Interview with Atash: Mesmerizing, Rebellious World Music…From Texas! Playing LA Sep. 28!

by Tom Nguyen

Atash, an amazing band from Austin, comes to play Los Angeles on Sunday, September 28, at The Mint, and I’ve been addicted to the music on their new album Everything is Music from first listen. They play an original blend of Persian, Middle Eastern, Indian and African rhythms that truly transcends boundaries and I was astounded such a rich, exotically vibrant sound was coming out of Texas of all places!

Well, I had a chance to talk to Roberto Paulo Riggio, the musical director of the 9 member collective and he gave me a fascinating education! Read on about how rich a musical tradition and epicenter Austin, Texas is, for attracting musicians from around the world, their long journey to forming Atash around the pivotal moment of 9/11, and how their music is anything but traditional!

Inspired by mystical Sufism, their music is uninhibited and unafraid to blend and arrange traditional music in new richly layered textures and sounds. Most of all, their mesmerizing music and rebellious lyrics are about bringing people together in the spirit of peace, love, and celebration!

Listen to the song Talangor (Flick!) as singer Mohammad Firoozi recites a poem by Sufi mystic Rumi and read our interview with Atash!

I am not white, I am not black
I am not a follower, I am not a leader
I am not a slave to religion
      I am not as they have said I am
      I am not as you have heard I am
You are the one
You have been seeking your whole life
You are the world itself
You are the moment of love itself

Continue Reading →

Weekly Music Discovery: Tara Priya

This is my first of what will be regular weekly new artist discoveries! Most new music I discover listening to my favorite radio station, internationally known KCRW. I am a part of a few groups of music lovers on Facebook and World Music – The Music Journey is one of my favorite new music blogs. I hear a lot of new artists live at School Night, my favorite weekly music night in Los Angeles. I’m surprised how many new artists I discover through random Youtubing and their recommendations. Of course, I’m fortunate to have so many great friends with wider knowledge and richer music palettes than myself and word of mouth and stalking their Facebook music posts yields wonders! But none of those led to me to Tara Priya — I usually ignore the tiny Facebook ads & recommendations but hers caught my eye and wow what a wonderful random find! I was immediately smitten by her sultry voice, sassy persona and interesting background. Continue Reading →

11th Annual Indian Film Festival April 9-14

indian film
The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is a nonprofit organization devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films, supporting emerging filmmakers, recognizing the leadership of entertainment industry performers and business executives, and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora. The 11th Annual IFFLA will take place April 9-14, 2013 at ArcLight Hollywood, the elegant, state-of-the-art facility at Sunset and Vine in Hollywood. Besides the film screenings, seminars and awards, there are special events like Family Day on Sat. April 13, and Rhythm Village, where festival and ArcLight Hollywood guests have the unique opportunity to experience free live dance and music performances at the ArcLight Courtyard throughout the 6-day festival. Rhythm Village is celebrating its sixth year anniversary in 2013. Here are just some of the amazing films showing this week at the festival. Continue Reading →

Pravini US Tour and Exclusive Interview

Pravini, soul singer and songwriter from Netherlands, will be touring the US from April 19th to May 4th with 4 stops in the LA area. I was intrigued by Pravini’s eclectic fusion of soul, hiphop, Indian and South American rhythms and in researching her diverse heritage, I learned that there has been a strong, thriving East Indian community in Suriname, a former Dutch colony in South America, since the 1800s. Many emigrated to Netherlands, where Pravini was born, and she has really broken boundaries there and put a spotlight on the rich, diverse talent of the Dutch-Indian-Surinamese community. Pravini is excited to be performing her new music in the US and was gracious enough to grant me an interview, so enjoy her new single Move Me to Tears and read on! Continue Reading →