Bhi Bhiman

Bhiman

HearYa session alum, Bhi Bhiman’s sophomore effort is set to be released on 5/19. Rhythm & Reason is the title via BooCoo Records/Thirthy Tigers. Bhiman is very thoughtful songwriter and while you may not agree with everything he says, he does always give you something to think about. The main thing I don’t agree with him on is his support of the Cardinals.

Bhiman’s lead track,Up In Arms, continues that tradition. It is written from the perspective of Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton just before he was gunned down on the streets of Oakland. The track features a string section that works great with Bhiman’s voice.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Bhi Bhiman is here

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Bhi Bhiman, Session #102

by oz on May 16, 2012

Bhi Bhiman is a one-man folk music force of nature. He’s a Sri Lankan-American who grew up in St. Louis and later re-located to San Francisco, where he lives today. His debut album, BHIMAN, was released in January of this year and is winning over music critics, musicians, fans and long-time folkies with impeccable acoustic guitar and marvelous storytelling, taking on personas of a North Korean prisoner, a hobo riding the rails, a redneck, and a jealous lover, among many others.

But more impressive than his technical proficiency on acoustic guitar or his songwriting is his unmistakable tenor. Bhi appears to barely utter his vocals, yet they swell up inside a room and become larger than life. His grace is most evident when singing “Guttersnipe,” a complex and powerful vocal performance that Bhiman delivers effortlessly.

In the video for “Guttersnipe,” you’ll also see some footage of Bhi hanging out with our live session producer, Steve Shirk at Shirk Music + Sound. Shirk introduced Bhi to his prized 1941 Gibson SJ acoustic guitar – the same guitar that Joe Pug used in recording 90% of his 2010 album Messenger in Shirk’s studio.  It’s a guitar that was almost destroyed in Shirk’s early days living in New York and Bhi commented that it was the best sounding acoustic he’d ever played. He decided to play it on “Guttersnipe” for the session.

If you’re into these songs, please go buy the album. You will not be disappointed. If you live in San Francisco, you can find Bhi Bhiman on June 9th with Donovan Frankenreiter at The Independent.

Bhi Bhiman Introduction

Exclusive: Bhi Bhiman – Ballerina

Exclusive: Bhi Bhiman – Crime of Passion [Video: YouTube]

Exclusive: Bhi Bhiman – Take What I’m Given

Exclusive: Bhi Bhiman – Guttersnipe [Video: YouTube]

Download the Bhi Bhiman Live Session as a zip file.

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Bhi Bhiman – Bhiman [Album Review]

by Woody on March 29, 2012

We’re all guilty of judging a book by its cover at one point or another. I’ll write off bands just based on their name alone if I’m tired or cranky. So when receiving an email about Bhi Bhiman with all sorts of plaudits about how he was the next American folk-hero and the accompanying picture of a sophisticated Indian gentleman (yes, I now know he is of Sri Lankan descent) wearing a dapper suit and spectacles, I was a bit skeptical to say the least.

Thankfully I had gotten a good night’s sleep or ate a healthy lunch because I pushed on to the music and was greeted by one of the best debuts of the year. His powerful booming voice practically makes mics unnecessary and his lyrics are brilliant – worthy of your full attention.

“Ballerina” tells the tale of a ballerina gone bad, “I’m a Ballerina, a ballerina, a ballerina on the lamb.” Tangled in the yarn of the ballerina’s tale, you’ll find some biting commentary on Wal-Mart which is subtle, yet damn funny.

“Kimchi Line” is as simple a tune as you’ll get, telling the song from the perspective of a jailed North Korean who sings of a fat great leader as he starves in his cell. It’s got a Leadbelly covers Woody Guthrie vibe.  “Cookbook” doesn’t mince words in its damning indictment of corporate America’s penchant for cooking the books at the expense of the common man. Bhiman certainly has a few current events on his mind, but the political edge isn’t off-putting. The messages feel tucked away in the songs and overshadowed by melody and, again, those commanding vocals.

We were fortunate to get Bhi into the HearYa studio this past Sunday for a session. You can visit Amazon to download “Guttersnipe” for free or the entire album for 6.99, so give Bhiman a spin. I’m sure you will find both of your thumbs pointing towards the sky.

Update: Bhi also released a new video for “Atlatl” (second video below) that explores racial stereotypes in early Disney cartoons. The cartoon featured is called “Pioneer Days” from the 1930’s. Bhi’s commentary:

I’ve always loved Disney cartoons. I love the playfulness and skill of the artists. “Pioneer Days” is amazing because Disney was OK with putting out films like this (and “Mickey’s Man Friday”) with heavy racial stereotypes. But at the same time, Disney wasn’t inventing these stereotypes. They were promoting and reflecting what was probably common thought throughout America at the time.

Bhi Bhiman – Kimchi Line

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I’m getting out of the house this weekend and heading up to San Francisco for some jazz, blues, roots and good ole fashioned American rock music. We talked about The Moondoggies and their phenomenal album Don’t Be A Stranger not too long ago.‚  Since then I’ve read nothing but good things about the Seattle band’s live shows. I’ll be a witness firsthand on Saturday night as the boys share the Slim’s stage with Doug Ellington (grand-nephew of Duke), The Stone Foxes, and Bhi Bhiman.

Any San Franciscan readers going? If so, let’s grab a cold one.

Doug Ellington – Mind In Mediation

The Moondoggies – Changing

The Stone Foxes – Beneath Mt. Sinai

Bhi Bhiman – Telouise

The Moondoggies, live and acoustic on the ferry in Seattle.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaB_lLPDOmE[/youtube]

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