PinUp Party... Celebrating Fela Kuti's Birthday, Nikhil P. Yerawadekar & Low Mentality

Nikhil P. Yerawadekar & Low Mentality

My name is Nikhil P. Yerawadekar*. I was born in Queens, NY in 1984 and started playing music at an early age in an effort to match my older brother's piano game. I listened to a lot of Jimi Hendrix and great NYC hip-hop when I was a teenager. At the time it seemed as though music would allow for a life of hanging out, exploring ideas and grandstanding, being obscene and philosophical at the same time. Jimi caused me to practice guitar a lot but I never really wanted to collaborate with people as a youth so the first real band I ever played in was a highlife and soukous cover band called Africa Connection when I was 19. I went to rehearsal every Sunday evening for a year; there were three gigs.

Soon after that, I joined Akoya Afrobeat and met a lot of other great musicians fast. I was getting really fascinated by music from West Africa and the Caribbean. Before I knew it I was in a lot of bands (I still am) and collaborating with a lot of great artists**. I started out being able to play guitar and keyboards, and now it seems I play bass gigs more than anything else. Singing and drumming are there too. I've been to a bunch of different places in the world and have done a lot of shows and recording sessions. At the same time, I'm the head of the Rock Band program at Bank St. School For Children in Manhattan where I teach kids how to play music.

I've always admired records by guys like Prince, Stevie Wonder, Shuggie Otis and Emmit Rhodes, guys who can play all the instruments. So I'm going to try that. Really I just want to try to channel all the expressive powers of the artform called music and keep it vital for myself and all other interested parties. Over the years I've realized that on every level there is a pressure among artists in our society to overvalue making a good impression and appearing professional, often at the expense of expressing a feeling or an idea. I can appreciate certain stuff that comes out of that state of mind, but really I don't think that's where the lasting value is.

I started a band of friends called Low Mentality because what I want to do is not high minded art, it's just impulse carried out through music. The thoughts that pop into your mind but get dismissed because they seem like they would carry bad consequences. I want to see what happens when you respect and respond to that side of your mind rather than the side that tries to predict how people will respond to you. The goal is to have the science, the id and the appreciation all there together at the party.



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