times, Bangalore Times and Pune Times, November 6th, 2001)
Released in the USA during January 2002, this double CD features beautiful graphics in the 8 page full colour CD booklet, and summaries and explanations of excerpts from the stories from the Ramayana, including Craig’s colour photographs taken in Ayodhya, India, the ancient birthplace of Rama.
A USA review in Music Design’s In Review magazine states:—
“The powerful story of the Ramayana is explored on “Sacred Chants of Rama”, a two-disc album created by Craig Pruess. Each of these kirtan chants, bhajans and solo chants tell a part of the ancient story of the coming of the warrior Rama, who would destroy evil and restore dharma. The music has an aunthentic Indian flavour derived from the selection of traditional instruments used: the sarod, santoor, sitar, tabla and more. The ecstatic vocals of Shashi Pandit, Padnit Vishwa Prakash and Dinesh K. Mahavir add a devotional quality to the music, making it spiritually powerful as it is uplifting.”
Number One British feature film released in April 2002, featuring original score and fun singles by Craig: "Bend it Like Beckham" directed by Gurinder Chadha, director of "What's Cooking?" and "Bhaji on the Beach"
A fun youth film about a 17 year old Sikh girl in Hounslow, London, who dreams of becoming a professional footballer against her traditional family's wishes, it is an unashamedly feel-good movie, sure to win hearts everywhere. As of January 1st, 2002, Craig finished and delivered all his varied world music fusion score for the film, and the final music mix and "sound dub" took place in Los Angeles. Then on Jan 28th, David Beckham (famous UK soccer star for those of you in the US!) and his wife Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice of the Spice Girls group) had a private viewing of the completed film, and loved it so much that now they now want to appear in it! As prematurely reported on LBC, London News Radio, (the next day, unknown to the director!), they thought they would be having their extra scenes added during Feb and March before the film's Leicester Square gala opening in April, 2002. But the film's schedule ran out of time, and the original doubles filmed were used. Craig has re-arranged and re-recorded Tom Jones' dance style re-mix of 'She's a Lady' for the film, with vocals by Austin Howeard.