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[AKTAQU A Goes fo Bollyzcod performs Fidy, Spt 7a Michae sn Man i Kumar hasbeen regular presence onthe Santa Cruz blues scene in recent years, but you've never seen him quite lke this. ‘The San Jose vocalist and harmonica ace can often be found playing in an acoustic duo with aultarist Jon Lawton at Aptos St. BBO, a stripped-down setting for his disparate repertoire of folly country blues, sinewy Delta boogie, and searing Chicago anthems. But when Kumar takes the stage Friday at Michael's on Main, he's stepping into a role for "hich he was born. Literally. ‘nan inspired cultural mashup, Aki Kumar brings Bollywood blues to Soquel ev anorewaivsear ‘Kamar blends the bhueshe ame to Jove after roving tothe South Bay with the Bollywood themes that filed. his home growing upin Mumba. The result is Aki Goes to Bolywed, elrouly inspired act that matics propulsive blues avd REB grooves to Scaring melodies fom som of indian ‘nema’ best-loved scenes, “Allthe songs cover ae songs Iggew up with, part of my musical upbringing” says Kumar. "And while stmght seem ke these are totally Aitferentsyles, there are aot of parallels. Theres one Hind song do, ‘Swan ReJhoot Mat Bolo; about how vweteall gong hack to Mother Earth, ‘What coud be more blues than that? Thad toinchude it butithad to have avery big blues signature, so sett {this Bo Didaley groove. The whole ‘onoept is progressing more and more, representing what's ny head” Kamar introduced the project. ‘on 2016's Ok Goes oBolloood, ‘one of the first albums released bythe Lite Village Foundation, a ‘nonprofit abe created by veteran, blues keyboardist Jim Pugh ‘who spent three decades on the road with Ba James and Robert (ray—that has already become an lialuable outlet for roots music, with 2releases by overlooked artists in gospel, blues, mariachi, country music, and beyond. Kumar recently eased his second album forthe label, Hind Man ‘Blues, and he's been delighted with the response from audiences. While the blues seene can bea provincial realm where peopl expend alot of ‘energy policing the borders, he's found freedom in forging a sound that reflects his reality, rather than pursuing someone else's notion of authenticity, "Tm guy from India who rally loves the blues," Kumar says. "isten tothe musicall the time, and love learning new songs. But atthe end ‘ofthe day im not from Missssipp Delta. My formative experiences are from India, and Tm never going tobe African-American, Sometimes we pt ‘his shell around ourselves trying to force-feed the tradition. There needs tobe an acknowledgement that while wwe ove blues, we need to infuse our ‘um identity into.our music” ‘While Ali Goes to Bollywood, |e Kumars most vivid and visible project—he's performing with the band at Hardy Stricly Bluegrass on (ct. many ofhis gigs are straight ahead bus. Dedicated to balding the Bay Area scene, he runs a Tuesday night am session at San Jose's Poor House Bistro and a Thursday night session at Little Lou's BBQ in Fremont, For Friday's show, he's joined by a Jaller band that reflects the far-flang reach ofthe blues. Drummer June Core sa well-traveled veteran who was hired by heavyweights such as Robert Loclevood Jr. before puttingina 14-year stint with Charlie Musselwhite, Bassist Vance lers has toured with bes harp seats Mark Hummel and Riek Estrin. ‘The wildcards 23-year-old Mountain View guitarist Rome Yamuloy “He's one ofthe newest voices on the Bay Area scene, and he hasnt been playing bles that long compared to some, but the Kd has mare talent than just about anytodly Tve met" Kumar ‘ij. “He not only taken to straight ‘raditional Blues, he picked up my Bollyaood material relly quickly He went frombelping me setup gear ayear ago to being my second layer to being the only guitar play Playing ead andrython WFO: 839 3 Man 25515 Van St Soy roa znkovinys as'sanu0000 voamauaas 37