From Suriname on a song

By Queens Courier Staff |

Suresh Ketwaroe’s love for music started out nearly 30 years ago. Back in his native country of Suriname, located in South America, he joined a small band that specialized in Indian music.
His big break though came back in 1992 when he came to New York to perform at York College. Ketwaroe talks about the experience as “mind-blowing.” The whole notion of actually performing for the first time in the United States was surreal to Ketwaroe at the time.
He eventually moved to South Ozone Park in 1994 and has been living there ever since.
In Suriname, he was taught how to play the guitar by Pairin Karimin, a good friend of his, and Ronny Bhikharie, a famous keyboardist. Bhikharie actually taught Ketwaroe how to read music.
In 1992, when he came for his performance at York College, he met Kishore Seunarine, whom he now considers almost like a brother due to the extent that he has helped him with his career here in New York. Seunarine was the master of ceremonies at the York College performance that year.
Since meeting Seunarine, Ketwaroe has performed at various locales throughout the tri-state area. Most notably, though, was a gig this past October at Cipriani, where he met famous American Idol contestant Sanjaya.
“I heard that Frank Sinatra performed there, too,” Ketwaroe said about Cipriani.
The performance that night was a surprise as he had only found out the previous day that Seunarine had booked him for the following evening.
“I play the guitar with my teeth,” Ketwaroe said about one particular style of playing the guitar. The style is very Jimi Hendrix-like; something that Ketwaroe has since steered clear off, focusing more on developing a style of his own. Besides the legendary rock artist, Ketwaroe also sites BB King, Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen and famous Bollywood singers Moh, Rafi and Sonu Nigam as his influences.
One of his long-term goals is to play alongside the likes of Carlos Santana, Chris Daughtry (another American Idol finalist), and Beyonce
Being very fond of Latin music, Ketwaroe not only sings in Spanish and English, but also Punjabi, Sranan Tongo, Hindi and his native Dutch. “Believe me, I love it,” Ketwaroe says about Latin music.
Even though much of his recordings are done in Hindi, Ketwaroe has implemented elements from such musical genres like classic rock, Soca and Reggae in numerous performances.
Back in 2004, he even performed with Tomorrow’s Weapon, a hip-hop band from Queens. Four years later, Ketwaroe began formulating his first solo album. In August of this year, Pehla Kadam, which means “First Step” in Hindi, was released.
Ketwaroe is now hard at work on another album, a compilation of remixes from Pehla Kadam, slated to come up shortly after the new year.
Currently, he is the guitarist and lead singer of the band Surya. If you would like to find out more about this local artist, contact him via e-mail at or by telephone at 718-845-8163.