2 SENTENCE BIO Aki Kumar, San Jose's "King of Bollywood Blues," infuses traditional blues with the vibrant rhythms and songs of his Indian heritage, creating a unique and electrifying musical fusion. With soulful vocals and masterful harmonica skills, Kumar brings a fresh perspective to the blues scene, captivating audiences worldwide.

SHORT BIO   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 music scene today, this San Jose-based 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 the inspiration it draws from the blues. 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 2020, Kumar made major news with the world-wide launch of his album Dilruba on Sony Music India. Kumar kicked off 2021 with the release of an uplifting reggae-infused single "Zindagi" (Life).

DETAILED BIO   Aki  Kumar 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  songs  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  approach to music 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-inspired foundation.

That  unique  blend  of  East  and  West  reached  a  new  creative  high  on  Aki’s  second  Little  Village  Foundation  album,  Hindi  Man  Blues,  which boasts  an  ambitious  cross-cultural  fusion  and  features  liner  notes  by  veteran  blues  harmonica 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.’ 

In 2020, Kumar made major news with the world-wide launch of his album Dilruba on Sony Music India. Dilruba is an Indian Pop record that showcases his signature sound on a number Hindi/bilingual originals and covers. In 2021, he released an uplifting reggae-inspired single Zindagi under the Little Village Foundation label.

Kumar’s  visionary  stylistic  mix, called Bollywood Blues,  has  already  won  him  widespread  attention.  In  addition  to the  local  live music  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  toured  in  India, Russia, Scandinavia and South America.  Now,  after  spending  more  than  a  decade  developing  his  sound  with  the  help  of  some  of  the  Bay  Area’s  finest  musicians,  Aki Kumar  continues  to  take  his  love  for  the  blues  to  new  and  fascinating  place.


"...defies labels and language barriers"- Tucson.com
"...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
Swing Wespelaar, Belgium 2022
Den Blaa Festival, Denmark 2022
San Francisco Jazz Festival 2022
San Jose Jazz Festival 2022, 2019, 2016
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 Fountain Blues Festival 2017
Portland Waterfront Blues Festival 2016, 2018