The Rāginī Ensemble, born out of Brooklyn Raga Massive’s annual festival of the same name, is a gathering of artists illuminating the plurality of the South Asian diaspora from Reunion Island, Guyana, and Trinidad. Bandleader and tabla player Roshni Samlal sets the performance within the aesthetic framework defined by the "Coolitude'' movement, a term coined by poet and semiologist Khal Torabully, that draws from multiple mythologies and histories that reconcile the complex nature of Indo-Caribbean identity, among other descendants of the post-colonial subcontinent. Themes of nostalgia, separation, and communal memory are explored through Surinamese baithak ghana chanting, Trinidadian Bhojpuri folk song and more with the dynamic interplay of Samlal’s tabla and electronics, the vocals and harmonium of Pratima Doobay, the loops and beats of violinist Natie, and the contributions of guests such as bassist Damon Banks and vocalist Kajol.
"I brought this ensemble together to interpret the Caribbean landscape of sound and its personal and cultural histories, using traditional South Asian and electronic instrumentation, this music seeks to bridge South Asian classical, contemporary and diasporic folk worlds."
Roshni Samlal, tabla / electronics
Pratima Doobay, vocals / harmonium
Natie, violin / loops / beats