Friday, September 3, 2010

Spotlight on Chris Rael and Deep Singh

(l to r) Deep Singh and Chris Rael, photo by Bernd Auers

...Appearing at the Howl! Festival in Tompkins Square Park, Saturday, September 11th, 5:05PM

Chris Rael and Deep Singh are the engine of Church of Betty, one of Downtown's longest running and most influential bands. They brought sitar and tabla back to rock n roll earlier and more organically than anyone else, drawing raves from music critics. Magnet called them "purveyors of urban psychedelia, with a voice sweeter than Prince." The Village Voice said Rael "has consistently blended rock and Indian music better than any Western guitar guy, ever." NY Times: "Sliding, scalloped phrases shape Hindustani music to the concision of pop hooks... irresistible." The pair's duo work "squeezes the expansive soul of raga into the tight curves of rock, to create a complex and surprisingly harmonious hybrid." ( Their duo CD Tunnel Ragas was called "at once pure, devotional, improvisational and profanely urban, a fascinating listen." (All Music Guide)

Rael went on to write film music (Outstanding Soundtrack Award, Outfest 2005) and the stage musical Araby, based on James Joyce's Dubliners ("the type of musical bliss that is currently missing from Broadway" - Back Stage). Singh went on to perform hundreds of shows on Broadway as a star of the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical Bombay Dreams.

The pair witnessed the Twin Towers fall from the roof of Rael’s Stanton Street building, and return to Tompkins Square this September 11 to share a memorial moment with the community in which they’ve lived and played for so long. Chris will play guitar and sing, while Deep will play the dhol: a loud, rocking two-headed Indian drum used in bhangra music. They will perform Rael's ode to the post-9/11 downtown skyline Hole in the Sky, The Balloon Song, their insane, frenetic Bollywood cover with English lyrics, and Church of Betty classic I Smoke You Jack, a high-energy meditation on downtown's father of experimental film and performance, Jack Smith.

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