Josh Bennett is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer, and performer with a love of music from all over the world. His ability to attain such expertise across so many instruments and to blend his music into so many genres is astonishing. Equally at home on guitar, sitar, dilruba (bowed sitar), fiddle, mandolin and tabla, he's one of Australia's most versatile musicians. He's performed around the world, on guitar at guitar festivals, on mandolin at Bluegrass festivals, and on sitar for Pandit Ravi Shankar at his home in Delhi.
"Josh uses a multitude of instruments and his voice to create all manner of lovely vibrations, which upon reaching your ears, might make you smile, cry, move your hips or tap your foot..."
Josh grew up in a musical family, and has been performing on stage since he was fifteen, cutting his musical teeth in the Adelaide Blues scene. He met local guitar legend Chris Finnen in 1993, who became a mentor and great friend. Josh formed the band Epsilon in 1995 with his brother Tim on bass and Matthew Colyer on drums.
His interest in music from all over the world started to meld into his guitar playing, such as African marabi rhythms and Celtic melodies. Josh was introduced to Indian music by Professor Michael Junius, a sitar and surbahar player who studied in India for 18 years at the feet of great masters such as Prof. Shushill Branja, Prof. Banwarilal, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Asad Ali Khan and Pandit Gopal Das. Josh was hooked, and began learning everything he could about Indian music, finally getting a left-handed sitar made for him as a 21st present. He studied Sitar for six years under Alan Posselt, who himself learned from Ustad Allaudin Khan and Sri Mohan Maitre. Since then he's also taken up tabla, and dilruba - a bowed instrument similar to sarangi. He now regularly travels to Ahmedabad, India to learn sitar from Smt. Manju Mehta, a disciple of Pt. Ravi Shankar.
Whether picking up a storm with The Beekeepers, exploring Indian raga with Jay Dabgar on tabla, or taking music to the edge with BluGuru with fellow musical chameleon Andrew Clermont, Josh always has a unique musical story to tell.
Josh is a regular on the Australian festival circuit, often performing at Woodford, Fairbridge, National, Womadelaide, Brisbane World Music and Adelaide Guitar Festivals. Internationally, he's performed at the Hillside, Winnipeg, Salmon Arm and Blue Skies Festivals in Canada, the California and Chicago World Music Festivals in the USA, the Penang World Music Festival in Malaysia and the Saptak Classical Music Festival in India. Locally he's supported International artists Jeff Beck, Anoushka Shankar and Chris Smither.
He has worked as a session musician for John Woods, Kate Battersby, Chris Finnen, Dya Singh, Akhter Jahan and GT Stringer, and has written and performed music for the short films "Strike Out" and "Azadi" (Jury Award Winner, Houston USA, and AFI "Best Short Fiction Film" nominee).
Josh has composed and performed the music for stage productions such as Independent Theatre's stage rendition of EM Forster's "Passage To India", and Patch Theatre's "The Moon's a Balloon".
"His acoustic mastery delivered on every level."
- Nathan Giaccio, Glam Adelaide
"Josh Bennett's subliminally seductive music adds wonder to an already wondrous experience."
- Wil McGinley, dB Magazine
The Bombay Royale are creators of a fresh new musical genre originally inspired by the soundtracks of vintage Bollywood and drawing on a wide range of influences - from 60s rock and 70s funk and disco to the classical and folk music of India. In mid-2017 the band will unleash its trademark sound yet again and set off on a global safari with their new album Run Kitty Run.
A twisted tale of Indian, Blues, Celtic, Swing, Jazz, Bluegrass, and adventure. Josh joins the genre-hopping antics of Andrew Clermont and the extraordinary vocals and dance of Parvyn to form BluGuru. All bets are off when it comes to what will happen at each show, with the genre and instrumentation changing from one song to the next, but you can expect soaring vocal harmonies, blistering guitar and fiddle, and guest appearances by instruments such as sitar, tabla, mandolin, banjo, didgeridoo, and of course, Parvyn's shaker.
Renowned singer and Kathak dancer Parvyn teams up with Josh and tabla virtuoso Jay Dabgar to present a thrilling display of Indian rhythm, melody, song and movement. "Sadhana" means spiritual devotion to your life's endeavour, and these three artists truly embody this concept. The spontaneous improvisation, dynamic interplay of music and dance, and stunning virtuosity will capture the heart and energise the soul. Classically trained in Ahmedabad, they have each performed extensively in Australia and abroad, including at the prestigious Saptak Classical Music Festival in India. Their performances combine tradition, virtuosity and innovation with passion and joy for their art.
Traditional Bluegrass tunes played on traditional instruments, with a bent sense of humour and healthy dose of adventure, The Beekeepers are Josh (mandolin, fiddle and vocals), Jacob McGuffie (guitar and vocals) and Josh Bridges (bass and vocals). Expect knee-tapping groove, three-part harmonies, and way too many notes.
American Alt Country meets Folk & West Coast Harmony, Canyon sings some of the greatest songs ever written, and also performs originals inspired by the period's artists such as America, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, CSN&Y. Canyon is fronted by the vocally formidable Peter Chapman and Louise Dempsey (yes, Paul's sister), and also features Tim Wild (Taxi Ride), Bruce Packard (Coolgrass, Concordia Mandolin Orchestra) & Robi Parolin (Aus Bee Gees Show).
A stripped-back duo perfect for intimate house concerts and acoustic venues. Drawing on a vast range of musical styles and influences, Parvyn and Josh combine stunning virtuosity with warm harmonies, melody and groove. Between their original compositions are some of their favourite traditional and contemporary songs from far-flung genres including jazz, blues, classical Indian, and folk.
Whenever their touring schedules put them in the same state at the same time, the Bennetts (Tim, Josh and Parvyn) get together and perform. A festival favourite at FRL 2014 and 2016, the chemistry on stage when a family performs together is hard to match. Keep an ear out for Bach's Concerto for Two Violins played on two mandolins and bass.