BNB Mobile Info Banner
Band Photo Banner Picture
Aki Kumar Blues Band
Special Guest: John Blues Boyd
Thursday, April 25th • 7:30pm & 9:30pm • $20

Hailed as a star among the next generation of West Coast blues artists and versatile in many different styles of roots music, Kumar is equally at ease rocking a Jimmy Reed number in English as he is belting out a signature, swingin' re-interpretation of a Bollywood classic in Hindi. Cleverly crafted originals featuring his masterful blues harmonica riffs are a highlight of this charismatic entertainer's live performances.

Indian-born, San Jose-based Aki Kumar, aka "The Only Bombay Blues Man," left his home in Mumbai for the United States with the intention of working as a software engineer. Then he discovered the blues, and his life dramatically changed. 

With his Little Village Foundation debut, "Aki Goes to Bollywood", Kumar began integrating elements of Indian music into his musical and visual presentation, making for a multi-cultural mash-up that sounds like no one else, yet never loses touch with its blues foundation. Kumar’s follow-up album, "Hindi Man Blues", boasts his most ambitious cross-cultural fusion to date, and features liner notes by veteran blues great Charlie Musselwhite. Kumar recently performed at the prestigious Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, has been featured on PRI “The World,” and has toured in Russia, South America and Scandinavia.

Special Guest: John Blues Boyd

Artist Website - Youtube Video - Facebook Page

For those who love the blues, the thrill of discovering a new artist is still special. Blues singer John “Blues” Boyd just released The Real Deal—at 71 years young—as a testament that the blues continues to be a vital American art form that will never die. Born in Greenwood, Mississippi, Boyd picked cotton as a youngster, worked at hard labor, and loved to sing. Relocating to the Bay Area in the 1980’s he was a roofer, sat in at local clubs, retired, and took care of his ailing wife, who passed in 2014. That’s when he became a bluesman full time.

Under the tutelage of Jim Pugh at Little Village Foundation, and with the production savvy of Kid Anderson from Greaseland Studios, Boyd was able to make an album of pure blues the way they use to do back in the day. He wrote most of the songs, letting Anderson take over the controls and procure all the accompanying musicians.Opening with the autobiographical title track, there is an immediate sense of an authentic “big sound” upon which Boyd lays his songs. 

 

“My  first  album  was  really  about  my  identity,”  the  artist  states.  “Now  I  feel  it  is  time  to  be  more  direct  about  what’s  happening  out  there  in  the  world.  The  blues  scene  is  my  home,  and  the  scene  can  be  pretty  conservative,  but  I  want  people  to  know  where  I  stand.  There’s  a  good  amount  of  focus  on  Bollywood  classics  on  the  new  album,  and  I  even  throw  in  a  song  about  President  Trump  called  ‘All  Bark  No  Bite.’  The  production  and  arrangements  are  tighter  this  time  around.  ‘Yoh  Surmayi  Shaam’  has  lyrics  that  my  mom  wrote  and  sings,  she  turned  75  this  year  and  it’s  a  really  nice  way  to  represent  her  musical  contribution  to  my  life.  We  also  do  a  version  of  Herbie  Hancock’s  ‘Watermelon  Man.’

”Kumar’s  visionary  stylistic  mix  has  already  won  him  widespread  attention.  In  addition  to  the  local  blues  venues,  where  he’s  built  an  enthusiastic  audience,  he’s  performed  at  the  prestigious  Hardly  Strictly  Bluegrass  festival,  been  featured  on  PRI  “The  World,”  and  has  toured  in  Russia  and  Scandinavia.  Now,  after  spending  more  than  a  decade  developing  his  sound  with  the  help  of  some  of  the  Bay  Area’s  finest  blues  players,  Aki  Kumar  continues  to  take  his  love  for  the  blues  to  new  and  fascinating  place.

“In  a  musical  sense,  this  album  is  the  direction  that  my  career  is  heading  towards.  I’m  never  going  to  be  a  straightahead  blues  artist.  I  worked  really  hard  to  establish  some  blues  credibility,  and  now  I’m  seeing  that  blues  fans  are  really  accepting  of  my  new  direction.  It’s  a  pretty  interesting  adventure.”