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Rajesh Hardwani, an Asian based in Singapore, met Brian Weir-Harden, an African American from Indianapolis, at a music convention in 2001. Over lunch, they spoke a lot about music and Rajesh expressed his affinity to Black (African American) music. He was just as surprised when Brian mentioned his liking for instrumental classical Indian music, especially the “sweet sound of the sitar”.

This serendipitous moment grew into a beautiful friendship. When it came to their music collaboration, it was natural and seamless to fuse genres of funk, soul, hip-hop and electronica with Asian instrumentation such as the sitar, erhu, shamisen, tabla, to name a few.

While the duo didn’t have a plan for a record or gig yet, they thought it was important their culture, background, music and coming together was represented with a name. Black Asia was born out of this.

Black Asia has since evolved into a cultural movement, which celebrates the synthesis of distinct yet complimentary musical genres from the West and the East - It is a cultural medium through which individuals from different backgrounds come together to speak the same language and share the same experiences, an arena within which our questions about life, religion, and identity can be asked with candor and explored without inhibition.

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