It was a cool experience socializing in the retro-tribal studio at the legendary Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan. It was a meeting of minds: the trendy, the hip, the community members, the artist’s family, and active members of the music industry. Progress was in the making.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend a private listening party for Anjali Paray’s newest musical innovation “Big Human.” Before the album was played the Arranger and Producer and noted percussionist Bashiri Johnson showed his appreciation for Anjali’s talent. His work was imperative in the whole process of recording the sophisticated contemporary album. Darren Moore, the engineer of the album noted “Big Human” is “A gift to the world.”
The album consists of six tracks that as I say, “Has a little something for everyone.” There’s a rock jam, a love song, a soulful tune, and “Lay Your Hands On Me” which is a fusion of tabla rhythms, Caribbean undertones, and Arabic beats. After hearing the entire album most of the attendees agreed, the music needs to be on the radio!
The album’s content as much fusion as it is innovation, brought many musical artists of the community and city out to appreciate Anjali and her work. Among the crowd was Avirodh Sharma, a percussionist and member of the East Indian Music Academy who has created a new initiative called “Globalstan” linking cultural music together, and Inti and The Moon, a group of diverse musicians who after playing in the Subway and gaining much recognition, actually won a competition for the NYC MTA Under the Arts Program and obtained a license to play in Times Square.
Numerous community members and youth came out to support Anjali in her new album. The dynamic mix of individuals from various fields of work created an event that was filled with new ideas and progress. I spoke to Kishore Seunarine a writer and actor performing in plays and in films such as “Karma: A Love Story” and Rose Hyder, the 7:00-9:30 AM host on the radio station Bachannal Radio. It was then that I realized the community members present were among the most innovative in culture and the arts. Kishore explained to me his desire to record an audiobook for a West Indian author and Rose elaborated on the selection of “radio-friendly” West Indian music for her radio program which connects Indo-Caribbeans across the world in London, Trinidad, and America. It was important for both of these individuals to promote Indo-Caribbeans in their work.
As I eagerly met familiar community faces, I came across new faces that were important to the music industry. One individual explained to me his work in the music business as a writer and producer for the website SonicScoop which is a site based on NYC’s music and sound creations. After noting the issues with online music and the temptation to download it for free, he explained his idea that the future of the music industry just might be Spotify.com. Spotify has been all the rage in Europe, but it is being introduced now in the States as a web service that delivers free music on a similar format to iTunes. The website gains revenue through ads without charging the music users. I liken it to Facebook where we don’t pay for the service but are marketed other services through the ads on the side of the page. This conversation showed me that even the music industry was taking some changes and innovations.
The music listening party was a meeting of minds from those in the city and those in the Indo-Caribbean community. The great thing about the gathering was that it originated from a community member, who lives, breathes, and craves music. The artist Anjali helped to link our community with a large music industry that accepts the new, original, and good music from different cultures.