Artists often refer to the place they call “home” as the wellspring of their creative vision. For Sumitra Nanjundan, who recently released a new album, Indian Girl, on Next Generation Enterprises, an ongoing search for “a place to call home” enhances her ability to compose and perform music.
Born in New York, raised in Vienna, schooled in London, and now living in Los Angeles, this versatile artist with South Indian roots has a style she characterizes as “pop songs in a jazz setting: intimate, original, personal, timeless.”
“People ask me to describe my style relative to other artists, which is something I used to resist,” says Sumitra, “but I’ve learned that it really helps them to get the idea. The closest comparisons are Rickie Lee Jones, Sade, Billy Holiday, and Kate Bush.”
Her style started developing very early — as a toddler and child she sang, learned to play the piano, recorded songs on a two-track tape machine, and regaled visitors to her parents’ home with piano and voice performances.
In a British boarding school, she studied classical piano, sang in school choirs, sat for a number of Royal Schools of Music exams, and began to write music. She was immersed in her love of the art form.
In her last year of high school, during a concert to raise money for the school newspaper, Sumitra performed two original songs, singing and playing the piano in a duet with a friend who sang and played the keyboard. At that performance, the guitar player of an Austrian band that was also performing told Sumitra “that my songs were great and that I should be singing and have a band of my own.”
After two years studying economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, she returned to Vienna to study for the classical piano entrance exam at the Vienna Music Academy. She didn’t make it into the Academy, but instead formed her first band, Satu, with whom she performed throughout Austria and developed a major following.
Sumitra got an enticing taste of the music business when she and Satu recorded their first single, “Trying,” in a major Austrian recording studio. “It was overwhelming, so exciting, and the producer was thrilled when I played him one of my songs on the piano,” she says. “I loved being in the studio and was fascinated by every step of the process. I stayed there the whole time, regardless of what was going on, because I wanted to learn how everything worked.”
After elation, came disillusionment. After “Trying” was released and charted, a record deal followed. Disagreements and arguments created a toxic environment for creativity, and a disappointed Sumitra backed out of the deal.
She received a business degree from a university in Vienna, all the while writing and playing music at home. The sting of the negative experience of the record deal gone bad made her reluctant to get back on stage and perform. “I did start doing smaller gigs with a trio,” Sumitra says. “We did some covers and jazz standards, but it was just for fun.”
Eighteen months later, driven by a desire to write and perform, she quit her full-time job and returned to the studio with Georg Tomandl, former keyboard player and member of Satu. Together, they assembled a new band and in 1993, Sumitra had a demo containing a dozen new songs.
A four-track EP entitled Sumitra followed in 1994, enabling her to reach a wider Austrian radio audience, and the following year she returned to the studio to record The Secret of Our Souls, which enabled her to break into the Austrian jazz/pop scene.
The year 1998 brought another turn in her career, as Sumitra formed a duo with guitarist Alex Machacek, whom she married in December of 2003 and who encouraged her to explore different styles of music while continuing to work on her own songs. Her singing style and Alex’s playing fused to create a unique sound, and the duo started to explore different styles together. A devoted fan base continued to develop throughout Austria, and Sumitra achieved her dream of music as a full-time career.
In the years that followed, she worked on several projects with other musicians, both live and in the studio; did commercial work; studied voice with the renowned Maria Alsatti; instructed voice at the Gustav Mahler Konservatorium in Vienna; and coached singers in her own home studio.
In 2003, Sumitra decided she was ready to record a new album. Indian Girl represented the first time she presented her music in a “guitar trio setting” with no keyboards or piano. The recording features strong guitar work from Alex Machacek, who is joined by Mario Lackner on drums and Tibor Kovesdi on bass — all underscoring Sumitra’s originality, individuality, and personality as a singer and songwriter.
One imagines that this Indian Girl will eventually feel grounded in a place she can call home. Until then, Sumitra brings a refreshingly real feel to the concept of being an artist, teacher, and partner. “Music has always been a part of my life,” she says. “I try to do what feels right, honest, and true. My songs have provided a solid platform on which I can always stand and from where I can communicate. I hope that I will always be able to touch people of all ages and cultures.”
