Posted by suneelgupta on May 30, 2009
Beginning today, I’ll be guest-blogging a bit for a MTV Iggy. This is the first post.
My parents would play classical Indian music during every car ride we ever took…ever. Before buckling up, my dad would carefully select from a well-organized box of cassette tapes, each of them neatly labeled with the names of classic Indian artists….”Lata Mangeshkar,” “Hemant Kumar,” etc. He would rap the steering wheel to the beat of a Bollywood tune, and even bust out a few notes. Sometimes, my mom would join in, turning our Ford Taurus into a mid-day Karaoke session, minus the Soju.
If it were a summer day and our windows were down, I would slump into my seat so that no one could spot and associate me with the ‘un-American’ music. I was embarrassed to be a part of it. Fifteen years later, I’m embarrassed to have been embarrassed.
Rolling Stone magazine once wrote that Sanjay Mishra‘s music finds a “distinct idiom”. For me, his uniqueness fills an important gap. He busts out my father’s kind of music, but does so on a nylon-string electric guitar. On the hour-long train ride from San Francisco to Silicon Valley, he reconnects me to car rides with my father, but with a style that the random person sitting next to me would appreciate.
Mishra is one of the classics. He cut an album back in the day with Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead) called Blue Incantation, and more recently laid the tracks to Chateau Benares, which has one of my all-time favorite tunes. I won’t be able to fly out for his upcoming gig in Manhattan, but a friend will be flip camming it for me.
My parents recently came out to visit. On a ride through Twin Peaks, I popped Sanjay Mishra into the CD player, and out of the corner of my eye, noticed my father tapping his knee to the beat. That’s Mishra’s fusion.