One of driving purposes of Harmonium Music is the celebration not just of South Asian music but the music made by the South Asian diaspora. In our experience, these two communities—South Asian music fans and the diaspora musicians—have very little contact. The latter group—diaspora musicians—draw deeply on the roots of their communities, families and countries-of-origin to give their music its true colour. Though they may be infrequent visitors to their ancestral lands, they are compelled to channel the Spirit, the rooh, of the places their fathers and mothers left behind. And though they may make music that has only the most tenuous aural similarities with the music of the sub-continent, they cannot imagine making music that does not pay its respects to those traditions.
Like any diaspora South Asian musicians are adept at, indeed required to, move seamlessly between multiple cultures and inhabit multiple identities at the same time. The question of identity and of which label to affix to them is urgent only for the outsider. For them they simply are who they are. Born of South Asian parents into a non South Asian society. Their loyalties as well as their muses are not static.
Rez Abbasi is a Pakistani-American jazz guitarist widely acknowledged as being one of the best and brightest of his generation. Recently ranked #1 Jazz Rising Star guitarist in the prestigious Down Beat Critics Poll, Rez’s guitar playing and compositions have been labelled, ‘pure genius’ by the authoritative on-line jazz magazine All About Jazz.
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