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Video: Clara May ”“ “American Desi”

Watch the Chicago-based rock band’s new video about Indian immigrants

Rolling Stone India Oct 01, 2013
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How did a Chicago rock band take it upon themselves to chart “the inner journey of an immigrant to America?” Why does the six-member band Clara May’s lead vocalist Tom Silva insist on singing in Hindi in an accent that would make Tom Alter want to give them a diction lesson or five? How did we stumble upon Clara May’s excellent video for their latest single “American Desi”? We can answer one of these questions.

The rest remains a mystery along with the strange visuals ”“ of a Kuchipudi dancer, a fisherman on his boat, sepia-toned shots of the Taj Mahal (but of course, nobody would recognize the video was about India without this monument), a Kathak dancer and other arbitrary shots of Indian men, women and children ”“ that make up the video of “American Desi.”

Its YouTube notes describe the video as an attempt to “create a dream of India, United States and the epic voyage between the two.” That the epic voyage includes a shot of elephants with a photo of the Statue of Liberty imposed on it only adds to the video’s WTF moments. By the end it, all of us who’ve attended shows at Blue Frog, Mumbai were placing bets. John Bister, a California-based artist who has made the video, has definitely been at the club when random visuals, similar to the collection that he has used in “American Desi”, were projected on the screens above the stage to completely confuse the audience. We’ve often looked up at the screen, jaw to the floor, pondering the relevance of a Sardar dancing or Kathak (this one seems to be a favorite) to a rock song. If it’s not Frog, then we’re blaming alcohol or the flavor of the season ”“ meth ”“ or maybe Bister has been watching some badass videos. We’re scared to ask but has Bister heard of Kixmet?

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 Watch “American Desi” below and tell us what you think:

Clara May’s second album, American Desi, is out on October 8th in the U.S.

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