Tag: india

Sarod master reimagines the raga

Boston Globe, September 13, 2013 Indian classical music is ancient, codified, rigorous, and refined, yet its spirit dwells in the inspiration and personality of individuals. Because ragas are at once systematic — each is built on a signature ascending and descending scale — and improvised, every performance adds to the body of knowledge, yet no […]

Letter from Delhi: A Bookstore of Safety

New Yorker, May 24, 2013 For the past four years, the best alternative bookstore in Delhi has crouched in an awkward, elongated space in Hauz Khas Village, a warren of narrow pedestrian lanes that dates back to the thirteenth century and has become one of the capital’s bohemian—and increasingly gentrified—enclaves. Parks, medieval monuments, and a […]

Zakir Hussain’s conversation of forgotten rhythms

Boston Globe, March 16, 2012 It was only a few weeks ago that Zakir Hussain, the world-famous drum virtuoso and master of the Indian tabla, was making the latest of his discoveries of obscure percussion styles in his home country. Driving through Maharashtra state, his party stopped for a roadside break by a temple in […]

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 […]

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 […]

DJ Rekha: from the basement to the White House

MTV Desi, April 27, 2011 Ah, Easter in America. Chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs, kids running around the lawn — and bhangra? Yes! At the White House, no less. New York’s own indispensable Desi producer and all-around culture maven DJ Rekha has been seen at the White House a few times since Barack Obama’s election. Fresh back […]

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 […]

All-night Indian music concert

WNYC News, May 14, 2007 Even the most obsessive music lover might think twice about a concert that lasted more than 3 or 4 hours. But in Indian music, all-night concerts that run from dusk to dawn are highly appreciated. This weekend some of India’s most revered musicians played all night at St John the […]

Diaspora encounters: the Indo-Caribbean world

Afropop Worldwide, July 31, 2008 Produced by Siddhartha Mitter. Follow link for audio. Competition between communities of Indian and African descent has been a mainstay of politics and culture in the former British colonies of Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana.  This rivalry plays out in institutions from the University of the West Indies to the […]

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 […]

Festival of Sufi music celebrates the mystical tradition

Boston Globe, October 27, 2006 At a time when Islam makes frequent headlines for what some would call all the wrong reasons, the rich legacy and nuances of Islamic culture have received comparatively short shrift. Among these is the Sufi mystical tradition, which produced or influenced some of the world’s greatest works of art, such […]

Master’s love for Indian kathak dance is in his eyes

Boston Globe, October 5, 2006 NEW YORK—After a long day teaching workshops in the ancient dance form of which he is considered the greatest living master, Birju Maharaj emerges into the glare of the lobby of the Alvin Ailey studios here, amid a cluster of students and musicians. A small man, and at 68 advancing […]

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 […]