Rajesh Hardwani truly understands and unabashedly explores the symbiosis between hip hop, funk, and soul from the West and East Asian genres and instrumentation. This exploration and experimentation resulted in Black Asia Vol. 1. The material on Black Asia Vol. 1—tracks such as “Liquid” (with its Indian chants and driving tablas), “Lemon Grass” (with its Thai vocal samples combined with its funky hip hop beat), and “Indian Blues” (with its classic blues guitar riff)—epitomize the eclectic yet balanced nature of the album as a whole and the underlying artistic philosophy behind Black Asia. Yet, Black Asia Vol. 1 was only the beginning for Rajesh.
As Hardwani so succinctly points out,
“Black Asia is not just about coming together as one, but as one race (human), one colour (blood), a universal language (music) and one faith (love). The music here has no boundaries…”
This continuing evolution of the concept of Black Asia has led to the second edition—Black Asia Vol. 2.
Black Asia Vol. 2. is a more ambitious project for Hardwani. In particular, it highlights Hardwani’s all encompassing perspective of the Black Asia movement as a visual, social and spiritual medium.
Black Asia Vol. 2 is not just a musical journey, but is a complete sensory experience, incorporating the visual and textile into Rajesh’s soundscape.
Black Asia Vol. 2 combines a seventeen track sojourner across the West, Southeast and Mid-Asia with an in depth travelogue chronicling Hardwani’s travels from the Danshanzi Art District to the Ba Da Ling segment of the Great Wall of China in Beijing. The travelogue, in turn, is a 140-page photo journal rich with visual texture and cerebral insights.
Black Asia Vol. 2 is also a vehicle for promoting other like-minded visual artists. This is evident by the last section of Back Asia Vol. 2 which is devoted to highlighting the works of visual artists Chen Yan Yun, Sara Chong, Joseph Nair, and Li Xiao Qian.
Ultimately, Black Asia Vol. 2 is a continuation of Rajesh Hardwani’s broader vision for Black Asia—to coalesce our cultural, ethnic, and religious individualities into one source. It is in our nature to create boundaries and divides between ourselves and others. It is equally as natural for us to shy away from the emotions and occasional pains of our lives. Yet, we all experience the same emotions regardless of these boundaries and divides. We all bleed the same color (red) and have the same faith (love).
Black Asia Vol. 2 attempts to lead one to this realization through a series of sensory journeys. The listener/reader is guided by Hardwani on a pilgrimage that may begin in Beijing, China but will ultimately end within.
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