I'm Indian. Im also American. I'm not technically Indian though. I am technically American, having been born here, but I don't really "feel" American. I do feel confused. Oh man.
Gordon Gartrelle was started as somewhere I could rant about music, events, news, and whatever I really felt like. Often I felt like posting about things related to the subcontinent. (See: here, here, or here). It wasn't a conscious decision to create a blog related to South Asia but more a result of where my interests lie. For example, for the last 6 years or so I have not been able to read fiction that wasn't written by a South Asian or member of the South Asian Diaspora (Junot Diaz being a huge outlier). I am not proud of this but it's just what my brain likes thinking about. It's wired that way. I awno.
Anywho, like the Top 5 from Nick from Islands and Despot who have toured together and are buds, todays two top 5s share something in common as well. Though their output is very different, they're both musicians who in some way identify with being Indian. I'd also like to preface these lists with the fact that I didn't suggest any topic to either of these dudes. They were free to list whatever they want.
Vijay Iyer is an insanely talented pianist, composer, bandleader, producer, electronic musician, and writer based in New York City. According to Wikipedia, "after completing an undergraduate degree in mathematics and physics at Yale when he was 20, Iyer then went to Berkeley to do a Ph.D. in physics." Also from Wiki "Iyer received the 2003 Alpert Award in the Arts, a 2006 Fellowship from New York Foundation for the Arts, and grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, Creative Capital, the Cary Charitable Trust, American Composers Forum, Chamber Music America, and Meet The Composer."
Vijay Iyer makes me feel like a slacker. If he was a cousin of mine, he'd be the one my parents constantly pointed towards as an example of who I should be. That said, unlike my actual cousins, he wouldn't be the type to revel in that. On the sly he'd hook me up with beer and tell me "not to stress about it" and "focus on the music". And he wouldn't be a hypocrite in telling me to do so.
This past year Iyer has appeared on Wadada Leo Smith's "Spiritual Dimensons" (Cuneiform) and Talvin Singh's "OK Remixes" (Island). His jazz trio album "Historicity" (Act Music) was released this past October and I have not been able to stop listening to it. After not having listened to Jazz since my freshman year of college I put his cover of "Mystic Brew" on and have been hooked since. The album even featured a cover of MIA's "Galang". For your enjoyment, here he is with his trio performing that cover. Matter fact, if you dont enjoy this YOU COULD BE OUT THOUGH:
I'll be interviewing him for Gordon Gartrelle soon, but in the mean time Vijay was kind enough to sit down and do not one, but two Top 5 lists for us. Here you go:
Vijay Iyer's Top Five Misspellings of His Last Name:
Vijay Iyer's Five Desis on TV Right Now (complete with Editor's Wikipedia links):
(Update: I originally listed this as Vijays Top 5 but its actually just his 5; period)....
Anand Wilder has the coolest name I could possibly think of. I'm a fan of wilding, as you may know. Sidebar: look at this funny picture of Anand I found on the web:
Hahaha. Oh man. Let me find a less hilarious one. Let's see:
Okay. That's more serious. Right. Anand writes music for, plays guitar amongst other instruments, and contributes vocals in Yeasayer who came to recognition with their AWESOME All Hour Cymbals last year or the year before. This year has seen the release of their lead single "Ambling Alp" (video below), from their upcoming LP Odd Blood (2/9, Secretly Canadian).
The album recently leaked BUT DON'T DOWNLOAD IT ILLEGALLY. I probably would have but Anand asked me if I did a couple of days ago and I said "nah yo" so I'm going to stick with it.
Dude was kind enough to make a top 5 list for us. I was recently chatting with him about plans I was making to leave New York and head to India for a few months to clear my head. I've since postponed those plans but he was nice enough to make me a special list. Without further adieu, here is Anand Wilder of Yeasayer's:
Top 5 Things Hima/Heems Should Bring With Him on His "I Just Got Fired and I Gotta Get My Life Together so I'm Heading to India" Trip:
4. Guide Book
3. Journal (for rap music Raps and other inner thoughts)
2. Cameras- Video and Still
1. Emergency anti-diarrheal pills and antibiotics
That was thoughtful bro. Though I saw number 1 coming from like a mile away. Every brown knows that.