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To quote Keanu Reeves, “Whoa.”
Take some jazz scatting, add a sitar, a drum circle, a steel guitar, and a few other nontraditional instruments, and you probably wouldn’t be able to make anything like this. These guys can. This is some really great stuff.

So “world music” is usually either of the hard-core variety (meaning actual traditional pieces made by really old guys or people pretending to be really old guys) or the really boring elevator/hold music variety. This falls so far outside either of those categories that it becomes something new. Yeah, it sort of sounds like Middle Eastern dance music for a minute, but then you find yourself wondering where the blues guitar and jazz scatting came from. These guys from Malaysia took the word fusion and, in the realm of music, redefined it. I say that they redefined it, but they honestly just owned the original definition. Most of the crap that passed as fusion before is now totally irrelevant. The bar has been reset.

Final judgment: Definitely check these guys out. Fusion-y world music is not one of my favorite genres, but I love this. It’s probably going to be your only chance to see them in any sort of intimate setting here in the United States.

New Straits Time, Malaysia

‘…AkashA’s magic lay in the heady talents of its instrumentalists and the eclectic genres that have influenced and inspired them on their journey’
‘…Every moments filled with memorable movements, Badar stopping the band in its tracks as he extended a solo, the konnakol traditionalist, Siva and Vick, heads bobbing and swaying as they cajoled each other, and Wilson, Li and Kumar trading fiery riffs as Henderson kept his acoustic bass thumping in time’

Time Out, Kuala Lumpur

‘…And that is what makes Akasha stand out from numerous world fusion bands. The band explores the possibility of using traditional instruments to play modern music and also have Western instruments playing traditional music. The band’s unique sound features blues but also fiddles with Latin, Irish jig and the Malaysian joget. With each having more than 20 years of experience in music, these boys know what they are talking about’

The Star, Malaysia

‘…AkashA, is not really all that fresh when one considers the wealth of experience its member have between them. However, there is definitely a vitality and sense of purpose to its music that makes me rather hopeful that this outfit will have the staying power that has eluded so many of its predecessors. it helps too, that while the group’s musicianship is of a high quality, it is tempered by a good dose of humor’

 

The Edge Financial Daily

‘Each song in Into…AkashA is different and has a personality of its own, innocent and forthcoming, and hence easily accessible music’

 

New Straits Times, Malaysia

‘…From the first thaka dhim, my night was made’

 

The Star, Malaysia

‘…We were treated to a real pot-pourri of traditional music styles set against one another in unlikely combinations…’…Wilson’s guitar would veer from country picking to Irish jigs and traditional Javanese scales, Kumar’s sitar would likewise switch from orthodox classical playing to western blues and rock-style riffing, the percussion trio moved seamlessly from Latin to Malay to Indian classical, Henderson’s rock solid, and occasionally unison bass-playing, and Li’s jazz- tinged and sporadically explosive piano work… it was easy to understand why the buzz about this group is so great’

 

Manila Times, Philippines

‘…The Malaysian super band Akasha played soulful blues using Indian sitars and tabla percussions. They awed the crowds as their vocalist fused scat singing and rap with indigenous hymns.’

 

New Straits Times, Malaysia

‘ …The nights were packed with gems composed by Wilson that allowed his compadres to shine with amazing chemistry and a seemingly psychic connection among the players’

 

Virtual Malaysia Online

‘…But all that soon changed when the rain ceased dramatically and Akasha came on stage. Two of the percussionists started “playing” in acapella mode, mimicking the sounds of the traditional Indian drums perfectly. Like moths to a flame, the crowd drew nearer to the stage and cheered the band further. These four lads and one lady from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia then proceeded to make the kind of music that makes your heart pound sweetly and your feet moving on their own accord. Their music is a very pleasant blend of traditional and contemporary that resonated well with the audience who cheered them on enthusiastically. Their original tune ‘Brickfields Blues’ was truly groovy, it was the first time I heard blues being played on a sitar. It was followed by a funny, cutesy and danceable “Ants in My Turban”. Indeed Akasha left the Rainforest World Music Festival audience clamouring for more.’

 

Bangkok Post, Thailand

‘…the Malaysian band Akasha was the first band I saw and they were one of the best local bands I’ve seen – the interplay between sitar player Kumar Karthigesu and Jamie Wilson’s blues guitar was excellent.’

 

The Star, Malaysia

‘One of the things I was most pleased with at the RWMF2008 was the performances and professionalism of Malaysian groups AkashA and Kan’id. Both outfits carried themselves well in the public eye and gave entertaining performances and workshops. In fact, AkashA impressed the organizers so much, the band will probably be invited again next year, as programmer/stage manager Randy Raine-Reusch announced at a press conference on the final day of the festival. AkashA’s music is a blend of classical Indian and Western music. Audiences were thrilled with band member Kumar Karthigesu’s sitar-playing skills, especially when he played rock-sounding riffs. Having been trained in Indian classical music since childhood, this band was able to use their skills innovatively, without losing the essence of what they had long studied, and all the while managed to keep the audience happy.’

 

Brunei Post, Brunei

‘…This Kuala Lumpur-based band will be showcasing original composition of spicy, piquant flavour and danceable rhythms…..This is their special treat for the festival goers.’

 

Asiance Magazine Review

‘…Highlighting the opening night performances and lifting the crowd’s spirits after more than an hour of torrential tropical rain was the collaborative group known as AkashA. Combining members from two contemporary Indian world-jazz-fusion music-centric groups (Prana and Inner Space), AkashA was created from through the friendships developed through years of musical study and performance at the Temple of Fine Arts in Kuala Lumpur. …The group’s performance included blues, jazz and rock music with an inspired version of Jimi Hendrix’s classic Voodoo Child’