make a contribution

join our mailing list

"blending activism and filmmaking"




Karmacy: The Philosophy

In this new millennium, America is in the midst of witnessing the awakening of a whole new generation of American-born children of immigrant parents--the second generation. As they negotiate novel experiences in an increasingly diverse nation--racially, ethnically, religiously--this generation has succeeded in creating new forms of artistic expression. Spearheading the movement is Karmacy, and their independent label, Rukus Avenue, is building the platform from which an increasing number of artists can find and express their own voices.

Comprised of completely original intellectual property, the music of Karmacy represents the everyday realities and philosophies of diasporic individuals. Producer and one of the four members of Karmacy, S. Ceez explains, "there's a certain nurturing that we all did together that evolved our mind, spirit, thought--everything towards this diasporic direction." The evolution of a diasporic sensibility among the four members of Karmacy has included the articulation of a genre of music--fusion hip hop--that simultaneously utilizes the specificity of their background, such as the incorporation of four different languages on their album including Gujurathi, Punjabi, English, and Spanish, while embracing the universality of the human condition by commenting on issues which affect us all.

One especially striking single which highlights the philosophy and expression of specificity and universality among the second generation is "Blood Brothers," which is found on the Rukus Avenue compilation Passage to India (2001). Live is the best way to experience this linguistic and emotional exchange between two brothers--one located in India and speaking in Gujurathi performed by Swap and the other brother, performed by Nimo, who is speaking in English as an immigrant in the US. One needs only to understand half of the exchange to realize the awareness these men have of the experiences of first generation immigrant parents. The gratitude of Nimo and Swap for their parents' sacrifices is implicit, yet forceful, and is in no way limited to the South Asian American experience.

Fusion music is perhaps the best way to describe this genre of music which is, in actuality, impossible to pigeon-hole. Notable for lyrics that are exceptional with their insight and social commentary, KB explains: "we are in a new phase of communication. It's a new phase and form of communication that's beyond labels and categories. It goes past boundaries." The music of Karmacy doesn't lose authenticity with its incorporation of various linguistic, instrumental, and philosophical elements. Indeed, fusion music creates a new form of authentic music which can only be judged by its own standards. Experience Karmacy's Movement (2002) for yourself.

-Nitasha Sharma


Copyright. EKTA. All Rights Reserved. 2000-2004