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Kuumbwa Jazz & Indexical Present: Ami Dang + Beast Nest
Amrita “Ami” Kaur Dang is a South Asian-American vocalist, sitarist, composer and producer from Baltimore. Her sound blends elements of North Indian classical, noise/ambient electronics, beat-driven psych and experimental dance pop. The work references her hybrid identity as a first-generation South Asian-American, Sikh upbringing, musical education, as well as the chaos and spirituality of the landscapes of both Baltimore and urban India.
Picking up her first sitar when she was twelve years old, Dang has studied North Indian classical music (voice and sitar) in both New Delhi and Maryland, and she also holds a degree in music technology & composition from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. Following in the footsteps of artists like Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass, she seeks to advance the sound of contemporary experimental, pop, and electronic music with the sounds of South Asia—through vocals and sitar, ragas, and sampling. And vice versa, she aims to bring a broader sound palette to the legacy of South Asian music. These goals are a lifelong mission. To that end, she has collaborated with Animal Collective, William Cashion (of Future Islands), James Acaster, Thor Harris—to name a few. She has provided tour support for Beach House, black midi, Grimes, Lower Dens, Florist and more.
Sharmi Basu (Beast Nest) is a South Asian American multimedia performance artist, curator, composer, arts advocate, and organizer born and based in the occupied lands of the Ohlone people aka Oakland, CA. They create immersive sound installations, new media controllers and performance pieces that investigate the emotional landscape of people in struggle. They research conflict, accountability, and care work in the interest of creating decolonial narratives toward collective healing, while investigating emotional skill-building through the practice of improvisation and deep listening. Their performance project, Beast Nest transmutes trauma and chronic illness through vast sonic world building, layering strands of sound across the frequency spectrum. They received their MFA from Mills College and host workshops internationally that center on sound healing and decolonization, as well as technical skill-shares. They have performed for SFMOMA, YBCA, San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, Cluster Festival, and Ableton Loop, and have exhibited work at Coaxial, The Kitchen NY, Southern Exposure, SOMArts, Counterpulse, Gray Area, and the Smithsonian. Their organizational work is dedicated to mutual aid and advocating for the rights of survivors, arts workers and artists.