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Kiran Ahluwalia

ARTIST: Kiran Ahluwalia


GENRE: world music fusion, Indian classical music, traditional ghazals, Punjabi folk songs

ABOUT: Performing ghazals (love songs of India and Pakistan) and Punjabi folk songs, Kiran Ahluwalia is a modern exponent of one of the world’s great vocal traditions. An Internationally acclaimed, multiple award winning vocalist and composer, she explores the language of the heart with beautiful artistry and smoldering intensity, redefining Indian song in a contemporary and global context.

Born in India, raised in Canada, and now living in New York City, her enchanting and seductive music has garnered glowing praise from critics around the world. Her’s is “a voice destined to enchant more than one generation” (fROOTS) and she possesses “a deep spirituality and tranquility that borders on the mystic” (Sing Out Magazine). But most of all, Kiran Ahluwalia is a unique and inspiring performer and composer, who’s legion of fans continues to grow with every captivating performance and each new recording project.

Kiran immersed herself in Indian classical music and ghazals from the time she was seven. She spent a decade of intense deep study with her guru, Vithal Rao, starting in the early 1990s. Finally in 2001 she recorded her JUNO nominated debut CD, Kashish-Attraction. This was followed by the JUNO Award winning, Beyond Boundaries in 2003, then a self-titled compilation that was released world wide on the Triloka label in 2005 followed by JUNO nominated, Wanderlust (Time Square/World Connection) released in North America in 2007 and in Europe in 2008.

With each successive recording project, Kiran has moved ever onward from her own musical upbringing, reaching well beyond her extensive training in the genres of traditional ghazal and Punjabi folk song. Her compositions and arrangements are a reflection of an ongoing quest to create timeless music in a modern and global context, that looks to the future while still maintaining a vital through line to its storied past.

Her latest album is an inspiring step forward in the evolution of an artist firmly rooted in an Indian genre who is continually embracing influences from around the world. Now, on Aam Zameen, Kiran takes her penchant for fusing styles to a whole new level, by bringing to fruition her love for African Tuareg rhythms ­ an infatuation that took root several years ago. She explains. “When you take two styles of music and merge them together – and you don’t want a simple cut and paste – then you are really trying to develop a hybrid genre. You’re doing something with no clear blueprints to help you. You have to figure it out by trying different things and seeing what works and what doesn’t. It’s scary and sometimes stressful, but it’s also incredibly invigorating when you find those connections between things that didn’t seem to connect before. Those moments of discovery are nothing short of sublime. It’s really the essence of everything for me.”


2011 winner World Solo Artist of the Year at the 2011 Canadian Folk Music Awards (for the CD Aam Zameen)
2011 Songlines Top of the World Album (for the CD Aam Zameen)
2009 Songlines/WOMAD Best Newcomer of the Year Award, presented at WOMEX in Copenhagen, Denmark (for the CD Wanderlust)
2008 Sikh Cenntennial Foundation Award for Excellence in Music
2007 JUNO nomination Best World Music Album (for the CD Wanderlust)
2006 Canadian Indie Awards nomination, World Music Album of the Year (for the CD Wanderlust)
2005 Touring Artist of the Year, Canadian Arts Presenter Association
2005 Genie nomination – music for the documentary film Continuous Journey
2004 JUNO Best World Music Album (for the CD Beyond Boundaries)
2002 JUNO nomination Best World Music Album (for the CD Kashish-Attraction)


2011 World Music Charts Europe #3
2008 World Music Charts Europe #10
2006 Billboard World Music Chart #15
2005 World Music Charts Europe #4
2005 CMJ World Music Charts #4


“Her crystal clear voice arched superbly above rhythms that coursed through the audience… an evening of fascinating, newly revealed music.” (Los Angeles Times)

“She has a voice destined to enchant more than one generation.” (fRoots)

“Ahluwalia’s voice is caressing and seductive and her arrangements are magnificent.” (Songlines)

“Austerely lovely.” (Washington Post)

“A powerful woman who has a depth of character in her wonderfully pliable, expressive voice.” (The Observer)

“The Indo-Canadian singer’s lovely latest [is] a hypnotic swirl of biting chords and cursive melodies.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“If you listen to one new release this week, make it: Aam Zameem, the latest album from Kiran Ahluwalia…: (The Washington Post)

