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by Sachyn Mital

12 Feb 2016


Violinist Dr. L Subramaniam presented his Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival, in collaboration with the World Music Institute, in New York at the 92Y on 5 February 2016. It was a rare US performance, his first here since 2006, for the classically and traditionally trained virtuoso. The crowd at the Y was markedly different from that at a typical event—a sea of brown faces, including mine, turned up (and I believe security seemed heavier than normal inside and with at least one police officer positioned outside the venue).

L. Subramaniam was accompanied by a small group for a mesmerizing Carnatic performance that went over ninety minutes. Seated on the Dr.‘s left was his son, Ambi Subramaniam, an acclaimed violinist in his own right. To the side of the father and son were Mahesh Krishnamurthy on mridangam and Ravi Balasubramaniam slapping the ghatam (essentially a clay pot). The elder Subramaniam introduced each of his pieces, the ragas, explaining the time signatures and the key changes. The first raga was Varnam and it began with him solo, then transitioned into a violin call and response with his son before the percussion joined in. Time flew by during the performance as the rich sonics resonated in the auditorium.

by Sachyn Mital

1 Feb 2016


As one of PopMatters’ “Musical Hopes to Break Out in 2016”, Julien Baker is unsurprisingly a very talented artist. What might be surprising to some is that her music is regularly somber and occasionally devastating emotionally. Her sparse debut album Sprained Ankle, released in October 2015, has tough songs that deal with loneliness and depression. This winter, Baker has been generating a lot of buzz on the back of her emotional solo performances.

by Greg M. Schwartz

28 Jan 2016


Photo: Stuart Levine

It was a Wednesday night in the City of Angels and the local freak power congregation was out in force to hear Chris Robinson and company testify. The former Black Crowes vocalist has achieved a rare feat with the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, striking sonic gold with a second band after the dissolution of the one that made him a rock star. But that’s what “farm to table rock ‘n roll” is all about as the band calls it, a down to earth organic formula of devotion to the rock gods and muses.

by Sachyn Mital

21 Jan 2016


The annual Winter Jazz Fest in New York City features dozens of acts performing in several venues in and around the East and West Village. This year, one of the most diverse offerings was Brooklyn-based group Red Baraat who serve up a fusion of bhangra, qawwali, funk, jazz and rock plus the addition of a guitarist recently has given their music a new edge. Red Baraat’s set at Le Poisson Rouge followed a set from Sex Mob, a band with a twenty year history behind them. Magnet Magazine described the Mob, “led by slide trumpeter/master of ceremonies Steven Bernstein, the Mob titillated the crowd with their unique New York values and muscular musicianship.” After some turn over in the crowd, a younger and more ethnically mixed crowd made their way to the front, Red Baraat took the stage to power through eight songs and get people dancing. Sinewy Eastern guitar sounds intro-ed “Zindabad” and then the dance party was underway. The audience was superlative, smiling wholeheartedly and dancing as if a fever overtook them. Photos from the wild show plus tour dates for Red Baraat follow below.

by Greg M. Schwartz

15 Jan 2016


If it seems like Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio just can’t stand still, it’s probably because he’s one of those musicians who just has to keep busy because his devotion to the musical muses demands it. This has been a boon for fans who can never get enough live music as Anastasio’s musical wheel keeps turning. They’d prefer Phish year round since the influential jamrock band has been at the top of their game in recent years, but they’ll follow Anastasio’s exploits in any format offered. They just call him Trey, though, since their musical bond makes him seem like an old friend, even if they’ve never had the chance to meet.

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