Tag: desi

Is Islamic Punk Dead? How Taqwacore Came, Went, and Left A Bittersweet Trail

MTV Iggy, May 28, 2012 EXCERPT: The first problem you face when trying to catch up with the Taqwacore movement—sometimes, if erroneously, summarized as “Muslim punk”—is that the man most closely identified with it really, really doesn’t want to talk about it anymore. “I’m tired of talking about Taqwacore,” says author Michael Muhammad Knight. “I […]

Raga concert explores ties between Indian and Afghan music

Boston Globe, March 9, 2012 NEW YORK – Music is rarely the subject of news from Afghanistan. War, terrorism, corruption, and other such topics have dominated the headlines. And if the Taliban – who outlawed all music save religious chants during their rule from 1996 to 2001 – had had their way, there wouldn’t be […]

Sunny Jain and Red Baraat make bangers from bhangra

Boston Globe, January 29, 2012 NEW YORK – The drummer Sunny Jain tells the story of a time when he auditioned before Wynton Marsalis, the great trumpeter and consummate arbiter of all things jazz in general, and particularly New Orleans. In lieu of a bass drum, Jain had substituted a dhol – the two-sided drum […]

MC Ras Ceylon: One love from Sri Lanka to Jamaica

MTV Desi, June 6, 2011 “The Gideon Force was the regiment that kicked the fascists out of Ethiopia,” explains Oakland-based MC Ras Ceylon. The force, he says, resisted the Italian incursion against the Ethiopia of Haile Selassie, the emperor sacred to Rastafarians. It inspired the title of the latest mixtape from the reggae and hip hop […]

Soulphonics’ Ruby Velle: “Singing soul is like therapy”

MTV Desi, May 26, 2011 A few days ago we introduced you to Soulphonics and Ruby Velle, the vintage soul act in Atlanta that’s fronted by a young Desi woman. We caught up with Ruby to talk music, culture, history—and how 1960s-era soul music captured her heart. So what’s a nice Indian girl doing fronting […]

Bhangra fever!

Boston Globe, November 12, 2010 One Friday last fall, Omer Mirza, cofounder of the Bay Area dance troupe Bhangra Empire, received an unusual request. Would the group be available, asked the e-mailer, to perform in Washington, D.C., that Tuesday? It was far too short notice: The members of Bhangra Empire, one of 100-plus groups in […]

New stars in the southeast: Kailash Kher

Boston Globe, November 8, 2009 According to a story that still circulates in India’s celebrity press, when Kailash Kher first arrived in Mumbai in 2001, he was so poor and bereft of connections that he had to live for a while on the platform of a suburban railway station. That tale is an urban myth. […]

Indian Ocean reaches beyond

Boston Globe, October 2, 2009 The band Indian Ocean will not take offense if you call its music “fusion.” For one thing, the Delhi-based foursome is too laid-back to worry much about labels. And it’s true that at first glance Indian Ocean’s approach summons up echoes of Orientalist jazz-rock projects from the ’70s, with their […]

For saxman, it’s all adding up: Rudresh Mahanthappa

Boston Globe, February 15, 2008 NEW YORK – He’s a self-described egghead, a numbers nut who could have become a mathematician or economist. He’s a science-fiction fan who loves William Gibson’s “Neuromancer” and is liable to zone out to sci-fi reruns on TV. But when Rudresh Mahanthappa takes the stage, it’s with an alto saxophone, […]

Spanning, spinning global beats: DJ Rekha

Boston Globe, January 30, 2008 NEW YORK—She’s as conversant in the arcana of classic, early-’90s hip-hop as she is in the folk music of her family’s native Punjab, India. Spinning on her turntables today, you might find Bollywood anthems, baile funk from Brazil, or neo-Balkan brass-band grooves from her adopted Brooklyn. Rekha Malhotra, known to […]

Hindustani singer goes extra mile

Boston Globe, September 9, 2007 From yoga to outsourcing to nuclear weapons deals, American awareness of India is as strong and multifaceted today as it has ever been. In music, exposure to the culture of the world’s largest democracy has come lately via bhangra, the party sound based on folk music from Punjab, and through […]

Young vocalist stresses respect and restraint

Boston Globe, March 30, 2007 NEW YORK—These days, neither music schools nor underground club circuits seem to produce male jazz vocalists at the rate they do female singers or instrumentalists of either sex. Boys with voices head for Broadway or R&B; in jazz, perhaps the concatenation of traditional gender roles with the competitive geekery inherent […]

Turning Bollywood pop into global art

Boston Globe, April 8, 2006 A signature of Bollywood is its music: “Filmi” songs, by turns gaudy and graceful, have dominated Indian pop culture for a half- century. And of the great “playback singers,” so called because actors lip-synch to their songs, few others are as influential and none as adventurous as Asha Bhosle, the […]

Music, daughters motivate Shankar

Boston Globe,  October 2, 2005 Sitar master Ravi Shankar is a legend of Indian music at home and abroad. The era when he taught the Beatles and resisted the overtures of the hippie movement is long gone. More recent disciples include many young Indian virtuosos and Shankar’s daughter Anoushka, who excels in traditional ragas and […]

Like his genre-bending music, pianist knows no borders

Boston Globe, June 26, 2005 If there is a jazz musician of the moment, Vijay Iyer may well be it. The Indian-American pianist has gone in the past year from underground favorite to emerging mainstream sensation with a gripping, thought-provoking sound and a body of work that includes straight-ahead post-bop efforts, avant-garde collective improvisation, and […]