Music Monday Mashup: Hindustani Gangster

Mashups seem the best way show flattery for artists these days. In this case flattery is directed towards Mr. Jay-Z.

Inspired by Indian cinema of the 70’s and Jay-Z’s critically acclaimed concept album, “American Gangster,” “Hindustani Gangster” tells the passionate tale of a Mumbai hustler’s sordid lifestyle.[hg]

The mashup, released by the folks at Music Without Borders, dropped online on Oct 17th for Diwali. I’m not sure what else Music Without Borders has actually done – their profile seems rather bare, but you can follow them on twitter.

You can listen to the entire Hindustani Gangster online and download it for free off their site. Personally, I’m a much bigger fan of Madlib’s Beat Konducta sounds and think this album was a little too grimey for my liking. But i know a few of our readers have enjoyed Hindustani Gangster so I’m passing it forward on to the mutiny. What do you think of this mashup? Continue reading

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ahchar WINS!

Remember back in spring when I wrote about how the Korean community and the Bangladeshi community of Los Angeles were all up in arms over the official naming of “Little Bangladesh”? They were at impass, the Korean community unwilling to give up a portion of their officially named Korea Town. After months of back and forth, on October 15th, Little Bangladesh officially exists.

I kid you not this was the only news source I found about this notable occasion. Although groan worthy humorous, I also find the youtube video a testament to true Desi grassroots organizing at it’s finest. With floating fishes and bubbles to boot.

What I was able to gather from the video is that on October 15th, representative of the Korean Community Sam Lee and a representative of the Bangladeshi community Shamim Hussein met in City Councilman Tom LaBonge’s office. It was decided and signed upon that the official Little Bangladesh will now be on 3rd Street between Alexandria Ave and New Hampshire Ave. A four block span, this area is already home the Deshi Food & Groceries.

Obviously this is just the beginning of a long process. I would imagine that there will be a naming ceremony and an encouragement to have the Bangladeshi community invest in starting up businesses on those few blocks. There’s already an annual independence day festival at a nearby park and an annual parade. Many Bangladeshi immigrants from my father’s generation got their footing in the US, in that very neighborhood – so there is the continuing on of Bangladeshi-American history that will be marked by the official naming of the community. What else will be gained, only time will tell.

Previous Post: Kimchi vs. Ahchar. Fight! Continue reading

Kali-ma at Seder Dinner

Twenty-five years ago (jeez…has it been that long?) many of our parents were up in arms over the portrayal of Hindus in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. They talked on the phone to their friends ahout it, wrote letters of complaint, etc. Now, scenes from that film are regularly referenced in pop culture. Even a Jewish Seder dinner can be an occasion for a good “Kali Ma” joke:

And Manish asked me by email the other day (to paraphrase), “couldn’t they have picked someone less Temple-of-Doomish to invite to the White House Diwali ceremony?” Compare here.

It would definitely have been some sight if the Hindu Priest, Narayanachar Digalakote, had gone “Kali Ma” on Obama. Some probably expected it. Here is Fox News’ picture of the day from that day. Fox News viewers enjoy pictures of Obama bowing.

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The re-education of Bobby Jindal

Remember when the large stimulus bill was passed earlier this year and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal came out against Obama? For a while he even made headlines by refusing to accept some of the stimulus money. What has happened to him since then? Whatever else you want to think about Jindal, he is undeniably intelligent. After Obama, he might be, intellectually speaking, among the smartest of elected officials in the country. Jindal knows when to hold and knows when to walk away. After the “Kenneth debacle” he smartly walked away from the limelight. Let Pawlenty and Palin and Huck go all Icarus. The shrewd ones like Jindal and Romney (and maybe even George Allen) will fly under the radar, biding their time (for the record, Huntsman is my 2016 dark horse).

