Attention Nirali readers in DC: Are you experiencing a long-weekend hangover? Is it hard to slog through the work week after three glorious days off? Break up the monotony by checking out Duology tonight, performing live at 8 p.m. at DC’s The Red and the Black.
You’ll groove to Duology’s self-described improvisational music that will “stimulate the mind and body” and “take you on a musical journey that reflects the ethnic roots of its members, the spice of Latin America, their extensive studies of straight-ahead jazz, and the funky sounds of their hometown, Washington, D.C.”
Duology is the collaboration between buddies Sriram Gopal (drumset and percussion) and Geoff Rohrbach (keyboards and flute). Nirali talked to Duology’s Gopal to find out how the band came to be.
How did you guys get started? What’s your sound like?
Geoff and I played in a Latin fusion quintet from 2002-2004. That band dissolved but the two of us enjoyed playing together, so we formed The Duology Band in 2004. Geoff writes most of the material and I book all the gigs. It’s a good division of labor.
We play instrumental jazz fusion. Until this year, our gigs were mainly in jazz clubs around DC/Baltimore, but our sound has become more “rocked” out recently and so we’ve started trying to get gigs in rock clubs. We put out a CD, One and One Makes One, in September 2005.
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I’ve been harboring somewhat of a perma-crush on Voxtrot ever since I interviewed the band’s frontman, Ramesh Srivastava, back in October. My mind spoke in exclamations as I devoured the band’s EPs: Indie rock without pretension! Dance-worthy music that isn’t brainless! A desi musician who doesn’t feel the need to do “fusion”!
Voxtrot has followed a somewhat unusual release schedule. When the band signed with Beggars Group in 2006, it surprised fans by following up its first two self-financed EPs with yet another shortened album rather than the long-awaited full-length record. The band members took their time getting there, so I was beyond excited when I learned that Voxtrot was finally releasing a LP, and even more excited when I learned I could get my hands on that self-titled album (due today, May 22).
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And rising star Sona Mohapatra (her debut album Sona was recently released on Sony BMG) fit the bill perfectly.
“They chose to go with me as they felt my voice would complement their lead singer J D Fortune,” Mohapatra told Toe Knee Unplugged. The result, this soulful rendering of the hit track Afterglow, has been received very favorably:
Mohapatra, who has an engineering degree and MBA, left behind a corporate job after years of trying to juggle singing, with her career as a brand manager in Mumbai. “I wanted to spend much more time pursuing my singing – I wanted to learn, go places, travel,” she says. “The idea of the album was shaping up and I wanted to fully work on this. That’s when I decided to quit.”
“I think I can be part of that set of people who can define contemporary Indian sound outside of just film music.”
interpretation of Aaja Ve is also totally worth a listen (watch the video here).
Visit SonaTheArtist.Com for details on, um, Sona the artist.
Nirali‘s own Arun Kale, founder of Split magazine, weighs in on India’s thriving rock scene.
M.I.A.‘s Hit That was leaked yesterday on ATL producer Bangladesh‘s MySpace. Bangladesh (neé Shondrae Crawford) did the beats for the track and in the past has done work for Missy Elliott (Click Clack) and most recently, he’s done Kelis‘ Bossy.
The song is reportedly to turn up on M.I.A.’s upcoming album Kala… it’s not as strong as Bird Flu, in my opinion, but it’s always fun to hear references to Wreckx-N-Effect. Hot.
UPDATE: The song Hit That will not be on Kala as previously reported.
On Saturday, May 26, Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square will welcome Canada’s finest desi artists in celebration of South Asian Heritage Month.
The RBC desiFEST is free and open to the public.
Go for the performances, stay for the (free!) cooking demos, dance and music workshops.
Visit DesiFest.ca for details.
U.S.-based nonprofit Funkar International preserves and promotes Kashmiri folk arts, with a special focus on folk music. Its latest recording is “Maenzraath [Night of Henna]—Kashmiri Wedding Songs,” a collection including devotional songs, love songs and poetry.
In keeping with the title, a number of the songs feature henna-themed lyrics like those of Track Number 8:
Make way for the henna bowl,
Let’s color our hands with henna
The night is full of desire
Henna is from the heavens
Recorded in Srinagar, Kashmir, and featuring singers Manzoor Shah, Gul Akhtar, Hasina Akhtar and Mahnaaz performing the kind of music often heard in the informal setting of a Kashmiri wedding, “Maenzraath” includes vanvun—somber supplications to God sung by women to bless and protect the couple—as well as more upbeat songs accompanied by tumbakhnaer (traditional Kashmiri drum).
Listen to audio samples, see pictures of the recording session, and browse through the CD booklet online, where it is available for purchase.
Tonight’s the night: Basement Bhangra 10-Year Birthday Bash. Join the inimitable DJ Rekha and a gaggle of special guests (Panjabi MC, The Dhol Foundation, Bikram Singh) for a BB party you won’t forget.
Basement Bhangra Birthday Bash
Friday, April 20
Doors open at 9 p.m.
Manhattan Center Studios
Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 W. 34th St.
Ticketmaster or SOB Box Office (212.307.7171)
His final song as a contestant on American Idol was Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About,” and that’s just what Sanjaya Malakar gave America for the last nine weeks, alternately exasperating and thrilling audiences with his morphing hairstyles and wacky performances. But it all came to an end this week as the 17-year-old from Washington state was finally booted from the show. In his farewell performance, Sanjaya crooned, “Let’s give them something to talk about—other than hair.”
That, Sanjaya, is why your fanjayas love you.
And maybe also because of this: “Before I was on American Idol, I loved to walk on the street singing very, very loudly. So if you ever saw a little Indian kid walking around singing, it was probably me.”
Many South Asians in America also got a kick out of Sanjaya’s success, even if they didn’t all agree on if he deserved to keep advancing. His father, Vasudeva Malakar (who came to the U.S. as a Hare Krishna pujari and met Sanjaya’s mother, also a Krishna devotee at the time), told the Indian Web site Rediff that “People of Indian origin here and in India love him. I will not be surprised if more and more Indian kids show up in this competition in its next season.”
The soft-spoken Sanjaya talked about his Idol run today—free from the sequestration the contestants face:
How surprised are you by all the fans you’ve formed over the last few weeks on Idol?
It’s crazy. I knew the show was big, but I had no idea how big it really was and how much impact it had.
Did you see it coming last night, especially when Ryan looked at you?
When we saw the show on Tuesday, I kind of had a feeling. I was in the dumps all day on Wednesday. I kind of knew.
Are you and your sister, Shyamali, going to form a duo now?
I think that we’re probably going to sing together. I don’t know if we’re going to become a duo band but I think that we will definitely sing together.
Mmmmm. Me loves Goldspot.
The fabulous five-some have released a new video on YouTube for their single, “Rewind,” which will be officially released later this month on MTV. The song is super sweet and super catchy and the video shows the band going backwards through time with appropriate styling to match.
Love how they’re dressed and the film treatments for each era … Especially the 70s bit with the washed out yet saturated color in the black frame.
American Idol’s Malakar is still going strong. In celebration, comedian Smooth E has released this tribute video, now being wildly circulated through cyberspace: