What occurs when quintessential American blues music fuses with India’s quintessential Bollywood pop?
Magic on the dance flooring.
When Indian-born bluesman Aki Kumar performed the ninth annual House Rockin’ Blues Review at El Casino Ballroom on Friday, Aug. 5, it did not matter that he spent half of his 90 minutes singing in his native Hindi and that nobody may perceive what he was singing.
The soundtrack to these overseas lyrics given a bluesified makeover was poppin’ with an infectious vitality that lured the group of a number of hundred away from their tables and onto the dance flooring. Kumar proved a common reality about music: When it is good, it defies labels and language boundaries.
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And Kumar’s music was good. Actually good in that approach that has you bobbing your head and doing a clumsy two-step even when you do not have a dance companion.
Kumar’s live performance at El On line casino — a fundraiser for KXCI community radio — was his first ever in Tucson. Judging by the viewers’s thunderous applause and embrace, it definitely will not be his final.
It might be simple to say that a part of the attract of his present was curiosity: What does Bollywood blues sound like precisely and the way does a man from Bombay, India — practically 9,000 miles from the El On line casino Ballroom in South Tucson — open his mouth and sound a lot like a Chicago bluesman?
Kumar answered with a soulful baritone and dynamic generally frenetic stage presence that conjured the soul of blues from a spot you’d hardly count on from somebody who did not develop up listening to it. He break up his present evenly between songs sung in English and in his native Hindi, drawing from his 4 studio albums and handful of singles recorded over the past decade.
He performed harmonica like he was Eddie Van Halen unleashing a monster guitar solo in “Eruption,” lengthy bursts that had some within the crowd whistling assist. He effected slightly little bit of a Prince swagger — the R&B legend’s horny finger wag and delicate hip twist — when he sang “Ruxanna” off his critically-acclaimed album “Hindi Man Blues,” and practically nailed the nasal twang on George Jones’ 1965 traditional nation tune “Nothing Can Cease My Loving You.”
He dug deep within the blues vault for “Sonny Boy” Williamson’s late Nineteen Thirties harmonica-blazing “Early within the Morning” (aka “Bout the Break of Day”) earlier than glimpsing the style’s future together with his newest unique single, “Zindagi” (pronounced zin-duh-gee).
With every track he sang, whether or not in Hindi or English, the group on the dance flooring swelled and a sea of largely older of us tried to maintain time and rhythm to Kumar’s vitality.
That is one other common music reality Kumar taught us: If music strikes you — transfer.
Tucson blues artists Heather Hardy & The Dusty City Blues Band opened the present, which highlighted Hardy’s fantastic blues vocals and uncanny chops on electrical violin. At occasions her violin seemed like Kumar’s harmonica and different occasions took on the sonic flare of a saxophone.
Hardy and the band are set to play Resort Congress’ Cookout present on the plaza stage Aug. 28. For tickets and particulars go to hotelcongress.com.
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @Starburch