Jindal knows that there is no way he has a shot in hell of being president in 2012 or even 2016 unless he has a record as a successful governor (cough cough…Sarah Palin). You know what you need to deliver to your people in order for them to consider you a successful governor? Healthcare reform. From his op-ed in WaPo last week:

A majority of so-called Republican strategists believe that health care is a Democratic issue. They are wrong; health care is an American issue, and the Republican Party has an opportunity to demonstrate that conservative principles work when applied to real-world problems…

Republicans must shift gears. Conservatives should seize the mantle of reform and lead. Conservatives either genuinely believe that conservative principles will work to solve real-world problems such as health care or they don’t. I believe they will. [Link]

The people of Louisiana want healthcare reform. They also want continued post-Katrina assistance. By cozying up to Obama he sacrifices some love from the Republican base for a whole lot more of everything else he needs to be successful as governor. But just who is playing who here?

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Penn Masala, DJ Rekha and the…White House? [Updated]

My jaw dropped when I saw this tweet in my feed today from the renowned DJ Rekha.

@djrekha Penn Masala performing at White House. Beatboxing and singing Ayesha in Hindi n English. Box of Diwali sweets on every seat.

I quickly jumped on the White House’s live feed to see if I could see for myself. Here, watch for yourself.

Penn Masala at White House.jpgWhat could be the occasion to bring DJ Rekha to the White House and get prime seating to see Desi a cappella group Penn Masala perform?

President Barack Obama is re-creating a federal panel to address concerns of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders and to work on improving their health, education and economic status…The panel was created during the Clinton administration. But it expired during George W. Bush’s presidency and was not reauthorized.

During the East Room ceremony, Obama also observed Diwali, or the “Festival of Lights,” a holiday celebrated across faiths in India.[ap]

I jumped online in time to see a maharaj sing ‘asato maah’ and Obama light the fire with a candle. Video from today found and posted above and the folks at AAPI Momentum have promised us videos from tonight’s celebration. I have a personal request for a photo of DJ Rekha, Penn Masala, and Kal Penn. Just FYI. Since I can’t show you the video of what Obama said, let me share excerpts of what he said (full text available here). Continue reading

Another Tasteful Post

Yesterday, the blog Jezebel wrote about the product of all products: a special “mint” for all you lovely ladies out there. But this particular tasty treat doesn’t necessarily have to remain in your mouth… “Think of it as an Altoid for your lady parts or, as its website explains, “A small, naturally sweetened flavoring, free of artificial dyes, which was created to flavor the secretions of a woman when she is…”Whoops, sorry! I got censored by the SM aunties. You’ll just have to visit the NSFW link for more information. But what’s the desi angle, you ask? Or is this just another self-indulgent sex post? Continue reading

Taqwacore. Documented. X2

With regard to one of the most well documented subcultures I’ve ever seen, there are two major Taqwacore events culminating in this month: a documentary and a photography book (Past SM Taqx post here, here and here). The first would be the Canadian premiere of the documentary full length movie Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam. Documentary producer Omar Majeed in conjunction with EyeSteelFilm, follows author Michael Muhammad Knight and subsequent Taqwacore bands for four years to make this film.Taqx Doc Movie Image.jpg

In the first part of the film, Knight organizes a taqwacore tour of the U.S., bringing the Kominas, Vancouver-based Islamic riot-grrl trio Secret Trial Five, and a shapeshifting crew on the road. After documenting this Islamic twist on the typical hijinks and humiliations of the road, the chapter climaxes with an appearance at ISNA…The film’s second half is even more interesting, as Knight, Khan and Usmani travel to Pakistan, where their efforts to bring politicized rock to the people encounters a whole different form of opposition.

“To some extent,” [says Omar Majeed], “the reason I called the film The Birth of Punk Islam is because I saw this whole process as a kind of birthing. It wasn’t just that this was happening and I was filming it, but rather that by my being there and filming it, we managed to give birth to this thing. I think that kind of shows in the filmmaking, the way it’s put together. I’m not always rushing to get the other side of things, I’m not looking to be journalistic or fair and balanced. I’m really trying to tell their story in a way that I find relatable.”[montrealmirror]

The film has been well received at the Vancouver International Film Festival and The Kominas and Sarmust joined Majeed for the Montreal screening this past weekend. It looked like it was a huge success with a packed audience (watch the q&a here) and the film tour continues to Toronto this weekend. If you are in Toronto, go Saturday for the TaqwaToronto after the screenings with a fantastic line up performers including The Kominas, Sarmust, Secret Trial Five, and panel discussion including Knight.