Vocals - Sumitra
Guitar - Alex Machacek
Vocals - Sumitra
Guitar - Alex Machacek
Bass - Tibor Koevesdi
Drums - Mario Lackner
Sumitra.indian girl.The Secret of our Souls.Sumitra
Alegre Correa Group.Raizes.Negro Coracao
Sandra Pires.Sandra Pires
Bass by Al.On the Air
Fruit Collection–Melon Groove.Casino Sunshine Club 1
Der große Hallamasch
Eine fast perfekte Scheidung
Sarahs kurzes Leben
[+ Show ]
A well established household name in Austria, New York born Sumitra releases an adventurous contempo...A well established household name in Austria, New York born Sumitra releases an adventurous contemporary Jazz album.
Purists may well snub her cutting edge stylings, which would be a great shame. Sweet - voiced Sumitra has plenty to tell both musically and lyrically, ranging from race and heritage issues in the modern world, to love and insecurity.
The ‘Indian Girl‘ sometimes adopts an MOR feel, (though not an out-and -out approach in the Katie Melua formula) is countered by complex rhythms, all beautifully harnessed over the easy flowing tracklisting format.
Mostly using low-fi genteelness, she uses simple acoustic guitar strumming, balanced by her husband and guitarist Alex Machacek,
and rhythm section of drummer Mario Lackner and bassist Tibor Kovesdi, as they collectively pull together some sublime band work.
High on the agenda both vocally and musically is an undeniable love affair with melody which effectively drives the album on its rollercoaster of compositions, which in most part are accessible to the uninitiated and casual Jazz fan. Just for fun, she even throws in a bit of funkiness through track 7 At The End, without losing the genre’s sensibilities.
As a package, the composite outcome of Indian Girl is an effortless and relaxed offering. In terms of songwriting she’s way ahead of her peers.
Of its type, this is a top class and sophisticated album.
Top tracks : Destiny 2001, My Love’s Like A Red Red Rose.
[+ Show ]
http://www.collectedsounds.com/cdreviews/indiangirl.html I've been listening to a lot of folksy p...http://www.collectedsounds.com/cdreviews/indiangirl.html
I've been listening to a lot of folksy pop lately, which I adore, but it's always nice to plop something different into the CD player.
This is a very pleasant, soothing CD. I guess I'd call it somewhere between jazz and R&B with a touch of world beat thrown in.
Sumitra's voice is lovely. It's smooth, but smokey and sexy. Reminds me a little of Sade. Not that the voices are similar, they're really not, it's just that kind of sexy feel.
The instrumentation here is very professional, these people sound great together. Obviously all very talented musicians and writers.
The production is also first class, there's a very warm, full feeling to this recording.
If you're looking for something to 'set the mood' (if ya know what I mean) this is a good bet.
Stand out songs: Indian Girl, I Know it's Late, I'm Afraid of the Dark (and no, I don't only like songs that begin with the letter I, it just turned out that way).
The Muse's Muse
[+ Show ]
Best Songs: If My Clothes Were Torn, I'm Afraid Of The Dark, My Love's Like A Red Rose Sumitra, a s...Best Songs: If My Clothes Were Torn, I'm Afraid Of The Dark, My Love's Like A Red Rose
Sumitra, a singer/songwriter/musician, who was born in New York, raised in Vienna, Austria, schooled in London, and now lives in Los Angeles, would get My Muse's Muse Award for the most miles traveled if I gave one out. But I don't, so she will have to settle for the most interesting story.
During the course of her education, she spent 5 years in England and 2 years in the U.S. Both her parents are from India, where Sumitra maintains strong ties. She claims she very often feels like just another "Indian Girl," which is also the name of her latest project.
While she sites Billie Holiday, Chaka Khan, and Sade as an influence, it's the Nancy Wilson like vocals that speak to you. Her standout track, and the project's most commercial song, "If My Clothes Were Torn," is a unique, if not eclectic, mid-tempo track that inspires introspection. The snazzy guitar intro catches you off guard and fades into the background, dramatically introducing Sumitra's smooth, but strong vocals.
The vast majority of this project will appeal to those who love alternative jazz flavored music with adult themes, pensive lyrics, and mellow music. Not a bad accomplishment at all for an Indian Girl - or a girl of any race for that matter.
