Indian Classical Music Meets Beat Box In 'Exit 1' | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : Tell Me More

Indian Classical Music Meets Beat Box In 'Exit 1'

Play associated audio

When you think of Indian classical music, you probably don't expect to hear beat box, or strains of jazz, and even rock. But that's exactly what Nistha Raj is all about. The violinist is mixing classical Hindustani music with modern sounds to bring it to a new generation of music lovers. Her debut album is titled Exit 1.

Raj joined Tell Me More host Michel Martin for a special conversation and performance, along with her musicians: Christylez Bacon on beat box and spoons, Sriram Gopal on drums, Geoffrey Rohrbach on piano, Rob Coltun on guitar, Ethan Foote on double bass, William Wytold on cello.

(Note: The performances were edited for air time. You can hear Raj's full songs at her website.)


Interview Highlights

How she got started in music

As a child, I was just drawn to music, and I started learning a lot of the instruments at my temple, where I would go all the time with my mom. ... I formally started learning the violin when I was in the fifth grade at school. And I had an interest in Indian classical music, but growing up in Texas, there really wasn't an opportunity especially to study Indian violin. So I started learning vocal, and I actually took a little bit of tabla classes, just to get introduced to the music. And I actually applied for a scholarship to go to India to study the music.

How people in India felt about Raj coming to study music

I would meet a lot of people, and they were just very confused why I would do that because to them, I left the American dream, basically. They all want to come to America, so they were shocked that I came all that way to study music. But I think people appreciated it too.

Mixing in different musical styles

It was sort of organic in that way that I just started working with some people, and I really liked the sound, and so that sort of inspired me to bring in different genres of music. And I also learned so much about music through the other musicians that I worked with, and their styles. My goal was really showcase Indian classical music in a way that is appealing to a wider audience, so they can get an interest in it and find the beauty that I see in it.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

An Outsider In Buenos Aires Goes Incognito, For Love Of Tango

Carolina de Robertis' new novel God of Tango centers on a 17-year-old widow, recently arrived from Italy with little besides a violin. It's Argentina, 1913 — and a magical new music fills the barrios.
NPR

Matt Stonie Downs 62 Hot Dogs For Coney Island Title

The new champion came in second last year in the annual contest put on by Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs, besting eight-time champ Joey "Jaws" Chestnut by 2 dogs.
NPR

A Reopened Embassy In Havana Could Be A Boon For U.S. Businesses

When the U.S. reopens its embassy in Havana, it will increase its staff. That should mean more help for American businesses hoping to gain a foothold on the Communist island.
NPR

Pilot In Solar-Powered Plane Sets Aviation Record

André Borschberg, flying Solar Impulse 2, set a new record of 120 hours in the cockpit on a journey from Japan to Hawaii.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.