Who Is This Guy?

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Me? I’m a dreadlocked dude from Miami who’s never had a cup of coffee. Or a beer. Or a driver’s license, for that matter.

Some people know me as Elton, the name I inherited from my dad, and I’ve been Shyam (“shee-yahm”) since my parents began studying Indian culture four decades ago. My quest for ultimate fulfillment through sound, words, and spirituality has taken me all over the world, from a commune in Tennessee and a boarding school near the Taj Mahal to the New York offices of Rolling Stone, Vibe, and Guitar World. I’ve been a roadie for swordsmen from the Burmese border, a cook for a Miami Beach ashram, a kirtan bassist in South Africa and Australia, a producer of folk-music sessions in China, a drummer for a Polish Hare Krishna reggae band with a French lead singer, a studio musician on a Grammy-nominated album of Sanskrit chants, a musical midwife for childbirth and for the dying, and a composer for theater by William Shakespeare and about Thurgood Marshall.

Currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area, I write about music, compose for dance/theater/visual media, and play music for childbirth (labor and delivery), birthdays and birth celebrations, initiations/coming of age rituals, graduations, weddings, corporate functions, dance parties, yoga classes, funerals, and grief workshops.

I love collaborations and new adventures. Got an idea? Hit me up!