New Monsoon brings its magic to town |

New Monsoon brings its magic to town

— New Monsoon hasn’t signed to a major label and this will be its first stop in Steamboat Springs. The band will be something new for local clubgoers, but they will be surprised at how familiar it sounds.

With a guitar, keyboard and bass, the band has a recognizable surface sound introduced to the world by the likes of Santana and perpetuated on several Phish albums. As you listen longer, however, the layers deepen into something you probably haven’t heard before.

The seven-member band adds a banjo and a dobro to round out an American sound, but the rhythm and percussion section bring in the rest of the world.

Rajiv Parikh plays the tabla, a percussion instrument from northern India, and the ghatham, a percussion instrument from southern India that looks like a clay pot. Parikh grew up in India but moved to the United States as a toddler.

Fourteen years ago, Parikh was living in the San Francisco Bay area when he learned Zakir Hussain, the best table player in the world, lived near him and was offering lessons.

“Tablas are difficult to play,” he said. “They take a lot of discipline and a lot of practice.”

Parikh was invited to a New Monsoon rehearsal in 1998 by the band’s founder, guitarist and banjo player, Bo Carper.

“He didn’t even know me,” Parikh said. But Carper had always envisioned Indian and Latin rhythms becoming a part of the band’s sound.

“I was blown away by how good these guys are,” Parikh said.

“My joining the band just happened organically and I’m pretty amazed at what has come out of it. I feel like we have real magic on stage.”

New Monsoon’s stop in Steamboat comes in the second of two back-to-back tours for the band. In January, all the members quit their jobs to dedicate themselves to the band full time. Because they haven’t signed a record contract, they are hoping to build success the old-fashioned, grass-roots way.

The fans they have collected over the years have been really supportive, Parikh said.

When they were in Oregon, someone broke into their van and stole more than 100 CDs. The band posted the theft on an Internet bulletin board and people responded by sending free music ever since.

“We’ve gotten a chance to listen to so much diverse music because of this,” Parikh said.

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