The 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 2020 at the 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 Tadić’s Four Macedonian Pieces. Meera and James 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, the 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.
Meera 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 third prize in the British Flute Society Competition. She graduated with Distinction in her Masters, studying with Michael Cox at the Royal Academy of Music. In 2017, she graduated from the RNCM (first class honours), studying with Wissam Boustany and Laura Jellicoe. She has performed at the Concertgebouw, Bridgewater Hall, Wigmore Hall and St Martin-in-the-Fields.
James is a stylistically versatile guitarist. Tutored by Craig Ogden, James is the only guitarist to have won the RNCM’s Gold Medal. 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 include 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. Alongside his busy classical recital career, James also performs in a range of ensembles, including Afrobeat/Ethiojazz 11-piece Agbeko, swing-era septet Dani Sicari & The Easy Rollers, the RNCM Big Band and the jazz quintet Artephis.