Maharajah Flamenco Trio delivers a moving and dynamic expression of Flamenco Nuevo (New or "modern" Flamenco), by blending traditional Spanish rhythms with jazz, classical, and world music.
Founded in 2011, Maharajah Flamenco Trio is the brainchild of Silviu Ciulei. After successfully leading flamenco bands in Romania and Tennessee, Silviu was looking to put something together in his new home, Tallahassee, Florida. He wanted this group to be smaller than previous endeavors, more intimate, with players virtuosic enough to fully accompany and realize his compositions. He met bassist David Cobb by chance. Both were hired through a mutual friend to play a city festival and both were intrigued by the possibility of a collaboration. Once Silviu met percussionist and digeridoo-player Ramin Yazdanpanah, he realized he had found the perfect players, and brought them together to create Maharajah Flamenco Trio. Soon after forming, they began to tour, playing theaters, universities, house concerts, and venues along the east coast, from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL, to The Shrine in Harlem, NY. They have appeared on television, as well as NPR, college, and internet radio, and in print around the world.
In 2013, they released their first studio album, Encuentro, a musical encounter that transports the listener from the swampy haunts of Tallahassee to the mystic sounds of Australia, and the juergas of Spain. Rich and finely-nuanced, the album captures the diverse musical backgrounds and technical virtuosity of the trio to create a singular listening experience of unique and daring music. Visit the music page for more information on Encuentro.
Maharajah Flamenco Trio is putting the finishing touches on our second album, Felices Días, for 2021 release. As a preview to the full album, MFT has released Felices Días EP; three tracks selected to represent the breadth of their latest work. Felices Días was written and recorded during a year of quarantines, masks, and pandemic anxieties. We collaborated with many talented folks, including Latin Grammy award winning producer, musician, and composer, Jose Valentino, violinist Tania Moldovan, and artist Abney Wallace. From this time of deep uncertainty, Felices Días is meant to uplift us all, and set our minds on rebuilding our lives and finding joy. Go to the music page for more information on Felices Días EP, and check out our blog for updates on the full album.
Silviu Ciulei, DM
Having begun his musical training at an early age, Romanian born guitarist Silviu Ciulei was soon winning prizes in national and international competitions, first in Europe and more recently in the United States. His interest in Flamenco was first awakened while on a family holiday in Spain. It was not long before he moved to Cadiz, Andalusia, the heartland of flamenco. There he began several years of intense study of flamenco guitar, which he brought with him to Tequila, a group that gained national attention in his native Romania. Silviu graduated with his Ph.D in classical guitar performance under the tutelage of Bruce Holzman, Director of the Guitar Program at Florida State University's College of Music, one of the leading figures of guitar teaching in the US. Silviu is currently the Director of Guitar Studies at the University of Florida. Visit silviuciulei.com for more information on Silviu.
David Cobb, MM
Bassist David Cobb began his musical journey in the middle school brass section but was soon lured by the sound of strings and began teaching himself guitar and electric bass, expanding his classical background into the American styles centered around these instruments: blues, rock, jazz, and soul. A xenophile from an early age, David has always sought out sounds from around the world and his compositions and playing embody that journey. The feel of soul, a wealth of Latin American/Caribbean rhythms and melodic sensibilities from Africa, Western Asia, and Eastern Europe are reflected in his style. David earned his Master's degree in musicology from Florida State University, with an emphasis in ethnomusicology. His master's thesis dealt with experiences of musical ecstasy, particularly the moments of duende in flamenco performance. David is currently an adjunct professor of music at Palm Beach State College. Visit treespeechmusic.com for more information on David.
Ramin Yazdanpanah, PhD
Rounding out the rhythm section, percussionist Ramin Yazdanpanah’s sounds echo the Outback, the Silk Road, the Caribbean, and his native Florida home. Ramin expresses the soulful and passionate rhythms of his Cuban-Iranian heritage on cajón, dumbek, and a variety of percussion from around the globe. His skill on the Australian didjeridoo has redefined the possibilities of Flamenco. He has performed and recorded with numerous artists in numerous musical forms, ranging from classical, jazz, and folk, to funk, Latin, and hip-hop; from the east coast to the west coast and beyond. Ramin received his Ph.D. in International Development and Education from Florida State University where he conducted research on developing intercultural competence through focused cultural exchange. Ramin is the Director of Full Circle Language Learning and Teaching, LLC.