Indian-born, San Jose-based Aki Kumar is known as “the Only Bombay Blues Man” for his unique, audacious blend of Chicago-style blues and Bollywood pop. The gifted singer and harmonica player blends East and West in a style distinctly his own.
Kumar left his home in Mumbai with the intention of working as a software engineer in Silicon Valley, but his life dramatically changed when he discovered the blues. He steeped himself in the music and became a fixture in blues clubs throughout Northern California. At first he attempted to downplay his roots and become a traditional blues man, but soon embraced his heritage and invented a singular hybrid sound.
On his debut album, Aki Goes to Bollywood, Kumar began integrating elements of Indian music into his musical and visual presentation, making for a multicultural mash-up that sounds like no one else yet never loses touch with its blues foundation. His follow-up, Hindi Man Blues, boasts his most ambitious cross-cultural fusion to date, with torch-passing liner notes by veteran blues great Charlie Musselwhite.
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 live performances.
Pandemic-related cancellations have decimated the incomes of great artists like Aki. Please give what you can–on show day, he’ll receive 100% of donations made to paypal.me/sanjosejazz.
Stream on Facebook
Stream on YouTube
Stream on Twitch
Subscribe to our updates and you’ll be the first to know about coming performances, special events and happenings in San Jose's arts and culture community.