There are precious few opportunities to enjoy a frosty beverage while slipping into the transcendental time warp of a classical Indian raga — which makes the Brooklyn Raga Massive’s peripatetic Wednesday night events kind of like the Alamo Drafthouse of Indian classical music. Launched in 2012 by sitarist Neel Murgai and tablist Samir Gupta, this fluctuating collective of local musicians has enjoyed hump-day popularity in venues ranging from Brooklyn’s Tea Lounge and Pioneer Works and Manhattan’s Rubin Museum to, currently, Art Cafe + Bar. Sitars, tablas, sarods, violins, bansuri flutes, and singers mix it up with Western instruments in programs that usually begin with a relatively formal set and conclude with a series of improvisations. Past BRM highlights include a 24-hour raga marathon; tributes to the music of John Coltrane, George Harrison, and Ravi Shankar; “Raga Remains the Same,” an evening devoted to classic rock; and an Indian-instruments version of Terry Riley’s minimal masterpiece In C. Attracting an audience as stylishly diverse as its music, the BRM offers a just-say-yes approach to collaboration that has brought together Moroccan, West African, electronic, jazz, and hip-hop musicians under its inclusive umbrella.
Art Cafe + Bar, 884 Pacific Street, Brooklyn
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 19, 2016