Indian American singer and harpist Sheela Bringi was recently profiled by NBC News. Passionate about infusing the music of her heritage with the American genres she heard growing up, her goal is to “bridge worlds” with her work. Bringi tells Monica Luhar of NBC News, “Being Indian and American, and a musician, I try to put the two things together. I try to build something new without losing contact to the traditional source. It might fall down, but for me, it’s important to try.”
In addition to the harp, Bringi plays the bansuri (an Indian bamboo flute) and the harmonium, and she released her second album in 2016, titled Shakti Sutra. The album includes ten tracks of Indian raga with “ambient textures and soulful rhythms.” For several years, she has been working on something she calls the Hindustani Harp Project: a study on how to approach raga-based music on the harp and how to adapt technique to optimize the experience. Bringi is hoping to help continue the evolution of the harp, as the Indian harp (called the swarmandal) never developed into a solo instrument. One of her goals is to “explore the connections between her ancestral homeland and the West,” writes Luhar.
Bringi has studied carnatic music from South India, Sanskrit mantra chanting, and the Hindustani classical music from North India. Her work is also heavily influenced by the blues, jazz, and popular music of today. You can learn more about Bringi’s music and upcoming shows at www.shebrings.com. To read the article in full, click here.