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Karyshma At MIT

Benefit Concert for India Quake Victims

By Chaitra Chandrasekhar

Staff writeR

East met west, raga blended with rock, and taal with funk, to give “groove” when Karyshma, the Indo-American band, played to a 900-strong crowd in Kresge on Saturday night. The upcoming band, Karyshma, with five South Asian-American musicians, is one of the pioneers of the new genre of Indo-American music, harmoniously blending mellifluous strains of South Asia with the music of America in an amazing insight into the soul of fusion. With strong musical background apparent in their confident playing, the band kept the crowd cheering through the three-hour explosion of music.

This event was presented by Sangam in association with Karyshma, Association for India’s Development (AID), and students of numerous Boston schools and colleges, including Harvard and Northeastern. The proceeds of the show will go towards aiding the earthquake victims in the Indian state of Gujarat. The earthquake (7.7 on the Richter scale) on the night of January 26, 2001, caused large-scale death and destruction, killing an estimated 100,000 and leaving 250,000 homeless.

The night began with “Eastbound,” an instrumental sojourn into the heart of South Asia where the masterly skills of the four instrumentalists was brought to the forefront.

The superlative voices and performance of the singers bloomed in the next song from the sensuous Indian raga charukeshi. The rendition of Manna Dey’s “Ae mere pyare watan” was well done. This was followed by an upbeat Rajasthani song, “Ghumar.” The rock influence on Indian music was prevalent from the “Dum Maro Dum” song in the ’60s. The first part of the show ended with a classical music jugalbandhi (performance with two musicians), morphed into a “triplebandhi” by the enterprising band.

After a brief intermission, the audience came back ready for another dose of the refreshing and rejuvenating Karyshma. The prayer “Aum” was dedicated to the Earthquake victims in Gujarat. “Man” was Falguni’s (the lead singer’s) debut in English. This was followed by “Chelaji” and a patriotic Bengali baul song. “Vande mataram,” a tribute to Mother India, and “Driving You,” a tribute to Dave Matthews Band, were the next songs performed. The night ended with a beautiful composition, “Empty,” showcasing the diversity and variety of the band’s excellent repertoire.

This talented group seems all set to go to great heights in their aim of preserving and reinterpreting the timeless heritage of South Asian music and culture for modern times. By blending South Asian classical and folk with diverse Western musical styles, Karyshma draws the rising generation of South Asians closer to their cultural roots, and at the same times attracts countless others to the magic of South Asia.