Hindugrass' sound can be encapsulated as a truss of classical Indian and Appalachian folk music. But it takes a mythical analogy to summon its fearsome beauty, like some fiery half-bird of fable, where the percussive heart thrums beneath meticulously woven wings. The group showcases sarod player John Heitzenrater's own compositions, as well as his arrangements of everything from The Beatles to Eastern European folk dances. Heitzenrater's virtuosity on sarod is matched by guitarist Jay Manley and tabla percussionist Chris Johnson. Adding cello, viola and violin, members and alums of Lost in the Trees and Prypyat swell the group to a chamber orchestra.
Cellist and singer-songwriter Shana Tucker brings synergy to the bill, with her genre-busting originals and knack for putting a new shine on soulful classics. Tucker's area fans said goodbye when she moved last fall from Durham to Las Vegas, where she is under contract with Cirque du Soleil as an onstage musician in KÀ. Debuting a few new songs that try to make ordinary sense of her extraordinary life, she taps local stalwarts for her quartet: Eric Hirsh on piano, Peter Kimosh on bass and drummer Ed Butler. While she's still adjusting to life on The Strip and singing before thousands at the MGM Grand every night, Tucker says this intimate homecoming is just what she needs. "I miss N.C. like a lovesick lover ... I cannot wait to get back to make music with my dear brothers of the Durham music scene." —Sylvia Pfeiffenberger