Prabir Trio Blends Indian Immigrant and American upbringing on debut LP, HAANJI.
Diverse, forward-thinking album tells the story of frontman’s immigration from India to Virginia by blending elements of Indian music into hook-laden rock and roll.
Haanji, the full-length debut from Prabir Trio, is a border-crossing record that blurs the boundaries between American rock & roll and Indian traditions. Influenced by alt-rock, classic British pop, Indian rāgas, garage grooves, and frontman Prabir Mehta's relocation from India to the USA as a wide-eyed 8 year old, it's an album about the personal evolution that many immigrants go through.
For Prabir, that evolution was catalyzed by music. Uprooted from his childhood home and transplanted to Richmond, Virginia, he fell in love with the guitar-driven sounds of the FM radio. Western music helped acclimate him to western ideals. It helped him understand his new world. Decades later, he remains a man caught between cultures, proudly based in Richmond — where Haanji was recorded at Virginia Moonwalker Studio, using the same soundboard once owned by iconic local venue The Flood Zone — yet still devoted to the family members and customs of his native India, too.
Joined by bandmates Kelli Strawbridge, Kenneka Cook, and Russell Lacy, Prabir funnels that unique perspective into Haanji. These songs find room not only for electric guitar, four-part vocal harmonies, and raw rock & roll, but also sitar, tanpura, his mother's harmonium, and his father's tablas. Gluing those ingredients together is the autobiographical songwriting of a frontman who recalls taking his first steps on US soil ("Immigrant Song"), learning about his newly-adopted home ("America"), discovering rock and roll ("Silverchair"), finding a place in his community ("Bamboo"), and falling in love along the way ("Sally Please"). It's a coming-of-age chronicle with a bicultural twist, filled with songs that are as unique as Prabir's own experience.
A longtime champion of Richmond's arts community, Mehta has spent the better part of two decades working with outlets like NPR's Morning Edition, the Richmond Symphony, the Science Museum of Virginia, and his own Gallery 5 non-profit organization. He's spent much of that time onstage, too, fronting the critically-acclaimed power-pop act Prabir & The Substitutes before merging the worlds of indie-rock and classical music with the band Goldrush. To him, music has always been more than an art form. It's the mechanism by which he — and human society as a whole — has grown and progressed.
Haanji highlights that progression, taking listeners on a journey from Prabir's youth to the present day.
Their brand-new album “Haanji” – literally “yes sir” or “yes ma’am” – embraces Mehta’s identity as in-outsider with a song cycle of bright melodies, sharp-edged lyrics and sonic echoes of his subcontinental origin. - Style Weekly
Words of love, turned into song, arriving at exactly the right moment. - The Auricular
For visual proof check out the YouTube page.
For audio proof check out the Spotify page.
Sets and Rep:
Currently the band is available to play sets that range from opening 30 minute blasts to full night residency style gig.
Nearly all the material is original music written by The Prabir Trio, but some choice covers get introduced to help round out the night.
For booking please email: PrabirTMehta@gmail.com