Musician Charu Suri to perform at Lincoln Center

Musician Charu Suri. Photo: Twitter @charusurimusic

Fresh on her second triumphant performance of her “avant-classical/jazz” approach to presenting Raga music to American audience, Charu Suri joins an all-star cast of accomplished independent music artists for an All Faiths Show at Lincoln Center’s Bruno Walter Auditorium December 8,  2021.  This performance marks her debut at Lincoln Center.

The Chennai -born immigrant is part of the Indie Collaborative, a group that inspires musicians and other artists to work together to create new works of arts. Suri says she’s “grown in leaps and bounds” by, simply, talking with the members.

Educated at Princeton University and the Manhattan School of Music, Suri says, “They know their music, love the arts and are extremely supportive. It’s rare to find this type of community, anywhere!”

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Q: You’ve played in a range of musical configurations. We see you are a master of the Great American Songbook. What kinds of concerts and shows have you performed?

Charu Suri: I have performed in large ensembles but nowadays prefer the small ensembles: trios and quartet formats. I find jazz small ensembles promote greater transparency and virtuosity in playing. And yes, I love the Songbook because it is timeless and has all the feels! It will forever be a cornerstone in the sound of jazz.

The gigs I tend to do these days are those that allow me the flexibility to experiment. I tend not to go to clubs that say, “we want this sound or need to play standards or covers etc.,” because that’s not our sound or voice.

Q: How did you deal with the pandemic? What was the hardest part about it, and how did you rise to the challenge?

Charu Suri: The pandemic was tough, but it was lucky for me that I’m a musician and I had a piano at home. I did a livestream or jazz piece every single day during lockdown and helped keep my fans motivated and emotionally connected. I also tried to master the art of livestreams, by investing in new microphones and speakers to give the feeling of live concerts to my audience.

Q:  What attracted you to come to America? What advice do you have for musical immigrants?

Charu Suri: I came to the US for University and went to Princeton for the music program. I have been so fortunate to learn from the jazz culture in America—from New Orleans to bebop! And to find so many incredible collaborators from all genres who are willing to jam and teach me music. I feel that my ragas are contributions to the jazz repertoire in this country and I’m thrilled at the feedback I’ve received, and hope to grow. The advice I have for musical immigrants is to really embrace their heritage, and to see how they can contribute musically to the genre while paying homage to their roots. From what I’ve seen, audiences really love fresh sounds and are willing and receptive to new jazz experiments.

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