“Zindagi” (fyi, pronounced zin-duh-gee) means life. And it starts like this: “Walk with the dreams that lie in your heart/ Don't look back, keep moving forward./ Your ambitions are a melody. / Become its voice.”
We live in such dark times that Aki Kumar, whose lyrics usually lean toward the edgy and challenging, decided the world needed something closer to a kiss. But then, he’s used to upsetting expectations. Born in Mumbai, he came to the U.S. to be a software engineer, until he encountered the music of the blues. Goodbye coding, and hello, blues harmonica. Kumar fuses culture together by mixing the blues and bollywood. “Zindagi,” as you’ll discover, is basically a reggae tune sung in Hindi, appropriately presented on a beach in Northern California as shot by the outstanding videographer Jeremiah Hutchens, who also did Aki’s singles for Sony India. But there’s no gimmick in the song. As Downbeat opined, “the integrity of his music marks the difference between novelty and substance.” “Zindagi” comes from Little Village Foundation, a non-profit record company dedicated to shining a spotlight on music that you might not otherwise hear about—and you should definitely hear Aki. He remarked that “Zindagi” is basically “pandemic-induced creativity.” We can all use some of that.