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"Desi Music Breaks Fresh Ground"

There is muchabout Tasneem that makes her seem cut from a slightly different cloth. NOt so much an affectation or a way of dressing as a subtle unbowed, allure call it charisma. She effortlessly shifts fromher brazen sassy self to someone more introspective, but the band JUNGLI is at theirbest when she howls eyes closed, her mouth pursing around the microphone body tensed throat rasping out some muscular forgotten pain.
- India Abroad


In Hindi, ‘Jungli’ means wild, raw, unruly, in one’s primal state; of or pertaining to the jungle. This description is reflected in Tasneem Nanji’s music group JUNGLI, a fusion of alternative rock, hip hop, rap and well-crafted lyrics. JUNGLI has performed at many of New York’s diverse venues including Carnegie Hall, The Knitting Factory, CBGB’s and Basement Bhangra. The charismatic singer and songwriter Nanji has been featured on MTV’s Total Request Live MC Battle and in indie film Cubamor. An up and coming musical icon, Nanji’s unique sound blended with a high energy stage show is one not to be missed.

Why the name ‘Jungli’?
I named the band Jungli because it was a nickname that my mum used to give me when I would cause trouble which honestly was quite a bit. I liked the idea of using a hindi or gujurati word to describe what the music meant to me, something uninhibited, wild and free and for me that’s one word -JUNGLI.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by everything and everyone. Life love & art.

Who is your favorite music icon?
I can’t just choose one but lately I’ve been really into finding out more about the life of Freddie Mercury. His 60th birthday just passed and I was intrigued by his native country of Zanzibar and how they subtly rejected him as an icon, so I thought let me see what this man and his music was all about.

What do you do to earn and blow money?
If I tell you, I'll have to kill you....and then we can’t finish the interview.

How do you indulge your decadent side?
I go shopping and buy expensive clothing and eat vegan cheesecake with my bass player. Then I practice lots of yoga so I will no longer have the need to indulge my decadent side.

Who are your heroines?
Every woman in my family tree.

What cocktail best describes your personality?
Water with lemon. Because there are two sides of me - there is a pure artist, functional and calm, and there is this other side that most people see, the side that has bite, flavor and flair.

What do you think is the key to success in life?
I think success in life comes to those that choose to live in truth, it is only in that truth can one find freedom and in that freedom everything you want will eventually fall at your feet.

In a sentence, name one thing about yourself that is true.
I am jungli therefore I am free.

JUNGLI will perform at Joe’s Pub in New York City on Sept. 26, 2006, 9:30 p.m. - EGO Magazine

"Jungli's Wild Ride"

During ArtWallah’s kickoff concert, a friendly voice in the audience shouts up to Tasneem Nanji on stage, prompting her to recount her recent Saturday Night Live appearance. Nanji, who fronts the band JUNGLI, recalls her experience performing on SNL this past Valentine’s Day. She played guitar and sang back-up for the musical artist Kelis. “She sings a song about a milkshake. You might have heard it,” Nanji deadpans, referring to the singer’s hit single named after the dairy drink.

Her droll onstage banter between songs amuses the audience, but it’s her unique sound, an amalgam of bluesy vocals, alternative rock, hip hop and rap, that captures their interest. Jungli, which in Hindi and Gujarati means “wild” or “raw,” certainly also defines Nanji’s distinctive style. With lyrics like “They say that times is hard / Brother can you spare 50,000 … They say that it’s a cold, cold world / They don’t know that I’m on fire …When the monsoon comes I’ll be gone / The heist is on,” JUNGLI’s song “Heist” is a self-described “ode to frustration.”

Nanji believes that “artists should speak out” because of their position in society. “Society values music—music is like God.”


Nanji’s performance on Saturday Night Live wasn’t her first time rocking on the screen. Her remarkably diverse musical background includes a degree in jazz performance from NYU, backing up various soul and R&B groups, rapping and playing the saxophone in an off-Broadway hip hop theater dance project, opening for KRS-One, and appearing on MTV’s Total Request Live MC Battle and in a little indie film called [1] Cubamor.

