Interviews/Press

Aki Kumar Combines the Blues With Bollywood Moves ​​​​​ - Billboard.com, Aug 2018

Little Village Showcase at Freight & Salvage - Silicon Valley's Metro, Aug 2018

COVER STORY! Bollywood Blues: Channeling Memphis and Mumbai, Aki Kumar Crafts a Bi-Continental Sound - Metro Silicon Valley, Oct 2016


Hardly Strictly Bluegrass: Best Moments from Sunday - SFGate,com - Oct 2016

Aki Kumar Fuses Blues and Bollywood - SF Chronicle - Oct 2016

Blowin' the Blues Bollywood Style  California Report - Sept 2016

I Wanted To Be Bigger Than Bill Gates - But I Fell in Love With The Blues - PRI's "The World" - July 2016


What America Sounds Like - India Currents Magazine - June 2016

Tuning Back - Almaden Resident - June 2016

 


Album Reviews
 

Hindi Man Blues

"...Kumar stands out in ways that challenge the standards reviewers typically rely on when assessing a new harp record. Indeed, describing this breathtaking release as unique or innovative, while accurate, fails to capture the scope of Kumar’s vision."

Living Blues Magazine, August 2018

".Charlie Musselwhite-endorsed Aki Kumar proves to traditionalists that singing in Hindi can co-exist with Chicago blues conventions. This Indian-American’s intense sense of musical discovery as an able vocalist and harmonica player drives worry-and-regret makeovers of Bollywood film songs and adds bounce to a reggae version of “Watermelon Man.” Boosted by top West Coast blues personnel and cross-cultural extras, Kumar proves that the integrity of his music marks the difference between novelty and substance. The best of his three albums. "

Downbeat Magazine, July 2018
 

"Aki Kumar is at it again playing music in a genre that he alone inhabits. This Indian bornand San Jose, California, based blues man is doing something that has never been done or likely even considered. In 2016, Kumar released an album called Aki Goes To Bollywood. Here in 2018, with Hindi Man Blues, he continues this wild exploration into the music of his homeland and combining those thematic musical elements with the blues music of his adopted country. On Hindi Man Blues, Kumar again offers up a disc that has something likely to offend everyone. It is why I like it so much. Kumar scores big points with me by writing and performing an original tune entitled All Bark and No Bite about Trump. While this record may not be for everyone, it is for those with an open mind and adventurous spirit. Either way, Aki Kumar should be applauded for choosing his own path which speaks to the height of creativity and fearlessness."
David Mac. Blues Junction Productions, July 2018

"...the new album leaps off that bridge into the unknown, and I love the heck out of it"
Jim Washburn, OCWeekly, July 2018


Aki Goes To Bollywood

""Really really really hot stuff... Anything you want to call it, it is a barn burner."

Elwood Blues aka Dan Aykroyd, TheBluesMobile.com Aug 2016


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


"...an unexpected and unexpectedly wonderful meeting of American blues and Indian pop...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."


"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...Aki Goes to Bollywood represents the height of creativity and fearlessness. Aki Kumar should be commended for embracing his past and blending that with his adopted true love, the blues."


"Kumar sings in Hindi, which adds some Vindaloo heat"

Frank John-Hadley, Downbeat Magazine, Aug 2016

"What I hear is an original, dynamic, and completely convincing fusion of two radically different things — commercial Indian film-score music and American blues, the latter ranging from Deep South Mississippi tonalities to 50's Los Angeles Central Avenue R&B. My ears, attuned to 12-bar structures, can recognize that some of the songs spend most of the time moving through Bollywood changes, then dip down and stabilize into the blues' harmonica home ground for a harmonica or guitar solo before surfacing once again in Mumbai. That's one way of weaving two traditions together and giving both traditions a kick in the pants."
Adam Gussow (ModernBluesHarmonica.com), Read the full review here

Italian Review - "Eppure esistono svariati motivi per cui conviene mettere da parte le proprie resistenze: in primis c’è un lavoro di arrangiamento estremamente curato che rende ognuna delle 14 tracce un episodio unico, sorprendente; in secondo luogo è si tratta di un disco suonato magistralmente (accanto ad Aki – dotato di gran voce – figurano personaggi come Jim Pugh al pianoforte e soprattutto il chitarrista “Kid” Andersen, la cui mente criminale fornisce un contributo fondante all’equilibrio generale dell’album)" 
Peter Rubino, IlPopolodelblues Aug 2016