Aki Kumar - Blues Press Kit
For the Aki Goes To Bollywood EPK GO HERE
For the West Coast meets Chicago EPK GO HERE
Bookings inquiries/ PR Contact:

Akarsha "Aki" Kumar
akikumar at gmail.com
408.757.7358
Preview songs from Aki Kumar's Debut album, "Don't Hold Back"

 

About Aki Kumar:

Dynamic frontman & harp player Aki Kumar is a bonafide star among the next generation of West Coast blues artists and the world's first professional blues harmonica player to hail from India. A master of the hugely influential Chicago blues sound, Kumar inherits his style from the harp legends of the 1950s and 60s. Aki has a unique voice in the blues, blending elements of blues harmonica pioneers of yesteryear with a signature sound of his own.


"..old school blues at its finest by way of India.  And the lad has soul to spare." 
Dan Aykroyd aka 
Elwood Blues


Born and raised in Bombay (now Mumbai) - India, Kumar has long established his mark on the West Coast blues scene as a top-notch frontman, vocalist , entertainer and blues harp player. The Aki Kumar Blues Band has been the culmination of his journey through American roots music and constantly showcases his ever-evolving sound. This band performs vintage blues with tremendous skill and energy and is guaranteed to entertain audiences across all venues, from intimate listening rooms to large festivals. Kumar's critically acclaimed 2016 album Aki Goes To Bollywood is a ground-breaking fusion effort that blends retro Indian songs with the familiar grooves of Chicago blues. Described as "Muddy meets Mumbai", Kumar is pushing the blues into new directions with his brand new "Bollywood Blues" sound. 


"(Kumar) has a natural propensity for the music, with a rich, deep tone and a sensitive, economic style that emphasizes feel over flash." 
Jonny Whiteside,
LA TIMES


In recent years, Aki Kumar has performed all across the United States and internationally (Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Brazil, Chile, India), collaborating with some of the top blues artists on the scene. He has also contributed his blues harmonica licks to numerous recordings produced on the West Coast in the last decade, including several albums produced at the world renowned Greaseland Studios.

Festival Appearances

Aki Goes To Bollywood (US appearances)

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2016
San Jose Jazz Festival 2016
Portland Waterfront Blues Festival 2016
Poor House Bistro Lil' Easy Backyard Party 2016

Aki Kumar (US appearances)

San Jose Fountain Blues Festival
Redwood City Blues Festival
Alameda Blues & Brews
Saratoga Blues & Brews
San Diego Blues Festival
- with Chris James & Patrick Rynn

Aki Kumar (International appearances)

Nidaros Blues Festival, Norway - with Hans Bollandsaas
Hell Blues Festival, Norway - with Hans Bollandsaas
Mönsterås Blues Festival, Sweden - with Rockin' Johnny
Baycar Beautiful Swamp Blues Festival, France - with Rockin' Johnny Burgin
Santos Jazz Festival, Brazil
Londrina Blues Festival, Brazil
Dipanas Blues Festival, Brazil
Vijazz and Blues Festival, Brazil
Festival de Puerto Montt, Chile

Reviews for Aki's debut album Don't Hold Back

"Kumar’s 2015 debut album, “Don’t Hold Back,” is a solid, convincing set that showcases not only his tastefully brawny harp but also Kumar’s coolly authoritative vocal style."
Jonny Whiteside, LA Times, Jan 2016

"(Kumar) is a powerful, stylish vocalist who delivers his lyrics without a hint of accent, and his attack would be well received in the smoky bars of Chicago’s West Side, where the music originated … Definitely one of the best new artist new releases of 2014. It’s a little late for Christmas, but pick up a copy of “Don’t Hold Back” today. You deserve it."
"A superb harmonica player with a muscular vocal style...  blessed with a mesmerizing command of vintage Chicago blues .... one of the finest Chi-Town blues albums it has been my pleasure to hear in a while ....Kumar is a real talent and if you love Chicago blues then this is a set you can't ignore."
"Just a fine, fine effort, fully realized, and blues-wailing. Run, don't walk to get it." - CLICK HERE for the full review.
Joseph Jordan, Vice President, The Golden Gate Blues Society

"...old school blues at its finest by way of India. And the lad has soul to spare."
Dan Aykroyd aka Elwood Blues
 
"Kumar is a strong, versatile harmonica player who draws on styles from Little Walter’s to Jimmy Reed’s, and when he sings, in robust low-tenor tones, he nails every line with near-perfect enunciation."
Lee Hildebrand | Living Blues Magazine Issue #232

"On Mumbai Express, a lively track, Kumar shows how versatile he’s on the harmonica .. Don’t Hold Back deserves a place in any blues fan’s collection."
Sanjoy Narayan | Hindustan Times Brunch (India's most-widely read English language magazine)

Interviews/Press

Aki Kumar on Chicago Blues, Bollywood Blues, Harmonica, and Performing - The UnStarving Musician's Project, Nov 2017

Into The Blues - Modern Luxury Silicon Valley- Mar 2017

I Wanted To Be Bigger Than Bill Gates - But I Fell in Love With The Blues - PRI's "The World" - July 2016

What America Sounds Like - India Currents Magazine - June 2016

Tuning Back - Almaden Resident - June 2016


LA Times interview with Jonny Whiteside - LA Times - Jan 2016

Aki Kumar Interview (Dutch language) - Back To The Roots (Belgium) - Dec 2014

Aki sings the blues - Hindustan Times Brunch - Nov 2014

Aki Kumar makes the blues his calling - San Jose Mercury News - July 2014

Aki Kumar Interview - HarpSurgery.com - Jan 2014