Very different from M.I.A., but just as exotic and intriguing, Suphala, which means 'fruitfulness' in Sanskrit, creates beautiful soundscapes that feature a lush amalgamation of drum and bass, bhangra, breakbeat, and downtempo. But the main attraction is Suphala's hands of lightning on the small Indian drums, tablas. Be sure to listen to some clips of her in action on her site.
Here's an excerpt from the NYT article:
At 30, with brown irises the size of nickels and seductively flowing black ringlets, Suphala, her record company is convinced, is the person who can once again popularize a musical instrument that last had its moment in this country in the late 1960's and early 70's, when the Indian tabla master Alla Rakha and the sitarist Ravi Shankar played the Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock.
Creating a career around an instrument as obscure to Americans as the tabla takes savvy as much as talent. In the 60's crossing over into the mainstream required jamming with hippies in dashikis and getting the endorsement of George Harrison. In the postmillennial era it means laying down hip-hop rhythms for happening D.J.'s, wearing haute couture on your album cover and, maybe most important, getting Norah Jones to sing a track on your CD.
And an excerpt from Suphala's site about her album, 'The Now'
Artists on THE NOW include Mazz Swift, Dana Leong, Norah Jones, Antonio Banderas [!], DJ Kiva, Vernon Reid, Salim Merchant, Vikter Duplaix, and more. THE NOW is being released by Rasamusic/Tommy Boy records
Buy The Now, which comes out May 10.