Indian-born, San Jose-based 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. 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. Kumar’s follow-up album, Hindi Man Blues, boasts his most ambitious cross-cultural fusion to date, and features liner notes by veteran blues great Charlie Musselwhite. Kumar has performed at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, has been featured on PRI “The World,” and has toured in Russia and Scandinavia.
Aireene is a singer/songwriter playing mostly original songs accompanied by latin/african rhythms, folk, bluegrass pickings and inspirations from gospel music – a mix of stompin’, swayin’, and timeless Americana.
She was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States at 10 years old, growing up in the third culture: the old country, the new country and a blend of both worlds. Mainly influenced by listening to Alan Lomax’s field recordings from the South and growing up listening to her uncles’ Filipino folk guitar fingerpicking, her music is reminiscent of front porch storytelling, of ghosts and the living, times of laughter and tears. She tours solo as well as with her band as Aireene & The Itch, a mix of San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles musicians
This week I got to speak to Luke Yates. Luke is a young and focused musician. Multi-instrumentalist singer songwriter Luke Yates beguiles audiences with stories of love, lust, life, freedom and adventure. He draws on experiences from travelling the world with a guitar, vocal coaching for the world’s leading contemporary choir, managing a successful music venue and performing in over 80 countries. Last year Luke began working with mentor Judy Stakee (Gavin DeGraw, Sheryl Crow, Katy Perry, The Civil Wars). He’s spent time honing his craft with influences including Glen Hansard, Damien Rice, Regina Spektor, Jamie Cullum and Imogen Heap.