For The Love Of L.A.: "Battlefield" by Aditya Prakash
Battlefield, a piece I created during this lockdown, is inspired by Anand Patwardhan’s 1992 documentary “Father, Son and Holy War”—which addresses religious fundamentalism. Battlefield is a piece arranged and performed by me, using vocals and mridangam, the primary percussion instrument in Carnatic music. The video was captured and edited by Brian Hashimoto. This piece comes from a place of personal reflection on the two places I consider home: India and the U.S. My cultural upbringing always emphasized the idea of openness and inclusivity in Hinduism. And growing up in L.A., there was always the value of diversity and multiplicity. My increasing awareness of the divisiveness of my two countries, and—in particular—the rhetoric used by the political leaders in power in these two countries has disturbed me and found voice in this piece. Of course, I understand that extremism and xenophobia exist in all major religions and cultures, but it’s seeing the extremism of the people in power in my two countries that disturbs me.
Aditya Prakash is an award-winning vocalist known for his powerful and emotive voice and is one of the foremost young virtuosos of Carnatic music, the traditional classical style of South India.
A Los Angeles native from a family richly immersed in South Indian arts and culture, Prakash’s intensive musical studies began in his childhood. At only 16 years of age, he became one of the youngest musicians ever to tour and perform with sitar maestro Ravi Shankar, accompanying him to such prestigious stages as Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and The Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Aditya continues to collaborate with leading innovators and artists including Anoushka Shankar (he was featured on her Grammy-nominated Traveler); Armenian pianist Tigran Hamasyan (working together on a new album planned for release in 2021); Asian Underground artist Karsh Kale, and most recently the acclaimed dancer and choreographer Akram Khan (in his final solo work, XENOS, touring internationally from 2018-2021).
Curated by Jennifer Fukutomi-Jones
"In approaching this series, I wanted to highlight some extraordinary Asian-American artists who I have immense respect for and who have inspired me through their innovative use of creativity to bring the community together. The following artists aim to shed light on the Asian-American experience through a lens of social justice, and how we need to move forward in exposing fact not fear, love not hate, and empathy not divisiveness.
Aditya Prakash is an award-winning vocalist known as one of the foremost virtuosos of Carnatic music, the traditional classical style of South India. A Los Angeles native from a family richly immersed in South Indian arts and culture, Aditya has performed with artists such as Ravi Shankar, Anoushka Shankar, Tigran Hamasyan and Karsh Kale. His piece, 'Battlefield,' is a depiction of racism throughout time and the need for allyship in advocating for social equality and justice."