|Happy Christmas day 2019-2020|
Christmas blues with a Bollywood contort Another sort of blues
On Christmas Day, 'Aki' Kumar will perform at Qla, Delhi; on 26 December, he will play at The Quorum in Gurugram; on 27 December, at Zorba, Delhi; on 28 December, at the Neighborhood Winter Festival in Mumbai; and on New Year's eve, at SOHO House Mumbai.
This merry season, Indian blues darlings are in for a melodic treat with a curve. From Christmas Day to New Year's eve and past, an Indian-American, Akarsha "Aki" Kumar, will perform gigs without precedent for India. Kumar's is an intriguing story of a Silicon Valley nerd transforming into a bluesman who has won acknowledgment in the US as well as in Europe's recognizing blues music circles. What separates him is his novel mix of Chicago blues and exemplary Bollywood music. And at Christmas and New Year slams in Delhi and Mumbai, in his first-historically speaking Indian gigs, he is good to go to excite blues fans—idealists just as the individuals who wouldn't fret a touch of combination to go with the happiness of the period.
Be that as it may, initial a fast recap. It's late October and in a modest town on the western shore of Finland, Kumar is singing to an all-Finnish crowd of blues darlings. Situated in San Jose, California, the initial not many tunes on Kumar's playlist are conventional blues tunes: Lonesome Sundown's Leave My Money Alone and Warren Storm's Prisoner's Song. Kumar drives a group of four and sings and plays the harmonica. His style is profoundly affected by the Chicago electric blues—Muddy Water, Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson (both I and II) and Little Walter. The group, made up of observing blues fans, is getting a charge out of it, praising and longing for additional.
Be that as it may, at that point Kumar, 39, all of a sudden changes tack and breaks into Kishore Kumar's Dekha Na Haaye Re from the 1972 film Bombay To Goa. In contrast to numerous different pieces of the world, the Nordics are inexperienced with Bollywood movies or music. So the Hindi melody that Kumar breaks into could appear to be outsider. Be that as it may, there is something in particular about his style of combination that gets the group moving. Harmonica and electric guitar riffs mix with the verses as Kumar changes the old film melody into an uptempo blues tune. The group, a blend of youthful and moderately aged couples, breaks out on the move floor and, soon, it's a gathering. That night Kumar sang a few Hindi melodies—a few his own arrangements; others, film tunes—yet in addition numerous blues tunes.
That is the idea of Kumar's music: a combination of East and West however with the general feel of electric blues. Kumar's is an atypical story. In 1998, when the 18-year-old left Mumbai for the US to contemplate software engineering, he imagined the regular outsider's fantasy about clearing every one of the circles: getting a H1B visa, a vocation, green card, and in the end, citizenship. From the outset, it went as arranged. Kumar got a degree in software engineering and got a new line of work at programming firm Adobe in San Jose. In any case, incidentally, the blues occurred. He heard music by the monsters of the Chicago blues scene; and he heard British bluesmen, for example, John Mayall. It was such a staggering encounter, that Kumar chose to sing and play the blues himself. He got himself a harmonica and an instructor.
It wasn't hard for him to get the instrument. What's more, singing had consistently been a leisure activity. Raised on an eating routine of mixed music, kindness his folks (Telugu-talking mother and Kannada-talking father), his preferences for Mumbai went from jammin and fly to Hindi film melodies and Indian old style music. In the US, in any case, he found and succumbed to the blues. Before long, he was having influence time gigs with nearby bluesmen in the San Jose region. Furthermore, very little later, the penny dropped: He would not like to be a nerd yet a bluesman. Around 10 years back, when Kumar was laid off from his activity, it demonstrated to be a surprisingly beneficial turn of events. It was a reason to turn into a full-time performer.
He shaped his own band, which he leads and oversees himself, and one that before long got saw in the Bay Area, getting gigs at the nearby clubs and scenes. A record pursued—Don't Hold Back in 2014. It was a conventional blues collection, involving great sytheses by Memphis Slim, Hank Ballard and Snooky Pryor, yet additionally Kumar's very own blues tunes. Kumar is an extraordinary blues artist and has built up a trademark harmonica playing style that can be in your face and feisty—as great a mix as any for a blues performer. When that collection turned out, Kumar was a nomad live entertainer. A week ago, talking on Skype from San Jose, he revealed to me his paid gigs here and there number 250 of every a year.
In any case, it was in 2015 that another penny dropped. Donald Trump's presidential battle was gathering energy, and as a migrant, though all around incorporated into the American culture, Kumar felt a twinge of affront. "I burned through the entirety of my grown-up life attempting to assimilate and retain the American culture and lifestyle," says Kumar, "and afterward we were made to feel like pariahs." That feeling showed itself in a profound feeling of pride in his Indian legacy and roots, which he believed he needed to make open. He dug into Bollywood, the predominant factor in Indian mainstream society, and began doing his soul-filled renditions of Bollywood works of art, testing by foisting them on clueless American crowds of blues fans.
His "crucial", he calls it, was to give a crowd of people acquainted with the blues and its mood and structure something with an alternate turn. The trial worked. His mostly Western crowd found the lattice of electric customary blues and Hindi melodies novel and one of a kind, while others, for example, the Bay Area's not unimportant Indian migrant group, slurped up the Bollywood point. Two collections pursued—Aki Goes To Bollywood and Hindi Man Blues. Both have a sprinkling of traditional blues tunes however the Bollywood-bent tunes overwhelm. So there's Kumar's soul-filled interpretation of works of art, for example, Eena Meena Deeka, Chala Jaata Hoon, Baar Dekho and Dum Maro Dum, yet in addition tunes that will speak to blues perfectionists.
That blend has functioned admirably. Kumar has been visiting the US and Europe persistently in the previous scarcely any years however has never done a gig in his homeland. That changed for the current month. Right now, he's on visit to play a lot of Christmas and New Year's eve gigs in Delhi and Mumbai, joined by Vance Ehlers (bass), Rome Yamilov (guitar), both from the US, and Mikko Peltola from Finland on drums. It's an opportunity to see the geek turned-bluesman's particular interpretation of Bollywood music.
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