UNK: The Radha Thomas Ensemble
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UNK: The Radha Thomas Ensemble

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RADHA THOMAS
Began headlining as a singer while still in her teens in a rock and roll band called Human Bondage, which was India’s most popular band in the 70s. She soon developed a strong taste for jazz, which is her favourite kind of music. She also began combining the tonal complexities of jazz with the rhythmic nuances of Indian classical music.

Thomas (who was Radha Shottam then) represented India at European jazz festivals and made her way to New York, the home of jazz, where she lived and performed for almost 20 years with such musicians as John Scofield, Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker, John Faddis, Alex Blake, David Liebman, John Abercrombie, Ryo Kawasaki, Joe Farrell and many others in some of NYC’s most famous jazz clubs including Sweet Basil, The Bottom Line, Alice Tully Hall and more.

Her Indian classical vocal training came first from Kumar Gandharva in New Delhi at the Gandharva Maha Vidyalaya, and subsequently with Ustad Farid Ud Din Dagar of the famed Dagar Brothers in the dying art of Drupad singing. She continues to bring these Indian influences into her singing and in fact is one of the few Indian vocalists who can bridge the gap between Indian classical music and jazz. She has three albums to her credit and has performed in London, many cities across the USA, France, Poland, Germany the Far East and of course all over India.

She has performed at the Jazz Yatra, the Bengaluru Habba and popular clubs across India. She has performed with most of India’s leading jazz musicians.

Her band UNK: The Radha Thomas Ensemble is now one year old. She lives and divides her time between music and writing. Her first novel, ‘Men On My Mind’ will be launched later this year. She is Senior Vice President at explocity.com.

AMAN MAHAJAN
Is a pianist presently based in Bangalore, India. Graduating from the Berklee College of Music, Boston, in 2007, Aman has worked with musicians from all over the world, playing music from jazz, blues and rock to electronica and Balinese gamelan. A few artists and groups he has worked with are – Lucky Ali (Indian songwriter), Arooj Aftab (world fusion / Pakistani song), Gamelan Galak Tika (traditional Balinese), Project O.N.S (electronic/jazz/funk) and Joya (New-England based pop singer). Aman has also performed with jazz musicians from India like Adrian D'Souza, Mishko M'Ba, Sonia Saigal, Amit Heri and Gerard Machado.

Aman is widely influenced by jazz, blues, Western and Indian classical music, and folk music styles from Africa, India, Turkey and the American continents.

MATT LITTLEWOOD
Is originally from UK and has been living in India for the last 13 years. Saxophonist, pianist and composer he has been active on the Indian jazz scene over the last 6 years and has played with numerous groups and ensembles, and has performed at all the major festivals and venues in India. He also leads his own group that features his own compositions and arrangements.

MISHKO M'BA
Is among the cream of French bassists, having worked with renowned Artists such as Raul de Suza, Lucky Ali, Kaled and Didier Lockwood. He has an exciting, intensely dynamic style, contributing melodic and rhythmic structures which are the very heartbeat of Emergence. He is also part of the French band from Reunion Island: Ziskakan. He studied western classical music at Toulouse and focused later on jazz and rock. As in demand bass player who really makes his instrument sing, he is touring in USA, Europe and Asia with various bands of different musical styles for many years. Mishko is permanent member of the Reunion band Zishkakan and the Paris ensemble Elexir with Raoul de Souza. He lives partly in Reunion in France and in Pondicherry.

SURESH BASCARA
A French Pondicherian studied the drums and percussion for over 10 years in Paris. In 1996 he was awarded a scholarship to study the tabla in Kolkata with Pandit Shankar Ghosh. He now lives and teaches in Auroville, and has participated in countless jazz, fusion and world music groups all over India. In 2006 he performed-with the trio ‘Three Raags’ in Burma, as well as the jazz festival of Kolkata, which also featured saxophonist Kenny Garret and other jazz stars. A CD was also recently released by the group entitled "Strange Fruits."

RAMJEE CHANDRAN
Is a self-taught jazz musician. His style tends towards bebop, influenced principally by horn players. After an early stab at scat-singing--performing a decade ago with singer Radha Thomas and jazz guitarist Gerard Machado--he recently turned to playing the guitar. He has played jazz guitar for UNK since its inception a year ago. He is a writer and editor.