Nanji, who also performed at ArtWallah 2003, likes that the annual event is “an outlet for South Asian artists. Before I would kind of feel like a freak,” she says. But after playing at ArtWallah, she “didn’t feel so alone.” Born in Canada to Gujarati parents from East Africa, she’s never been to India. Does she identify with her South Asian heritage? “It’s growing … I’ve been getting in touch with it more, especially the last three years or so.” Though she’s reluctant to sound like she’s stereotyping, Nanji describes her family as “unlike most South Asian families.” They are supportive, she explains, especially now that she has begun to progress in her musical career. Nanji attributes her family’s positive attitude to their backgrounds as intellectuals and academics.

Though she also writes the requisite love songs, Nanji believes that “artists should speak out” because of their position in society. “Society values music—music is like God,” she says. She follows her conscience, penning “Nuclear Song,” an anthem inspired by Arundhati Roy’s The Cost of Living, a polemic that attacks the dam-induced destruction of Indian villages. She also wears her politics proudly, displaying an “I heart Iraq” sticker on her guitar, which she says the FCC required her to cover during her SNL appearance.

Nanji faces unique challenges as a South Asian woman in her field. “There are zero role models,” she says. Admittedly, no guitar-toting South Asian female legends of rock or hip hop spring to mind, and this is a serious void. But Nanji’s talent and dedication to her craft suggest that some day she might be one of those who fill it.

written by : Pavani Yalamanchili.
Photography: Courtesy of Walter Giordani
- Nirali Magazine

"Wild at Heart"

Wild at heart

Say young Indian-American and you immediately conjure up a picture of a spelling bee winner, or a successful software engineer. But a young woman called Tasneem Nanji has chalked out a path that’s vastly different from the one that most Indians tread on. Nanji, who was born in Canada and whose family, was kicked out of Uganda then moved to Kenya and finally the US ending up Oklahoma. Tasneem eventually made her way to New York City. She studied like any good Indian kid — but ended up getting a bachelor’s degree in jazz performance. She is now a part of a band called Jungli. The group is called Jungli because that’s what her mom called her, says Tasneem in online magazine Ego. Her music, however, is anything but that. - The Telegraph Calcutta India


2004 The War In Me EP
2007 That [Girl] EP [ Available on i Tunes ]
2008 Coeur D'Or EP



Webster defines fusion as a union by or as if by melting; a merging of diverse, distinct, or separate elements into a unified whole. In the musical context, JUNGLI becomes fusion by assimilating Tasneem's life and love, ethnicity gender, and musical passion into a sound that will evoke your emotions & provoke your thoughts. JUNGLI is rock and roll in its purest form, a genre of music that is from the heart. The sound is engaging, blending lyrical variety and sonic range, all over an assortment of rhythms and arrangements that are undeniable.

Tasneem Nanji, founded JUNGLI in 2002 and pens the fascinating lyrics. With a lifetime enthusiasm for singing and writing, Tasneem explored a number of topics on 2004's The War in Me EP, including the usual suspects love, war, and the environment. With the release of 2007's That [GIRL] EP Tasneem has grown in sound in heart in mind and the band Jungli has become a force to be reckoned with in popular music today. With highlights such as the punk pop anthem " Girl " & Karsh Kales Remix of the " The Heist " this EP sets the band apart from all the others.

The captivating songwrestler has sung back-up and played guitar for Kelis and counts Peter Gabriel, 10,000 Maniacs, The Police, and even mango trees as musical inspiration. "I want to bring a new sound to an audience that can appreciate diversity, it's about a love for the art and my love for all kinds of music.

Collectively, JUNGLI has gained momentum in several metropolitan circuits, beginning in NYC at many of the hottest venues (CBGBs, SOBs, Joes Pub, etc.) and touring throughout the east coast (Bostons Paradise, Providence Rhode Islands Brown University & Miamis Design05) and in Los Angeles (Temple Bar, Tangier and the Knitting Factory). They performed last year at both the CMJ and the Brooklyn New Music Festivals. The band raises AIDS awareness through music, performing at Healing Innovations- and Amnesty International-sponsored events, and is active in the South Asian community, lending their music to the South Asian Women's Collective, Gallery Arts India, and Artwallah. Their show and sound are sure to make a mark on contemporary music and mesmerize audiences worldwide.