[+ Show ]
Vocal jazz and pop artist Sumitra is prepared to shake off any comparisons to other female singer/so...Vocal jazz and pop artist Sumitra is prepared to shake off any comparisons to other female singer/songwriters with her crafty and dynamic album “Indian Girl”. Having traveled the world at an early age, she picked up music influences from all the places she lived along the way. That translates well to her songwriting, which boast a significant pop influence but also has a soulful jazz background. The lyrics are intrusively intimate but are also easily decipherable. Intriguing and certainly an artist that you’ll want to follow.
[+ Show ]
Sumitra is a singer, songwriter and pianist, although her latest thirteen track CD has no keyboards ...Sumitra is a singer, songwriter and pianist, although her latest thirteen track CD has no keyboards or piano. Instead, Sumitra wanted the instrumental focus to be heavy on guitars and rhythms. Rock instruments may be the core of the music but her sound is also a blend of jazz, pop and a dash of her South Indian culture. Sumitra's songs also revolve around her powerful and versatile vocals. Sumitra pens songs that are emotional and enduring. Sumitra's style has been compared to Ricky Lee Jones, Billy Holiday and Sade. 'Indian Girl' is the soulful opener featuring subtle yet strong instrumentation and compelling lyrics and vocals. 'If My Clothes Were Torn' starts off with sizzling guitar leads giving way to Sumitra's potent vocals and a solid beat. 'I Know It's Late' has a jazz feel flowing on soft, sultry instrumentation that allows Sumitra's singing to float to the top of the arrangement. Sumitra and her band our first-class musicians crafting songs that are captivating and timeless!
Recommended Tracks: (1,2,4)
[+ Show ]
Sumitra Nanjundan's album displays her cultural mix of places she's lived and the person she is in t...Sumitra Nanjundan's album displays her cultural mix of places she's lived and the person she is in this jazzy collection which is ideal for mature listeners. "I Know It's Late" reminded me so much of a Kate Bush song, while her vocals had a Norah Jones edge. The rest of the tracks are an interesting mix of acoustic strings that had a spiritual feel. You can even sense her own culture in "One Life." I don't think this is the typical DiscoveringArtists.com album, but it's worth a mention if you're in the mood for something eclectic.
Favorite Tracks: I Know It's Late, Empty Fields
[+ Show ]
With the looks of Diana Ross and a voice that could rival any jazz singer of recent years, Sumitra N...With the looks of Diana Ross and a voice that could rival any jazz singer of recent years, Sumitra Nanjundan stands out from the usual crop of female vocalists. Brought up by Indian parents, she has spent time in New York, Vienna and England and the cultural mix is evident in the songs on 'Indian Girl'. Although most of the tracks feature atmospheric jazz arrangements, Sumitra is spiritual on the title track, earnest on '20 Years', revamping 80's soul on 'Destiny 2001' and - on 'Orange & Gold' - she even recalls the idiosyncracies of Kate Bush. Lush, post-midnight hour ballad 'My Love's Like A Red Red Rose' is another highlight but the key track is arguably 'I'm Afraid Of The Dark' which features Sumitra at her most honest and emotional. In short, this is a relaxed and moving record that is the perfect showcase for Sumitra's restrained and intimate style.
[+ Show ]
The ‘indian girl’, sumitra has grown to become an independent musician with her very own, unique ide...The ‘indian girl’, sumitra has grown to become an independent musician with her very own, unique ideas. Her latest CD bears witness to this development, accompanied by her partner Alex Machacek (guitars), Tibor Koevesdi (bass) and Mario Lackner (drums). Sumitra’s melodies relate to her roots, to her origins – be it her Indian heritage or her ‘American connection’ (sumitra was born in New York). The album presents a collection of finely woven pop songs in a jazz setting – far beyond any clichés. sumitra’s high voice is backed seamlessly by fine musicians. Alex Machacek plays a significant role, leading the artist with his guitar and allowing her to lead him. And thus an album displaying unforeseen, extensive melodies and a very homogenous sound has been created – a convincing and gratifying piece of work.
