Brooklyn Raga Massive, a collective of musicians rooted in Indian classical music, have hosted a weekly concert series and jam session in Brooklyn for over three years. Through cross-cultural experimentations BRM has given birth to new musical genres. At Pioneer Works, BRM presents three of its premier bands defining the chamber jazz folk raga.
7PM Neel Murgai Ensemble
9PM Arun Ramamurthy Trio
The Neel Murgai Ensemble is the realization of Neel’s many years of experimentation in Indian classical music, free improvisation, modern compositional techniques, mathematical rhythmic structures and droning overtone minimalism. This group of stellar musicians, features Sameer Gupta (Marc Cary’s Focus Trio) on tabla, Carnatic violinist Arun Ramamurthy, Western and Carnatic trained violinist Train Basu, and classically trained Marika Hughes on cello. Together they create a raga-chamber jazz with Indian melody and rhythm, orchestral textures and ecstatic flights of improvisational fancy.
Karavika is a New York City based ensemble led by violinist Trina Basu and cellist Amali Premawardhana. As two artists with roots in India, Sri Lanka and North America, Trina and Amali aspire to discover and bring to light the music of their own cultural backgrounds as well as music from other parts of the world that has deeply inspired them. Drawing upon influences of nature, beauty, simple folk melodies and complex classical compositions, Karavika seeks to blend creative improvisations and arrangements with authentic traditions. They are joined by Perry Wortman on bass and collaborate with multiple Indian classical percussionists and other instrumentalists.
Led by a South Indian violinist, the Arun Ramamurthy Trio discovers new aspects of millennia-old pieces and moments of organic conversation between two traditions, both based on a balance of rigor and freedom. They stay true to the raga, the modes which form the melodic foundation for Indian classical composition, while finding the full sonic identity of a skilled ensemble. Yet sticking to the raga does not mean stumbling into sterile technical showmanship or pedantic strictness. Ramamurthy’s instrument soars and growls, sings and dances, in beautiful tandem with drummer Sameer Gupta and bassist Perry Wortman. With the perfect pitch of Indian classical violin and the gritty lilt of American fiddle, Ramamurthy goes to evocative places of longing and joy, sentiments common in Indian devotional music—and in certain strains of jazz