Shilpa Ray is an American rock band from Brooklyn, New York with a blues punk sound led by singer-songwriter Shilpa Ray. Her music has been compared to Blondie, The Cramps and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and her singing has been compared to the style of Patti Smith, Nick Cave, and Ella Fitzgerald.Ray is notable for combining an Indian harmonium with a “big-voiced blues-rock howler” vocal approach. The band signed a record contract with Northern Spy Records and has toured internationally.
Ray formed another band entitled Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers which Boston Globe critic Jonathan Perry described as the “best-named band” in a lineup of numerous indie bands in July 2010.
Ray was the songwriter and band leader, and described her role in her band to being similar to being in a “democracy under a dictatorship”. She has performed with Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye. They also toured extensively with Man Man and Acid Mothers Temple. In an interview, she commented about being a female artist: “I think Feminism in America went through a huge backlash during the W. Bush years. We are now going through a cool Renaissance. There are tons of amazing female musicians and artists on the scene with something to contribute and it’s not cheesy, kitschy, or female centric. It’s universal.”
Ray’s band performed at the SXSW festival in 2011 in Austin, Texas and was invited to the Billboard event at the Buffalo Billiards venue. She offered advice to struggling artists: “The hardship of being an artist in this country is gender neutral. Own yourself, what you do, how you live and don’t worry about the end results.
After splitting with Her Happy Hookers in 2011, Shilpa toured Europe and North America with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds as a backup singer and their supporting act. She recorded a version of “Pirate Jenny” featuring Nick Cave and Warren Ellis for “Son of Rogue Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys released February 2013 by Anti/Epitaph.
A new album entitled “Last Year’s Savage” was released in 2015 on Northern Spy Records.
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