Photos: Anjali Ray Live at Jamsteady, Kolkata
The California-based contemporary pop singer performed at the weekly gig series alongside Kolkata musicians such as guitarist Amyt Datta, bassist Mainak Bumpy Nag Chowdhury and drummer Jivraj Singh
American-Indian singer Anjali Ray probably knows more than anybody else that music isn’t rocket science. A contemporary pop singer, Ray uses piano-based melodies coupled with Hindustani classical rhythms. That’s when she’s not a rocket science engineer and a mother. On her recently released debut album Indigo, Ray — who who was raised in Delhi and currently stays in California city — gives voice to her experiences as an individual. She is currently on an India tour to promote Indigo.
Ray was in Kolkata at weekly gig series Jamsteady, performing alongside guitarist Amyt Datta, drummer Jivraj Singh and bassist Mainak ‘Bumpy’ Nag Chowdhury. Last week, the artist kicked off her India tour in Delhi, joined by guitarist-producer Aditya Balani, drummer Suyash Gabriel and bassist Amar Pandey. Ray says about collaborating with Indian artists, “It’s nothing short of astounding. Amyt, Jiver, and Bumpy are truly the best of the best, and they brought a very distinctive sound to their interpretation of my music. Their skill and musicianship encouraged me to let the specifics of the album go and just enjoy the new live concoction they brewed.” Ray will return to Delhi this week, with shows at Out of the Box Café on April 7th and Depot29 on April 10th.
With just two rounds of rehearsals before each show, Ray says she didn’t set her expectations too high about the crowd reception. However, she adds, “It was a true treat for me to be able to tell some of the stories behind the songs, which I think enhances the experience for everyone, and gives some context. My music has always been more of the ‘active listening’ type and doesn’t make for good background or ambient music, so it fit perfectly.”
While her track “Indigo Boy” was in the running for a nomination in the Best Pop Solo Performance category at this year’s Grammy awards, she has often joked that she lost out to making the final cut due to “some girl named Taylor Swift”. Ray is now looking ahead, with plans to write more material. She says, “I’m looking forward to getting back in that headspace. But I think the subject matter will be changing too, as I leave early motherhood behind and move into a new chapter.”
Interview and photos: Margub Ali