Karsh Kale

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Karsh Kale
Karsh Kale performing in Bangalore in January 2009
Karsh Kale performing in Bangalore in January 2009
Background information
Birth nameUtkarsha Kale
Also known asKarsh Kale
OriginWest Bromwich, England
GenresElectronic, Indian classical, Indian folk, rock, hip hop, EDM, jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, record producer, singer, songwriter, film composer, DJ
InstrumentsTabla, electronic tabla, drums, vocals, electric guitar, piano, keyboards, bass guitar, cello, santoor, string arranger, software, technology.
Years active1994-present
LabelsSix Degrees, Mighty Junn, EMI, Manhattan
Associated actsRealize Live, Tabla Beat Science, MPKK, Asian Massive, Breathing Under Water, Material, Conema Live, Timeline, Midival Punditz, Angaraag Mahanta (Papon)

Karsh Kale (pronounced Kursh Kah-lay, कर्ष काळे in Marathi; born 1 November 1974) is an American musician, record producer, singer, songwriter, film composer and DJ. He is considered one of the pioneering figures in defining the Asian Underground genre by mixing disparate genres of music such as Indian classical and folk with electronica, rock, pop and ambient music. In addition to production, remixing, and DJ work, Kale is known for his tabla drumming and film composition.[1]


Early life[edit]

Born as Utkarsh Kale on 1 November 1974 to Indian Marathi speaking immigrants in West Bromwich, UK, Kale was raised in Stony Brook, New York after his parents relocated in 1977.[2]

Kale took an interest in drums and eventually became a tabla player. His father introduced him to a broad range of music, which included traditional Indian music, classical, rock, and even early hip-hop. From this broad range of influences, Kale, who was self-taught, developed his own style, which eventually led to his "electric tabla".[3]

Tabla Beat Science[edit]

In 2000, Bill Laswell founded Tabla Beat Science, inviting Kale, along with Zakir Hussain, Talvin Singh, Trilok Gurtu and Sultan Khan. Together, the group released Tala Matrix that year. The album is considered to be one of the most influential Asian Fusion albums to date,[2] and the group embarked on a tour, of which one of the shows was later released on DVD.[3]

Solo career[edit]

While a Music Production and Performance student at New York University, Kale began playing in bands and working as a session musician.[3] In 1999, Kale began work on his first EP, Classical Science Fiction from India and began hosting bi-weekly "Futureproof" events, which consisted of DJ and electric tabla sets.[4]

These events attracted the attention of San Francisco label Six Degrees Records. Soon after, Kale became the first Indo-American to be signed to a solo recording contract in the United States, a move which was followed by Kale's first full-length album, Realize, in 2001.[3][5] Realize, often considered as a major milestone in what Kale called "Asian Massive",[6] was followed with 2002's Asian Massive Tour, which also featured Midival Punditz and Cheb i Sabbah, and 2003's Liberation. Zakir Hussain also was featured in the album and in the major attraction of the album "Milan".[3]

Kale's third album, 2006's Broken English, was predominantly set to English lyrics, a shift from his previous albums. His follow-up Breathing Under Water, released in 2007, was the result of a two-year collaboration with sitar instrumentalist Anoushka Shankar.[3] In 2011, Kale released Cinema, which is influenced by Kale's experiences in composing for Bollywood. He also won GIMA Awards best fusion album for the same, beating A.R.Rahman.[citation needed]

Other work[edit]

Kale has composed for crossover and Bollywood films including Chutney Popcorn, Indian Cowboy, Ocean of Pearls, and Pyaar Impossible!. His tracks have also been featured in shows such as HBO's True Blood[7] and Real Time with Bill Maher.[8] Two of his songs were included in as sample music in Windows Vista by Microsoft.[9]

Kale's songwriting credits include songs with Sting and Norah Jones,[1] and has remixed songs by artists including Paula Cole, Yoko Ono, and The Cure. Kale also worked with Midival Punditz on a rescoring of Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon.[3]

In 2012 Kale was one of an esteemed group of music producers selected to take part in MTV India's music incubation project: Coke Studio for its second season. Working with Indian artists including Warren Mendonsa, Monali Thakur, Benny Dayal, Apeksha Dandekar and more, he produced some of the series most innovative and well received tracks.[10]



Solo albums

With Tabla Beat Science[edit]

  • Tala Matrix (2000)
  • Live at Stern Grove Palm Pictures (2003)
  • Talaman Soundclash, Live at the Filmore (2004)


  • Bright Like This (1999)
  • Classical Science Fiction from India (2000)
  • Play (1999)
  • Pause (1999)
  • Back Seat Lavni (1999)
  • Distance Remixes (2000)
  • Manifest Remixes EP (2006)
  • Beautiful Remixes EP (2007)
  • Funkcronomic (2016) (with Bill Laswell and Bernie Worrell)

With Dave Douglas



  • Distance (2001)
  • We All Fall (2014)
  • Up (2016)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hollywood Bowl. "About the Performer: Karsh Kale". Hollywoodbowl.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-23. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  2. ^ a b "Karsh Kale: Artist You Should Know". Blogs.kcrw.com. 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Biography". Last.fm. 2012-06-26. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  4. ^ World Music Central.org. "Karsh Kale Biography". Worldmusiccentral.org. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  5. ^ "CD REVIEWS: Eric's Trip, Corrosion Of Conformity, Arling & Cameron and many more". Chart Attack, August 07, 2001. Paul Gangadeen
  6. ^ "Karsh Kale: Realize". Ethnotechno.com. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  7. ^ "Karsh Kale - Artist Profile". eventseeker.com. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  8. ^ "Resume". IMDb.com. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Karsh Kale: Music With Echoes of India, America and Much, Much More". Kqed.org. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-24. Retrieved 2013-12-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]