Local band blends east and west to get people dancing and talking

Members of FunkaDesi perform at a concert in the Promonotory, Hyde Park (Nikita Mandhani/Medill)

By Nikita Mandhani

FunkaDesi is a Chicago-based band that represents diverse ethnic communities through its members, music and fan base. The band is a six-time winner of the Chicago Music Awards and combines Indian music with western trends.

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A FunkaDesi performance uses music to enhance deeper conversations about unity and diversity. (Nikita Mandhani/Medill)

Rahul Sharma founded FunkaDesi twenty years ago. Sharma was born to Indian parents in the U.S. shortly after they emigrated from Kenya. In an effort to create a platform for his Indian-American identity through music, he came up with the concept of forming a multi-ethnic, multi-racial group of musicians.

For Sharma, a psychologist by profession, FunkaDesi is an “experiment in trying to embrace each other’s cultural backgrounds and traditions.”

Photo on top: Members of FunkaDesi perform at a concert in the Promontory, Hyde Park. (Nikita Mandhani/Medill)