Prince Rama at The Brooklyn Bowl

Prince Rama is the freakiest of psychedelic freak folk crazy music. Listening to this band is a phenomenal mini acid trip and seeing them live is like being on the most glorious ride, one that no real drug could ever give you. I have seen this band play many times between New York and Massachusetts and each time I hear them, I am taken on a new and completely different journey. The band is comprised of two sisters, Taraka and Nimai Larson, and friend Michael Collins and yet, one feels there has to be some other spiritual presence playing alongside, above and below them. It’s easy to imagine an entire temple of rainbow-clad devotees bowing at their feet and the audience was attuned to this, swaying, keeping time on hand-made instruments handed into the audience by the band and getting pretty freaky with each other. This show was on the Friday before Halloween and the addition of Brooklyn’s finest ironic costumes only made this show even better. Nimai Larson stood center stage and sang as she played drums on an unusual drum kit that substituted a floor tom for a kick drum. The effect was less of a rock and roll “oom-pa” sound and more of a tribal, drum circle, driving, chanting beat, which gives this band its core without feeling hokey or forced. Collins sings as well, looping and tweaking the sound on a few machines in addition to some interesting synth lines. Taraka Larson is the lead singer here and she is beautiful, charming, always dressed appropriately kooky (she said during the show that her ideal Halloween costume would be a “mirror ball”), and does quadruple duty playing electric guitar, keyboard, looping her own creations, and singing. Her voice soars miles above the endlessly winding flow of this band’s music and I quickly fell into a deep and euphoric trance. As each song ended, I could barely remember to clap. The band met while living in a Hare Krishna community in Florida and their music is clearly informed by their experiences and background. Their lyrics are an amalgamation of Sanskrit chants and call and response mantras and while the words are largely incomprehensible (either in English or whatever spiritual language they have chosen that day) this is not an obstacle to enjoying their music. The picture they weave, the spinnig rainbow dream-world, is so authentic and so transporting that seeing them play is less like a concert and more like a group meditation ceremony. They are engaging, have charming on-stage personalities and broad smiles that invite everyone to enjoy the experience in any way they please. They’re on tour in Europe for the next few weeks, but upon their return to the states they play at The New Museum in New York with Deakin of Animal Collective on December 10.


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