MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)2019, 2018, 2017
"My art aims to traverse the distance between traditional and contemporary, East and West, planned and spontaneous. As an American of Indian descent, my dance and music represent a hybrid of my two cultures - an effort to preserve the ancient cultures of India by interpreting them in a modern language and context. My artistic practice means, to me, acting as a conduit for the beauty of lndia's cultural arts in the West. I consider myself on the fringes between two worlds, floating somewhere in between, trying to act as a bridge between them. lndeed, my desire is to use the arts to bridge gaps between cultures, castes, and religions, as a vehicle for greater peace and harmony in the world." ~Rimi Basu
Rimi Basu, an Indian-American singer and dancer, represents a unique and versatile addition to performing arts in the USA. An ex-medical school student who defied Indian-American societal expectations to run away to India and become an artist, she has since completed two music albums, multiple dance projects, and toured around the world with her unique artistic vision. Trained in the several Indian classical dance forms including Odissi and Kathak, as well as Sufi whirling and belly dance, her unique selling proposition is the fusion of traditional and contemporary styles in her live performances, Rimi's passion and purpose is in the preservation of world arts through innovative and experimental renditions; thus, she has also co-founded Shakti Foundation, a 501(cX3) non-profit dedicated to this mission, through which she presents performances and Indian dance workshops.
While living in India, Basu has trained with renowned musicians and pundits of Indian music and dance, including Ajoy Chakrobarty in Kolkata, India at his school, Srutinandan and Ustad Iqbal Khan of the Delhi Gharana of Hindustani Sufi Vocal Music. Her formal dance training includes 16 years of Odissi with Nrityalaya Academy in Washington DC in conjunction with training in Sufi Kathak with Smt. Manjari Chaturvedi in Delhi. Her love affair with the Indian arts started from a young age, as she was trained in Indian classical music and dance and had a deep affinity for the Indian arts and entertainment. The daughter of Indian Immigrants-turned Washington bureaucrats from Calcutta (Kolkata, as it is known in their homeland), she grew up negotiating multiple selves: One who attended an Indian Language School that her father founded in Washington DC and actively learned Indian classical music and dance, and another, who avidly listened to hip hop, R&8, and American pop with her Black, Asian, Latin, and White peers. These influences culminate in her music, which reflects her own multi-faceted upbringing and identity. Basu produced two albums in India, The Unveiling (2006) and Crossing Over (2009), which received acclaim and a high demand for performances in India. Her song and music video "Maahiya" topped Indian music charts in the Indian pop category and received Bestseller status. Thereafter, she performed across India, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States at various venues including the Kennedy Center, Annenberg Center, and Embassy of India. Among her awards include two Homewood Arts Certificates in Music and Dance; Completion of "Ranga Pravesham" in Indian Classical Dance by Nrityalaya Academy, and 1st place in AIMREC Competition, the only US Indian music and dance competition.