ListN Up: Samita Sinha (January 22, 2021)

ListN Up is a series of weekly artist-curated playlists. Born from a desire to keep artists sharing and connected during times of isolation, ListN Up offers an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice. 

Vocalist, performer, composer, and educator Samita Sinha creates multidisciplinary performance works that investigate origins of voice. She synthesizes Indian vocal traditions and embodied energetic practices to create a decolonized, bodily, multivalent language of vibration and transformation.

I’m Samita Sinha. I’m a vocalist, composer, performer, and educator. This playlist is called “Forever Music.” All of the music is from South Asia and Black America: songs, calls, cries, ragas, gestures, and praise whose open forms expand our sense of time and space, feeling and meaning.

Raga Bhoopali by Kumar Gandharva

Kumar Gandharva was an avant-garde artist of Hindustani classical music. He could hear the earthen folk roots in the celestial abstraction of classical music, and brought them together in a style that could never be imitated or codified.

“Black Woman” by Vera Ward Hall

This is a tiny gem of rare potency by the brilliant Alabama-born songstress and treasure holder, Vera Ward Hall.

“Paare Loye Jaao” by Parvathy Baul

When India was wresting itself anyway from the jaws of British colonialism, renowned poet Rabrinath Tagore hoped that India might find inspiration for its identity in the Baul tradition of Bengal. The Bauls are fiercely independent mystical bards who practice a spiritual path (a mixture of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sufism) through sound and body. This powerful offering is from Parvathy Baul, whom I’ve had the privilege of learning from.

Turiya Sings by Alice Coltrane

This astonishingly profound and simple record of cosmic love songs by the great Alice Coltrane mingle the deep soils of Black America with the deep soils of South Asia.

“Amazing Grace” by Aretha Franklin

I don’t have words for this track, and I don’t think it needs any…

“Yeh Jo Halka Halka Saroor Hai” by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Everything about this Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan performance is pure joy.


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