Bhi Bhiman

Bhi Bhiman


With a style blending folk guitar, soul singing and biting lyrics, Bhi Bhiman is a unique and entertaining singer/songwriter. His sound ranges from haunting (“Eye on You”) to hilarious (“Talkin' NASCAR Blues”), and—while he’s at his best on stage—a few downloads are enough to turn anyone into a fan.


There's an old line Frank Zappa used when he was talking to journalists that goes, "I don't think anybody would be very interested in Frank Zappa if he thought he was capable of telling you who Frank Zappa is—know what I mean?"

In that vein, any musician's "bio" is inherently going to be at least half bullshit. If the music is good, it's good and the bio needs only to avoid tripping over itself. If the music's not good, no amount of background drama, celebrity intrigue or rhetorical praise is going to make it worthwhile.

Such as it is, a bio could never suffice for Bhi Bhiman — for the very reason that his music is far more interesting of its own accord than anyone could ever make it through extrapolation or backdrop distractions.

Now in his mid-20s, Bhiman was raised in St. Louis and is Sri Lankan by descent. He began playing guitar early in life, moving into songwriting while attending college in Santa Cruz. He developed quickly into an intelligent, engaging and—obviously most importantly— entertaining songwriter.

While still in school he formed the band Hippie Grenade. The band's sound got around Santa Cruz and they became a cult favorite in town before outgrowing — and, in some cases, graduating — the college scene, at which point they moved on to San Francisco.

With the voice of a classic-era soul singer (Bill Withers), the presentation of a folk artist (Bob Dylan), the style of a beat poet (William Burroughs) and the psychotic moxie of true innovators (Tenacious D), Bhiman's solo stylings are more accessible and captivating than the rockier, funkier sound Hippie Grenade achieves.

But, as with any great singer-songwriter, it is Bhiman's lyrics that truly stand out.

Little blurbs stick with every listener: for some it's a racist culture escalated into a bit of nonsense in "White Man's Burden Blues"; for some it's a marriage struck up on Mexican wine and getting knocked up in "Equal in my Tea"; for some it's a nation infatuated with NASCAR and George W. Bush in "Talkin’ NASCAR Blues"; for some it's the unnatural (or natural) relationship between Kobe and Satan in "International Hater."

Wherever they appeal most to any particular ear, the lyrics that Bhiman writes bend the unfitting reality of modern culture into tangible and sidesplitting stories of love, lust, bigotry and life.

Does that summarize it sufficiently (without tripping)? There's no way it possibly could.

-Jake Leonard, San Francisco Chronicle


Bhi Bhiman, Self Titled EP:
Up in Arms (Minister of Defense)
White Man's Burden Blues
Equal in My Tea
Talkin' NASCAR Blues
International Hater (The Kobe Song)
*All songs aired on KZSU and KCSB

Set List

Bhi Bhiman's typical set list includes mostly originals with a few covers here and there.

Original Songs:
Time Heals a Broken Heart
Up in Arms (Minister of Defense)
White Man's Burden Blues
Equal in My Tea
Talkin' NASCAR Blues
International Hater (I Hate Kobe)
Eye on You
Fat Albert
Out in the Streets
Big Mistake (I Laughed All the Way to the B of A)
FDA Blues
Love Is Just a Word You Say
The Cookbook
You Gotta Move
Jaffna Town
Loving You
Going Back Home
It's Cold Out Here
Let Me In

Just Like a Woman
I Love Your Loving Ways
Here Comes the Sun
Concrete Jungle
Tracks of My Tears
When I Paint My Masterpiece
Bye Bye Love
I Don't Need No Doctor
Change is Gonna Come
Waiting in Vain
Higher and Higher
I Got a Woman
Black Hole Sun