Brooklyn Raga Massive Profiled

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

Raga is hundreds of centuries old, but that hasn’t stopped a loose collective of New York City musicians from reinvigorating its ancient sound with a modern take on classical Indian music.

Since 2010, the Brooklyn Raga Massive, a group whose rotating cast of players have diverse backgrounds and musical experiences, have played weekly shows at different venues across the five boroughs. Anyone who knows a few licks of classical Indian music is invited to sit in. The sessions have now grown into a blossoming renaissance that injects cross-cultural styles and sounds into the tradition of raga-inspired music.

“At the time [eight years ago], it seemed like a stretch because it’s a very challenging sell,” explains David Ellenbogen, an artistic director for Brooklyn Raga Massive. “In traditional Indian music, the beat could sometimes not come in for the first 20 or 30 minutes.”

In that time, the jam sessions have grown in size. The venues have gotten bigger. Three ensembles have formed within the collective and released their own albums. Contributing members have released solo records that offer their own unique take on raga.