I get asked all the time, how this all started - so in a nutshell, this is the story. In the '70s and '80s - I raced motorcycles professionally. In '89 I had a career ending crash at the AMA Nationals at Loudon. It took a year for me to walk without crutches or a cane. Fellow racers warned me that I needed some form of regular exercise or I would end up walking like The Mummy (I'd sustained a broken collarbone, several fractured vertabrae in my lower back, wrists broken multiple times, and a broken hip held together with a steel plate and screws). As luck would have it, I was invited by a pretty girl to go to a yoga class at Jivamukti Yoga on 2nd Avenue and left after my first class buzzed out on endorphins. I slept through the night for the first time in 25 years, and I was hooked.
About 6 months into my practice a quiet spoken guy with John Lennon glasses came to lead a kirtan at Jivamukti. About 7 people attended. His music just blew me away. I asked if he would want someone to play some slide guitar to back him up. I ended up playing kartals, tanpura and various small percussion for him, and toured with him on and off for 12 years. His name was Krishnadas. Everywhere we played people wanted to know where they could buy a good harmonium or proper Indian drums and I really didn't have anyone I could recommend. Eventually it dawned on me that mayhaps there was a niche for me, wherein I could make a living and not work for "the man".
My first customers came my way when we played at the grand opening of the new Jivamukti Yoga center on Lafayette St. We played the show and many top musicians were there including Sting. When the show was over KD told all the musicians in the "back stage" area that Keshav was "the man" and that he was going to India to purchase first class instruments. He told all that I was very knowledgeable and I could be relied on to bring back only the best stuff. I heard him say this and wondered who he was talking about. Nonetheless, folks lined up and gave me money to buy them sitars, tablas and harmoniums. At that point I had about $68.00 to my name, but now I had a bankroll and the seeds of a small business. I set off for India with a pocket full of cash and more than a little self doubt. I hardly dared to dream that this would all turn out well.