“A lovely and mesmerizing album” (The Washington Post)

“Her boldest, richest release to date.” (The Boston Globe)

“Ahluwalia’s richly expressive voice knows no musical boundaries… she traverses global music styles with an elegant emotiveness.” (UTNE Reader)

“… one of 2011’s best records… this truly breakthrough album will have you peeling back layers every time you listen…” (The Huffington Post)

“…Ahluwalia is assuredly the star of the show. Her voice is a real treasure: it has the measured quality that comes with fine training, but a very natural warmth, too..” (

“Deliciously funky… We like it, a lot.” (Time Out New York)

“Ahluwalia makes it work because she and her fellow musicians – not just members of Tinariwen but also Terakaft – seek genuine points of contact. Their connection comes not just in similar drum sounds, or a proclivity for bent vocal notes, but in seeking the real emotional center of these sounds, the sense of suffering, persistence and overcoming that pervades many kinds of traditional music.” (Blurt)

“An enchanting fusion of modern Indian song and Malian desert blues.” (KEXP 90.3FM, Seattle)

“Some of the most incredible world music that you’re likely to hear this year.” (Campus Circle)

“Gorgeous” (Afropop Worldwide)

“Potent and deeply satisfying… the gems stack up on Aam Zameen… [Ahluwalia is a] powerhouse on the world music scene.” (World Music Central)

“Kiran Ahluwalia is a unique and inspiring performer and composer, whose legion of fans continues to grow with every captivating performance.” (World Music Central)

“Kiran is a true innovator who looks beyond her own heritage to create a musical world where geographic boundaries no longer apply.” (World Music Network)

“A heady hypnotic mix of Indian rhythms and desert blues.” (The Toronto Sun)

“A fascinating cultural fusion that surpasses all expectations.” (ffwd)

“‘Mustt Mustt’ will surely become a world music classic.” (No Depression)

“A noteworthy release from start to finish… I highly recommend it.” (

“Ms. Ahluwalia is an example of a pioneering artist of the first order.” (Afropop Worldwide)

“One of today’s most popular exponents of creating hybrid musical styles.” (Calgary Herald)

“The seemingly effortless melding of these two transcendent styles elevates both to a higher plane.” (Globe & Mail)

“A rising international star.” (Village Voice)


– “7 Billion” (2018)
– “Sanata : Stillness” (2015)
– “Aam Zameen : Common Ground” (2011)
– “Wanderlust” (2008)
– “Kiran Ahluwalia” (2005)
– “Beyond Boundaries” (2003)
– “Kashish – Attraction” (2001)




