CONCERTS UNDER THE SPIRE - Matinee Concerts at 2.00p.m.

by Judy Povey  |  Posted at 18:25pm on 7th November 2021

Meraki Duo


Suite Populaire Espagnole - Manuel de Falla (arr Kochanski)

Bordel 1900, Cafe 1930 and Nightclub 1960 from Histoire du Tango - Astor Piazzolla 

Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 (Aria) - Heitor Villa-Lobos 

Misturada - Quarteto Novo (arr Meraki)

O Ovo - Quarteto Novo (arr Meraki)

 Meera Maharaj – flute

James Girling – guitar


Meraki Duo’s programmes offer a distinctively diverse pairing of flute and guitar, incorporating James Girling’s arrangements of works which range from Messiaen’s ‘5 Leçons de solfège’ and the Brazilian folk-fusion of Hermeto Pascoal to settings of jazz standards – originally commissioned by Jacqui Dankworth. In November 2020 at 1901 Arts Club, Meraki Duo premièred ‘À Norte, Rio Preto’, written for them by the Brazilian composer Rafael Marino Arcaro. In their recitals, Meera Maharaj extends the expressive range of the duo by featuring the alto flute in works such as Takemitsu’s ‘Toward The Sea’ and Miroslav Tadic’s ‘Four Macedonian Pieces’.


Meera Maharaj and James Girling both studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, where they connected through a shared passion for chamber music, jazz, Latin American and European folk, and contemporary works. Formed in 2013, Meraki Duo were selected for International Guitar Foundation’s Young Artist Platform 2019/20. In 2019, they were finalists in the Royal Over-Seas League Competition (Mixed Ensembles) in London. They enjoy performing concerts from Northumberland to Cornwall and at venues such as Wigmore Hall, Kings Place and the Bridgewater Hall.


As Live Music Now artists since 2018, Meraki Duo bring performances into the wider community, giving interactive concerts across the country in special needs schools and in care homes.


Meera Maharaj enjoys a diverse performing career and is currently a Tunnell Trust, Park Lane Group and Countess of Munster Recital Scheme artist, alongside pianist Dominic Degavino. Competition successes include first prize in the Royal Academy of Music Flute Competition and Dutch International Flute Competition and 3rd prize in the British Flute Society Competition. She graduated with Distinction in her Masters, studying with Michael Cox at the Royal Academy of Music, receiving generous scholarships. In 2017, she graduated from the RNCM with first class honours, having studied with Wissam Boustany and Laura Jellicoe. Previously, she spent six years at the Junior RNCM. Meera has played at the Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall and Royal Albert Hall where she recently played Principal Flute with Chineke! Orchestra at the BBC Proms.


James Girling is a stylistically versatile guitarist, an improviser, arranger and composer. Tutored by Craig Ogden at the RNCM, James is the only guitarist to have won the RNCM’s Gold Medal. Other awards include The Biddy Baxter and John Hosier Music Trust’s Special Award, and the Sir John Manduell Prize for the album he composed for his jazz quintet. He is a supported artist through Help Musicians’ Transmission Fund. Since giving his Wigmore Hall solo debut in 2017, James has performed with the BBC Philharmonic, Hallé Orchestra and RLPO’s Ensemble 10/10. Following performances of Rodrigo’s Fantasía para un Gentilhombre, he made his Concierto de Aranjuez debut in 2019. James’ chamber music performances have included Leeds International Concert Season, Chester Music Festival in a tango quintet comprising international soloists such as Abel Selaocoe, and Church Stretton Arts Festival as the Aquarelle Guitar Quartet’s only ever dep. As an arranger, James has been commissioned by Jacqui Dankworth, Andy Scott, and Aquarelle Guitar Quartet with Clarice Assad.