PLEASE JOIN US IN SUPPORTING THESE WORKING MUSICIANS WHOSE ART AND SPIRIT CONTINUE TO UPLIFT AND SUSTAIN US.
Aki Kumar left his native home in Mumbai, India for the United States with the intention of working as a software engineer. Then he discovered the sounds of the blues, and his life changed dramatically. One of the hardest working artists on the live music scene today, this San Jose-based blues musician has successfully blended elements of Indian music into his musical and visual presentation, making for a multi-cultural mash-up that sounds like no one else, yet never loses touch with its blues foundation.
100% OF ALL DONATIONS OR PURCHASES GO DIRECTLY TO THE ARTISTS.
(Together, Little Village Foundation & Arhoolie Foundation will match the first $500 donated)
Sony Music Recording artist Aki Kumar, aka “The Only Bombay Blues Man,” left his home in Mumbai with the intention of working as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. Then he discovered the blues, and his life dramatically changed. Singing and playing harmonica, he steeped himself in the music and became a fixture in blues clubs throughout Northern California,where he developed an unique, audacious blend of Chicago-style blues which then led to playing retro Bollywood pop mixed with the blues.
When he began performing, Kumar initially attempted to downplay his ethnicity and perform straight, Chicago-style blues. “I wanted to make a statement that I was a traditional blues man, so I wanted to be playing blues and have nobody even wonder where I came from.” His attitude soon changed, and with his Little Village Foundation debut, Aki Goes to Bollywood, he began integrating elements of Indian music into his musical and visual presentation, making for a multi-cultural mash-up that sounds like no one else, yet never loses touch with its blues foundation.
That unique blend of East and West reached a new creative plateau on Aki’s second Little Village Foundation album, Hindi Man Blues, which boasts Aki’s most ambitious cross-cultural fusion to date, and features liner notes by veteran blues great Charlie Musselwhite. “My first album was really about my identity,” the artist states. “Now I feel it is time to be more direct about what’s happening out there in the world. The blues scene is my home, and the scene can be pretty conservative, but I want people to know where I stand. There’s a good amount of focus on Bollywood classics on the new album, and I even throw in a song about President Trump called ‘All Bark No Bite.’
Kumar’s visionary stylistic mix has already won him widespread attention. In addition to the local blues venues, where he’s built an enthusiastic audience, he’s performed at the prestigious Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, been featured on PRI “The World,” and has toured in Russia and Scandinavia. Now, after spending more than a decade developing his sound with the help of some of the Bay Area’s finest blues players, Aki Kumar continues to take his love for the blues to new and fascinating place.
In August 2019, Kumar recently made major news with the announcement of a record deal with Sony Music India and the world-wide launch of his debut single “Dilruba”.
Hailed as a star among the next generation of West Coast blues artists and versatile in many different styles of roots music, Kumar is equally at ease rocking a Jimmy Reed number in English as he is belting out a signature, swingin’ re-interpretation of a Bollywood classic in Hindi. Cleverly crafted originals featuring his masterful blues harmonica riffs are a highlight of this charismatic entertainer’s, hi-energy live performances.
ABOUT WORKING FROM HOME
Just about everyone has been affected by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the music world, no one knows when the box office will open again, and even as many of us return to work in the coming weeks and months, working musicians will continue to be cut off from the clubs, dancehalls, theaters, and festivals that sustain them. And the rest of us will be cut off, too, from something we need now more than ever. So we’re bringing the gigs to the artists, and the artists to you — straight from their living room to yours.
“Working from Home,” a co-production of the Arhoolie Foundation and Little Village Foundation, will feature intimate mini house concerts recorded live by traditional musicians around the country trying to make it through this current public health crisis doing what they do best. For every installment, we will provide links where you can give tips directly to the performers, and we will match the first $500 raised for each.