Chogyi Lama, 20 year old guitarist/singer/writer/producer from Woodstock, New York, is a shapeshifter—moving intuitively across genres and styles, embodying whatever he is playing. His original songs and Neo-Soul vocals are reminiscent of a young Maxwell or D’Angelo, his guitar playing is fierce yet fluid. Headlining as Chogyi Lama, he also regularly performs as part of 420 Funk Mob and in Simi Stone’s core band. His work with Darryl Jenifer & Gary Miller (Doctor Know) has brought him to both RIOT and Growlers Fest stages— performing with Bad Brains and into the studio with artists Lenny White, John Medeski, and Denzel Curry among others (be on the lookout, for more from the Bad Brains fam).
Sitting in with some of the industry’s most inspiring artists, he has come to be known as a remarkable guitar player with elegance, power and humility far beyond his years. His recent shows have called out his diverse, multigenerational audience who expected to hear guitar focused sets, and met a singer, songwriter and performer who continues to surprise and inspire them.
Chogyi’s been producing upcoming talent, nurturing collaborations and working on original music. Most recently, he kicked off the Golden Anniversary season at Bethel Woods Center For The Arts—the site of the Original Woodstock Festival (stay tuned for some summer announcements!)
While lending his talent to others, he found the time to independently release “Karma”— written, played, recorded and produced in his home studio (powered by a crashing dinosaur of an Imac). The choice to single-handedly create this work was one that afforded him full freedom of expression. It’s out on all platforms
Notably professional when sharing the stage, the list includes, but does not end with, Jon Anderson, Scott Petito, Jerry Marotta, Dan Littleton, John Sebastian, Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween), Brendan Small, Marcus Machado, Michael Clip Payne & 420 Funk Mob, Mike Keneally, Black Rock Coalition Orchestra, Corey Glover, Ike Willis, Sara Lee, Graham Nash, Scott Ian, and Gibby Haynes.
Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Hazel, Wes Montgomery, Eric Gales, Mateus Asato, Joey Eppard and 3, Curtis Mayfield, Isaiah Sharkey, Miles Davis, D’Angelo, Andy Timmons, Dr Know, Plini, Mario Camarena/Erick Hansel – Chon, John Scoffield, Eric Johnson, Derek Trucks, Jimmy Herring and Alan Holdsworth
Some things you may not have known….
- At seventeen months old, Chogyi began working with Jazz musician Jayna Nelson’. Originally reluctant to take on someone so young, she was pleasantly surprised to find him to be her most attentive and focused student––of any age. Her work focused not on instrumentation or theory, but rather, connecting neurological pathways with relationship to sound and vibration. They worked together, weekly, until sometime around age six.
- It was Woodstock area musician, Joey Eppard’s percussive style that inspired Chogyi to pick up the guitar at three years old… Beginning with a video of five or so of Joey’s songs followed by one guitar lesson, the two developed a close bond which continues to this day.
- With a bit of teenage reluctance, Chogyi joined Paul Green’s Rock Academy as a drummer in 2014. Within a week, Paul convinced him to pick the guitar back up, which he hadn’t touched in about seven years. Taking on more than twice the workload of the most students––switching off between the guitar and drums––he rose quickly to become one of the Academy’s MVP players.
- As the grandson of Richie Havens, Chogyi is honored to celebrate the momentous fifty year landmark of the Original Woodstock Festival. It is not easy for any artist to come up in the footsteps of a legend. While it is an honor to come from such a lineage, he chooses not to lead with his heritage. An agile and versatilely adept musician, it is Chogyi’s wish that his music speaks for itself, while honoring his grandfather’s legendary contributions to the history of music across the globe.