Aki Goes To Bollywood - PRESS KIT

An unprecedented mashup of Retro Bollywood Music & American Blues

Aki Kumar is no stranger to living double lives. The now professional harmonica player grew up in Mumbai, India and studied traditional Hindustani music at the age of 9 years old. The pursuit of a college degree in the USA landed him at San Jose State in California in 1999, followed by a steady “day job” as a software engineer. But, by night, Aki had begun exploring and hanging out at blues clubs in the SF Bay Area, and was especially drawn to the wailing, toneful sound of the blues harmonica. He soon began performing his own brand of Chicago blues at local venues and is now hailed as one of the top rising stars of the West Coast Blues scene. 2016 marks a milestone for Aki as he’s spent half his life in India and half in the United States. His debut album for Little Village Foundation, Aki Goes To Bollywood, is a true representation of his musical DNA — classic 1950s/60s Bollywood and down-home American blues. Recorded at San Jose's world renowned Greaseland studios and co-produced by Aki Kumar along with multiple-BMA nominee/winner Kid Andersen and Little Village Foundation's Jim Pugh, this project features outstanding music delivered by the SF Bay Area's finest blues musicians.

Though some instrumental albums and DJs have attempted to rearrange Bollywood music mixed with other genres, never before has an Indian blues musician so triumphantly recorded songs by the film industry’s biggest stars such as Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, R.D. Burman, and S.D. Burman. Aki Kumar notes, “I realized that many of the Indian songs I loved had, in fact, been influenced by American blues music and I wanted to bring them together.” Aki Goes To Bollywood blends sitars with Delta blues jams, Hindi vocals with ferocious harp playing. Aki has single-handedly created Mumbai Meets Muddy, his own blues movement. For the album’s cover, Aki emulates his childhood hero and mega-star, Amitabh Bachchan.

"Really really really hot stuff... it is a barn burner."  

Elwood Blues aka Dan Aykroyd, TheBluesMobile.com

"Aki Kumar has combined the two disparate genres in an unforced musical fusion never before attempted and has pulled it off with breathtaking aplomb."

Lee Hildebrand, Living Blues Magazine

"This isn’t so much east meets west. It is east smashes into west (or visa versa) on a muddy road somewhere in Mississippi or Calcutta… represents the height of creativity and fearlessness..."

David Mac, Blues Junction Productions

"...the songs find a great balance between the styles, the best featuring stinging guitar lines, roiling piano, hard-four beats and Kumar’s blowzy harp fitting perfectly with the buoyant froth of some classic Bollywood production numbers...It’s Chicago deep-dish pizza — masala style."

Take Two, Tuesday Reviewsday, KPCC 89.3FM


Festival Appearances

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2016
San Jose Jazz Festival 2016
Portland Waterfront Blues Festival 2016
Poor House Bistro Lil' Easy Backyard Party 2016

Album/Artist Details

Title - Aki Goes To Bollywood
Artist - Aki Kumar
Released on - July 15, 2016
Label - Little Village Foundation

UPC Code - 801655377123
Producers - Aki Kumar, Kid Andersen, Jim Pugh
Executive Producer - Jim Pugh
Recorded at - Greaseland Studios
Artist website - akikumar.com
PR Contact - Jesse Cutler jesse@jpcutlermedia.com
Booking Inquiries - Aki Kumar
408.757.7358 | akikumar@gmail.com

Track Listing 

  1. Badan Pe Sitaare   3:37
  2. Eena Meena Deeka   4:07
  3. Jaan e Jaan   6:04
  4. Kisi Ki Muskurahaton Pe   4:38
  5. Chala Jaata Hoon   4:13
  6. My Home Is A Prison   5:37
  7. Jaanu Meri Jaan   5:19
  8. Pukarta Chala Hoon Mein   4:00
  9. Hai Apna Dil   3:47
  10. Baar Baar Dekho   4:35
  11. Back To Bombay  5:25 (original song)

Album Personnel

Aki Kumar - vocals, harmonica
Kid Andersen - guitar, sitar, bg vocals (track 2), percussion
Jim Pugh - piano, organ, harmonium
June Core - drums, tabla
Vance Ehlers - bass
Joe Kyle Jr. - bass (tracks 3,5 and 7)
Lisa Leuschner Andersen - background vocals (tracks 2, 3)
Farris Jarrah - trombone (track 8)
John Halbleib - trumpet (track 8)
Eric Spaulding - sax (tracks 4 and 8)
Apu Kumar - whistle (track 4)