The Contrasts of Nistha Raj

Nistha Raj - Exit 1
Nistha Raj – Exit 1
Nistha Raj

Exit 1 (Nistha Raj, 2014)

Indian music has been mixed with all types of musical genres and instruments. On this occasion, skilled Indian American violinist Nistha Raj collaborates with beatboxer Christylez Bacon. The musical selection includes a combination of original compositions by Raj, adaptions of Indian ragas, jazz influences, rearrangements of Bollywood music, Chinese connections, flamenco echoes, and even a Serbian folk song.

People relate to beats and seeing us together crossing so many boundaries,” says Nistha Raj. “While everyone knows the violin, most don’t know it in Indian music. Presenting it this way makes it accessible to anybody, to all ages.”

Exit 1 has a fine balance between slow tempo pieces and upbeat material. Nistha Raj’s music stands out when she focuses on her Indian roots and uses tabla, mridangam and Peruvian cajón. One of Nistha Raj’s intentions is to showcase the similarities and distinctions between the Carnatic (South Indian) and Hindustani traditions

Exit 1 “is not a classical album. It’s rooted in Hindustani music, but it’s a crossover,” reveals Raj. “This album is the first stop on my musical journey. That why I called it Exit 1. Music is and has always been a journey for me and sometimes I don’t know where the music will lead me but that excites me. This is my first album and it documents all the different collaborations so far on my journey.”

The lineup on includes Nistha Raj on violin, beatboxer Christylez Bacon tabla maestro Debu Nayak, Carnatic violinist Rangashree Varadarjan, mrigandam (a double headed drum) player Ajay Ravichandran, Behzad Habibzai on cajon, cellist Wytold, Aakash Mital on saxophone, Geoff Rohrback on piano, Rob Coltun on guitar, Ethan Foote on doublebass, Sriram Gopal on drumset and percussion, Anqi Xue on violin, and Duff Davis on guitar.

Exit 1 showcases a talented young violinist who is exploring her Indian roots and global music.

Buy the digital version of Exit 1

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