– National Palace of Culture, Sofia, Bulgaria
– Gaia Live, Italy
– Auditorium del Centro Culturale Candiani, Venice, Italy
– Drom, New York, NY, USA
– Mayne Stage, Chicago, IL, USA
– Legion Hall (CSPS), Cedar Rapids, IA, USA
– St David’s Episcopal Church, Austin, TX, USA
– The Mint, Los Angeles, CA, USA
– Don Quixote’s, Santa Cruz, CA, USA
– Yoshi’s, San Francisco, CA, USA
– National Hispanic Center, Albuquerque, NM, USA
– Johnny D’s, Boston, MA, USA
– SALDEF GALA, Washington, DC, USA
– University of Victoria, Farquar Auditorium, Victoria, BC, Canada
– The Playhouse Theatre (Caravan World Rhythms), Vancouver, BC, Canada
– Jack Singer, EPCOR Center, Calgary, AB, Canada
– The Artesian (Regina Folk festival winter series), Regina, SASK, Canada
– Festival Place, Edmonton, AB, Canada
– Leicester Theater, Thomson, MB, Canada
– Koerner Hall, Royal Conservtory of Music, Toronto, ON, Canada
– Aeolian Hall (Sunfest winter series), London, ON, Canada
– L’Astral (Montreal Jazz festival winter series), Montreal, QC, Canada
– Mokka Festival, Thun, Switzerland
– Telemark Festival, Gullbringvegen, Norway
– Asia Society, New York, NY, USA
– Stanley Park – Lumberman’s Arch, Vancouver, BC, Canada
– London Jazz Festival, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, UK
– Nuremburg Villa Leon, Nuremburg, Germany
– Akku Cultural House, Steyr, Austria
– Vienna Jazz Festival – Salaam Orient, Vienna, Austria
– Café Mokka, Thun, Switzerland
– Womex, Copenhagen, Denmark
– Sfinks Festival, Antwerp, Belgium
– Xong Festival, Xong, Austria
– Paleo Festival, Paleo, Switzerland
– Augsburg Festival, Augsburg, Germany
– Harbourfront Centre – Main Stage – Zaaika Festival, Toronto, ON, Canada
– Caravan World Rhythms – Heritage Theatre, Gibsons, BC, Canada
– MusicFest – Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver, BC, Canada
– Kirkland Performance Centre, Seattle, WA, USA
– Orchestra Hall with Chicago Sinfoneitta, Chicago, IL, USA
– St. Matthew’s Church, Halifax, NS, Canada
– Charlotte Street Arts Centre, Fredericton, NB, Canada
– Le Savoy, Montreal, QC, Canada
– Palais Montcalm, Quebec City, QC, Canada
– L’Europeen, Paris, France
– Burgerweeshuis, Deventer, The Netherlands
– Zuiderpershuis, Antwerp, Belgium
– Luxor Live, Arhem, The Netherlands
– Theaters Tilburg, Tillburg, The Netherlands
– Poppodium Romein, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
– Noorderkerk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
– Podium Mozaïek, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
– Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
– Colours Festival, Czech Republic, Ostrava
– Columbia University – Guria Benefit, New York city, NY, USA
– Small World Music Festival, Toronto, ON, Canada
– Rooftop Films Summer Series, Brooklyn, NY, USA
– Mission Folk Festival, Mission, BC, Canada
– University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, BC, Canada
– Joes’s Garage, Courtney, BC, Canada
– Duncan Garage Showroom, Duncan, BC, Canada
– Vancouver Folk Festival, Vancouver, BC, Canada
– Surrey Fusion Fest, Surrey, BC, Canada
– Sunfest, London, ON, Canada
– Harbourfront Centre – Main Stage – Lumenteau Festival, Toronto, ON, Canada
– with Jane Bunnette – Glenn Gould Studio – CBC Broadcast Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
– Hart House Theatre, Toronto, ON, Canada
– Gryphon Theatre, Barrie, ON, Canada
– Centre for the Performing Arts, Oakville, ON, Canada
– Women of the World – Dublin Street United Church, Guelph, ON, Canada
– Coastal Jazz Society – Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver, BC, Canada
– Southwood United Church – Fish Creek Concerts, Calgary, AB, Canada
– with Manitoba Chamber Orchestra & Glen Buhr – Westminister Church, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
– LakeHead University Theatre, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
– Babel Med, Marseille, France
– Joe’s Pub, New York, NY, USA
– The Triple Door, Seattle, WA, USA
– Dore Stein Presents at St Luke’s Church, Berkeley, CA, USA
– The Cayuga Vault, Santa Cruz, CA, USA
– The Kennedy Centre, Washington, DC, USA
– Creative Alliance, Baltimore, MD, USA
– Chicago World Music Festival, Chicago, IL, USA
– Rialto Theatre, Tucson, AZ, USA
– Grand Performances, Los Angeles, CA, USA
– Guelph Jazz Festival – colalboration with Eccodek, Guelph, ON, Canada
– Opera House, Ashcroft, BC, Canada
– Dream Café, Penticton, BC, Canada
– Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival, Salmon Arm, BC, Canada
– Ottawa Folk Festival, Ottawa, ON, Canada
– Indian River classical music series – CBC broadcast, Kensington, P.E.I, Canada
– Winnipeg Folk Festival, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
– Sask Museum, Regina, SASK, Canada
– Canada Day Celebrations, Banff, AB, Canada
– Private concert, Calgary, AB, Canada
– Sasktel Jazz Festival, Saskatoon, SASK, Canada
– Small World Music Festival, Harbourfront, Toronto, ON, Canada
– Lula Lounge – CBC National Broadcast, Toronto, ON, Canada
– Buskirk-Chumley Theatre, Bloomington, IN, USA
– Ohio University Theatre, Dayton, OH, USA
– Arab National Museum, Detroit, MI, USA
– Centerpointe Theatre, Ottawa, ON, Canada
– APAP conference – SOB’s, New York, NY, USA



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