GIVEAWAY: We have two tickets available to the October 17th Saturday night screening and TaqwaToronto concert in Toronto! Details after the jump… Continue reading

Eteraz’s Children of Dust: Review [Part 1]

Ali Eteraz is a name well known to the blogosphere, and of course, Sepia Mutiny. A Pakistani-born Muslim American, lawyer, writer, and activist, Ali’s writing has often been quoted here at Sepia Mutiny, and this Oct 13th Ali’s highly anticipated memoir Children of Dusthits a bookstore near you.

Children of Dust: A Memoir of Pakistan is a about a Pakistani male’s journey of autonomy set against the backdrop of global Islam and located deep inside Pakistan’s colorful but thus far neglected international diaspora. The timely piece of literature provides an engaged look at the pain, pathos, and laughter among Muslim-American lives otherwise obscured by abstract ideas such as “the clash of civilizations” and “the war of ideas.” … With gentle self deprecation Eteraz tells the story of every young person trying to figure out what they believe about religion, people, and life.[harper]

I’ll admit it, I opened the pages to Children of Dust with reluctant apprehension. But from the first page, Ali reels you in to a tale, beautifully prosaic, human, and intelligent. Intertwined with Islamic scholarship, youthful eagerness, self-effacing arrogance, defeated hopefulness, and sardonic humor, Children of Dust presents the struggles of a youth being raised Muslim and American and all the issues that come with it. The words are brilliantly laced, and easy to read. I found the book difficult to put down, staying up all night with a cup of chai engrossed in the adventure of Ali’s life. There was more than a few times where I verbally exclaimed or laughed at what I was reading. Continue reading

Kanye East

Last Friday when President Obama held a press conference to acknowledge that he had received the Nobel Peace Prize I know many of you were expecting an…incident. Specifically, I imagined Kanye West jumping up to grab the mic from Obama and saying:


And then I imagined a hail of gunfire by the Secret Service.

Well it looks as if Kanye West might have finally gotten the message and realized that his current path has him living firmly in the modes of passion and ignorance and moving away from enlightenment. He did not show up to the BET awards and he amazingly dropped out of the “Fame Kills” tour with Lady Gaga. Where in the world is Kanye? Where else? Reports have him cloistered away in Pondicherry, India learning Hinduism, or at least meditating and being all-around contemplative:

It seems West is taking some time out now for a religious retreat to reassess his life at a Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, a small coastal town in South India. According to an inside source he sees his life going in the wrong direction and feels badly about the VMA’s incident. [Link]

Remember the Newsweek article from a few weeks back titled, “We Are All Hindu Now?” Kanye is not alone. Lots of Americans are gravitating to some form of Hinduism, perhaps even unbeknownst to them:

According to a 2008 Pew Forum survey, 65 percent of us believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life”–including 37 percent of white evangelicals, the group most likely to believe that salvation is theirs alone. Also, the number of people who seek spiritual truth outside church is growing. Thirty percent of Americans call themselves “spiritual, not religious,” according to a 2009 NEWSWEEK Poll, up from 24 percent in 2005. Stephen Prothero, religion professor at Boston University, has long framed the American propensity for “the divine-deli-cafeteria religion” as “very much in the spirit of Hinduism. You’re not picking and choosing from different religions, because they’re all the same,” he says. “It isn’t about orthodoxy. It’s about whatever works. If going to yoga works, great–and if going to Catholic mass works, great. And if going to Catholic mass plus the yoga plus the Buddhist retreat works, that’s great, too.”… [Link]
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M.I.A. Slams Obama, Fails History

So our favorite Sri Lankan rude girl tweeted her surprise about Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize:

MIA Obama Lennon.jpg

“Obama winning the nobel peace PRIZE? he should give it back like john Lennon sent back his MBE” — @_M_I_A

GROAN. Really, Maya? The sitting U.S. president should give back a Swedish (decided by Norwegians) prize because it’s like a British citizen receiving a British honor… how, exactly? And the Nobel carries the taint of its dynamite origins, sure, but is that the same as the bloody history of the British Empire?

And speaking of history!! Lennon DIDN’T give it back until FOUR YEARS AFTER he accepted it: Continue reading