11 Songs


About Funkadesi

Funkadesi's bold and distinctive blend of Caribbean, East Indian, African, and funk music is derived from the wildly disparate musical and cultural backgrounds of its nine core members. Jamaican-born singer/percussionist Valroy Dawkins and Indian vocalist Radhika Chimata generally share fronting duties, and the counterpoint between his ebullient reggae energy and her exotic Hindi beauty forms the mercurial spiritual center of the Funkadesi sound. Dawkins, an expert not only in reggae music but also in West African rhythm and dance and West Indian folk dance, brings authentic Afro-Caribbean flavor to the mix and writes most of the English lyrics. Chimata, a native of Andhra Pradesh, India, also has an authentic world music background including experience with Hindi film, Punjabi folk, garba, Camatic, and Hindustani classical music. The instrumental band that backs them is led by Kenyan-American bass/sitar/guitarist Rahul Sharma. Both Sharma and electric guitarist Abdul Hakeem are veterans of Chicago blues, funk, and reggae scenes. African-American Meshach Silas, who plays drums, djembe, dholak, and percussion, shares their interest in funk and reggae and has studied music from Senegal, Guinea, and the Old Mali Empire. Also lending Indian influence are keyboardist Inder Paul Singh, a successful bhangra/hip-hop composer in his own right, and Punjabi-born Canadian Maninder Singh, who plays tablas, dhol, percussion, and trombone. Carlos Antonio Cornier, a Puerto Rican conga player, adds a Latin American dimension to the band's international brew. Finally, there is jazz saxophonist Kristin McGee, whose status as the only band member of European ancestry is mitigated by doctoral work in ethnomusicology. The band formed in Chicago, brought together by a desire to jam Indian improvisations over reggae/funk grooves. They quickly garnered two Chicago Music Awards for their contribution to world music, and scored opening gigs for bands like Los Lobos and Cracker. Their first release was a self-titled EP. In 2000, they followed it with Uncut Roots, their full-length debut. [For more info, see www.funkadesi.com]~ Evan Cater

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