[+ Show ]
sumitra’s parents are from India, she was born in New York and moved to Vienna at the age of two, wh...sumitra’s parents are from India, she was born in New York and moved to Vienna at the age of two, where she has spent most of her life. She still feels strongly connected to her Indian roots and the sweet sound of her voice does remind us of this. In 1998 she formed a duo with guitarist, Alex Machacek. ‘indian girl’ developed out of their collaboration. They create gorgeous music together, harmonising at all levels. Whether on electric or on acoustic guitar, Machacek shows a deep understanding of the music, showcasing sumitra and her songs perfectly. His spherical voicings lend themselves to sumitra’s subtle, fragile style. Sometimes he blends together with her in unison passages and only on occasion does he drift off into a short solo where you catch a glimpse of his technical ability. The rhythm section is made up of Mario Lackner on drums and Tibor Koevesdi on bass who also contributes to a beautiful duo piece on the album. The song material’s unique, creative, original and intuitive character are convincing. This is a must buy.
[+ Show ]
Pat Tynan Media Phone: +44 (0) 1895 636935 email: email@example.com ...Pat Tynan Media
Phone: +44 (0) 1895 636935
SUMITRA RETURNS WITH THE RELEASE OF INDIAN GIRL
Born in New York, raised in Vienna, schooled in London, and now living in Los Angeles, Sumitra Nanjundan is a versatile artist with South Indian roots that has a style she characterizes as “pop songs in a jazz setting: intimate, original, personal, timeless.” It would be difficult to come up with a more precise description, which is shown over and over again with the music that comprises Sumitra’s latest release, Indian Girl. “People ask me to describe my style relative to other artists, which is something I used to resist,” says Sumitra, “but I’ve learned that it really helps them to get the idea. The closest comparisons are Rickie Lee Jones, Sade, Billy Holiday, and Kate Bush.”
Sumitra got an early start as a musician, and she has continued to build momentum throughout her music career. As a toddler and child she sang, learned to play the piano, recorded songs on a two-track tape machine, and gave piano and voice performances to visitors at her parents’ home. In her early years, she studied classical piano, sang in school choirs, and began writing original material. She did everything she could to help perfect her craft, and then decided to put her skills to the test with the formation of her first band, Satu, with whom she performed throughout Austria and developed a major following. But all of this early success didn’t go to Sumitra’s head, and she even backed out of a major record label deal when she learned of the ways in which the agreement would stifle her creativity. Instead, Sumitra attended an American university in Vienna, where she earned a degree in business, though she continued to write music on her own.
But she couldn’t stay away from the stage for long, and she soon began performing with a trio, and later with a duo, dishing out a couple of new releases along the way, exploring a variety of musical styles, and keeping her fans entranced all the while. Indian Girl represents the first time Sumitra has presented her music in a “guitar trio setting” with no keyboards or piano. The recording features strong guitar work from Alex Machacek, who is joined by Mario Lackner on drums and Tibor Kovesdi on bass — all underscoring Sumitra’s originality, individuality, and personality as a singer and songwriter.
“With the looks of Diana Ross and a voice that could rival any jazz singer of recent years, Sumitra Nanjundan stands out from the usual crop of female vocalists.”
– Leonard’s Lair
“Sumitra has grown to become an independent musician with her very own unique ideas. Her latest CD bears witness to this development…The album presents a collection of finely woven pop songs in a jazz setting, far beyond any clichés.”
– Christian Bakony, Jazz Zeit
Sumitra’s latest full-length album, Indian Girl, is currently available at www.cdbaby.com/sumitra and www.amazon.com. For more information, visit Sumitra’s website at www.sumitra-online.com, or to request an interview with Sumitra, please contact Pat Tynan Media
usually 2sets.approx. 45-50 minutes per set
about 15-20 songs
if my clothes were torn
i know it's late
i'm afraid of the dark
at the end
can you imagine?
orange and gold
my love's like a red red rose
as we come to be (Carleen Andersen)
woman in me (Carleen Andersen)
i can't make you love me (Prince)
don't talk to strangers (Prince)
A large repertoire of jazz standards including
spring can really hang you up the most
don't go to strangers
my one and only love
the nearness of you
2 sets.45-50 minutes per set
about 15-18 songs
mostly originals.sometimes 2-3 covers (see above)
There are no upcoming dates at this time.