Having grown up in a family that embraces kirtan music, Kish has developed a deep love for kirtan that emanates from him when he chants. As a boy, he attended a gurukula school in the sacred village of Mayapur, India. This is the village where sacred kirtan originated, and he learned the secrets and techniques of kirtan from the gurus who have studied it directly from the ancient traditions. Kish plays mrdunga drum, harmonium, and excels in flute, as well as other instruments. His remarkable energy and enthusiasm during kirtan awakens the audience’s soul to experience the actual essence of kirtan’s love.
Words From Kish
This year I had a conversation with a doctor in Miami that pretty much defines my outrageous background and upbringing. It kind of went like this,
Doctor: so Mr. Rico, I see here in this xray that you had a previous break on both bones, when was this and where?
Me: in India, November of 2001, crazy story…I was running away from a pack of Monkeys.
Doctor: oh, so that’s where your first name comes from because your nationality is Indian right?
Me: No doctor, my nationality is Colombian, but yes my name originates from Sanskrit.
Doctors: So you were born in Colombia?
Me: No doctor, I was born in Mississippi.
Doctor: Mississippi? So that’s where you live ?
Me: No doctor, I live in Florida.
Doctor: So why did you mention Colombia
Me: because my nationality isn’t Indian like you guessed, my family is Colombian.
Doctor: oh my, you seem like an interesting person, well now it seems you can’t move around as much
Me: Actually doctor right after this check up I’m catching a bus to West Virginia in Alachua.
Doctor: (Laughter) Seems like you would need to hire someone to keep track of you. Hope your leg heals well.
So below is a short history that gives a bit more meaning to the conversation above. You’ll get a pretty good picture of where im from, so I guess this is the first stepping stone to our friendship, may it be a cyber one but if you will, leave a comment about your rare story, because every one has one. Se la Vi!
I get my last name, “Rico” from my grandfather who was a famous liquor store owner in Bogota Colombia. His origins come from Spain and he opened up “La Vina”, which was the most poppin’ liquor place in town. He started as a young man cleaning tables at this store and later turned into an empire. He fathered 12 children from the same woman, my beloved grandmother Abuelita Fani. The Ricos were well known because the young ones were hip, good looking and spiritual. They stood out amongst the rest of the people in the over populated city. They introduced Reggea beats, including Bob Marley to the Capital of Colombia. They also held the first ISKCON meetings at my grandfathers home. Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the well known Hare Krsna Movement, knew of the Rico family and there is a sweet little story to it.
My uncle Nacho (Not Nacho Libre) wanted to donate some money from granpa’s store for this wonderful mission of spreading unconditional love throughout the world through knowledge and service, but the devotees didn’t know if they should accept it since its connected to selling and promoting alcohol. So they asked Srila Prabhupada and his response was,
“ Sure. Accept it. Simply offer it to Krsna and use it for his service.” Then later in conversation, Srila Prabhupada predicted, “Devotees will be born from that family.”
So here I am. Krishna Kishora Rico, 1 out of about 70 Ricos, in which many of them are dedicated devotees or Krsna lovers. Im dedicating my life to share Kirtan with the world and am so grateful to be doing it with my close friends and family.
The drummer of our group is my older brother, Bali. His crazy hands set him apart from Mridanga players around the world, but what sets him apart the most for me is when he spits Hot Fiyah…many people don’t know that Bali can rrrrrip it as an MC. See for yourselves right here!
So from my fathers side alone I have about 70 cousins and from my mothers not too many but they are loving people and highly educated. Actually I found out that my great grandfather from my moms side played the flute professionally, and his father was German! That’s where they get their light skin and blue eyes, but I got the latino look, it would have been cool to have blue eyes though.
My beloved mothers story is a novel in itself. At the age of 14 she would wander the streets of Colombia with knowledge from writings by Socrates, Aristotle, Pablo Neruda and none other then Swami Prabhupada. She was a deep poet and sweet rebel, infuriating her mother after being expelled from 12 schools, even though she would get top of her class every time she would find a way to get kicked out because the schooling system wasn’t her cup of tea, it squared boxed her creativity and wasn’t as fun as it should be.
She met my father and knew at the age of 15 that she wanted to mother his children. Talk About Purpose! Their romantic story is a book with many chapters filled with dramatic novella stuff, comedy, spirituality and romance. They always told us that the fruit of their love is Bali and I. They would often remind us that they brought us to this world to help spread the glories of the Holy Names around the globe.
My parents always showed us how to be in this world but not of this world and to live a balanced life. If we went to far either way they would helps us re-balance our decisions.
I remember my brother would listen to DMX and Usher more than a little, to the point that I still know Ushers songs from singing them while we jumped on our trampoline.
One time my dad heard DMX in full volume coming out of our room and stomped his was through our trailer and with loving fire in his eyes, he said,
“Que es este.. blood for my blood mierrrda..i want to hear some Kirtan playing also.”
My father at times had to play the role of a Kirtan Nazi when we didn’t show enthusiasm in our prayer, sometimes he would tell me to stop playing Kartals and leave. But because I’m so stubborn, I wouldn’t leave and that’s how I got good at Kartals…I guess being stubborn ain’t so bad after all. 😉
Actually, it has nothing to do with my stubbornness or my personal effort, I owe it all to my first Kirtan Guru, my pops!
Then it became natural for Bali and I, and we would sit and jam everyday all on our own, sometimes in our undies, soccer gear, pj’s or proper Vaishnava attire, like this. How I miss those days. I mean we still jam here and there but he got married to this beautiful princess and I have become a travelling gypsy, but we tear it up whenever we get the chance.
One more thing that you should know about me is that my life is dedicated to pleasing my Beautiful Mother who forever lives in my heart. It’s difficult to be in separation from such a wonderful soul, but the lessons she has left behind gives me something to work on everyday.
Amen & Hare Krsna!