SHORT BIO   Sony Music recording artist Aki Kumar left his native home in Mumbai, India for the United States with the intention of working as a software engineer. Then he discovered the sounds of the blues, and his life changed dramatically. 

One of the hardest working artists on the live music scene today, this San Jose-based blues musician has successfully blended 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. He has made multiple appearances at The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, has been featured on PRI “The World,” and has toured in Russia, Scandinavia and South America.

Kumar's Little Village Foundation releases Aki Goes To Bollywood (2016) and Hindi Man Blues (2018) are considered ground-breaking albums that have garnered international critical acclaim. In August 2019, Kumar made major news with the announcement of a new record deal with Sony Music India and the world-wide launch of his debut single Dilruba.

DETAILED BIO    Sony Music Recording artist  Aki  Kumar,  aka  “The  Only  Bombay  Blues  Man,”  left  his  home  in  Mumbai  with  the  intention  of working  as  a  software  engineer  in  Silicon  Valley.  Then  he  discovered  the  blues,  and  his  life  dramatically  changed.  Singing  and  playing  harmonica, he  steeped  himself  in  the  music  and  became  a  fixture  in  blues  clubs  throughout  Northern  California,where  he  developed  an  unique,  audacious blend  of  Chicago-style  blues  which  then  led  to  playing  retro  Bollywood  pop  mixed  with  the  blues.

When  he  began  performing,  Kumar  initially  attempted  to  downplay  his  ethnicity  and  perform  straight,  Chicago-style  blues.  “I  wanted  to  make  a statement  that  I  was  a  traditional  blues  man,  so  I  wanted  to  be  playing  blues  and  have  nobody  even  wonder  where  I  came  from.”  His  attitude soon  changed,  and  with  his Little  Village  Foundation  debut,  Aki  Goes  to  Bollywood,  he  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.

That  unique  blend  of  East  and  West  reached  a  new  creative  plateau  on  Aki’s  second  Little  Village  Foundation  album,  Hindi  Man  Blues,  which boasts  Aki’s  most  ambitious  cross-cultural  fusion  to  date,  and  features  liner  notes  by  veteran  blues  great  Charlie  Musselwhite. “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.’ 

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 August 2019, Kumar recently made major news with the announcement of a record deal with Sony Music India and the world-wide launch of his debut single "Dilruba".

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, hi-energy live performances

Quotes

"...breathtaking..."- Living Blues Magazine
"a must know artist!" - DissDash.com
"We like!" - SoundBox India
"joyfully innocent, energetic, enthusiastic..." - Bandook.com
"
Check it out. I wouldn't steer you wrong."
- Charlie Musselwhite
"Really really really hot stuff!"
- Elwood Blues aka Dan Aykroyd
"FOUR STARS...the integrity of his music marks
the difference between novelty and substance"

- Downbeat Magazine
"Kumar is on the cutting-edge of blues today." 
- Michael Kinsman, San Diego Blues Festival

"...leaps off that bridge into the unknown, and I love the heck out of it"
- Jim Washburn / OCWeekly.com

Festival Appearances

San Jose Jazz Festival 2019
The Bridges Festival, St. Petersburg 2019

Augusti Bluus, Estonia 2019
Gator By The Bay, San Diego 2019
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, San Francisco 2016, 2018
Live Oak Music Festival, Santa Barbara 2018
Mississippi Delta Blues Festival, Brazil 2018

San Jose Jazz Festival 2016
San Jose Fountain Blues Festival 2017
Portland Waterfront Blues Festival 2016, 2018
Poor House Bistro Lil' Easy Backyard Party, San Jose 2016