Past Shows

Bombay Rickey

Artist’s Praise

Just a little good-natured fun...and a rocking musical show.
— Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal

Ms. Sankaram [is] an appealingly open-hearted performer.
— Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal

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About the Show

Performance Just Added: Fri Jan 15 at 10:30pm

Opera-Cabaret Presentation

Called “the future of music” (New York Music Daily), Bombay Rickey is a five-piece, Brooklyn-based band with a unique sound evocative of 1960s movie soundscapes. The group plays both covers and original music that borrow equally from the worlds of surf rock, cumbia, spaghetti Western, and Bollywood, balanced out with a "little" coloratura soprano. Bombay Rickey has become a fixture at the world-famous Brooklyn club Barbés, performed live on WFMU radio, and their music has been featured in a television commercial for Citibank. Their debut album, Cinefonia has been described as “brazen, cheeky and just downright spunky” (World Music Central). Bombay Rickey will play 6 performances of a new work exploring the life of Peruvian singer Yma Sumac.

Music by Bombay Rickey
Text by Rob Handel
Directed by Kristin Marting
Lighting Design by Ayumu "Poe" Saegusa
Costume Design by Machine Dazzle
Sound Engineer Vernil Rogers

: Kamala Sankaram
Guitar/Voice: Drew Fleming
Alto Saxophone/Voice: Jeff Hudgins
Upright Bass: Gil Smuskowitz
Percussion: Brian Shankar Adler

At HERE Dorothy B. Williams Theatre

Photo by Christopher Lovenguth

Show run time: 60 minutes

Post-Performance Conversation will follow the January 15 show. 

This presentation of Bombay Rickey has received the generous support of the Augustine Foundation.

Artist Bio

Bombay Rickey might be the soundtrack to a Bollywood noir film from the 1960s, or perhaps to a spaghetti western that never existed. Combining exotic dance rhythms, coloratura soprano, and surf guitar, the band is "delightfully outlandish, yet never inaccessible...a true treat for the adventurous ear" (Time Out New York). Bombay Rickey's debut album, CINEFONIA, (Best Debut of 2014 - New York Music Daily) is available on iTunes and at

Praised as “strikingly original” by The New York Times, Kamala Sankaram has received commissions from Beth Morrison Projects, HERE, and Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Orchestra, among others. She is the recipient of a Jonathan Larson Award from the American Theater Wing, and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, MAP Fund, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Meet the Composer, the Anna Sosenko Trust and the Asian Women’s Giving Circle, as well as residencies from the MacDowell Colony, the Watermill Center, Con Edison/Exploring the Metropolis, the Hermitage, and American Lyric Theater. As a resident artist at HERE Arts Center, Kamala created Miranda, a steampunk murder mystery, which was the winner of the New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical. Her second opera, Thumbprint (libretto by Susan Yankowitz), premiered in the 2014 PROTOTYPE Festival, and was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition, Agence French Presse, and over 25 media outlets around the world. As a performer, Kamala has been hailed as “an impassioned soprano with blazing high notes” (Wall Street Journal). She has performed with and premiered pieces by Anthony Braxton, Beth Morrison Projects, the Philip Glass Ensemble, the Wooster Group, Anti-Social Music, and Petr Kotik, among others.

Guitarist/keyboardist Drew Fleming is a “connoisseur of 60s surf and psychedelic sounds” (New York Music Daily). A Texan who came up through the Dallas punk scene, Fleming came on board with Bombay Rickey and began to explore, as Sankaram puts it, “what other cultures think other cultures sound like,” be it the Western numbers in Bollywood movies, or the secret proto-rumba hidden in Mozart arias. As a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Drew has played stages around the world with Kaiser Cartel and Anti Social Music, and has been praised for his "lean, pop baritone (The New York Post).

Saxophonist/Clarinetist Jeff Hudgins is a transplanted Texan sax player whose music has been described as "somewhat menacing” (New York Music Daily). His performance agenda has included premieres by John Zorn, Tim Berne and John Harbison, and he regularly writes music for the NYC groups Anti-Social Music and Opera On Tap. When Sankaram revealed her plans to perform the works of Yma Sumac in the inaugural form of Bombay Rickey, she found an immediate and enthusiastic band member in Hudgins, who has added Mediterranean and Balkan flair to the ensemble.

Upright Bassist Gil Smuskowitz, “shifts effortlessly between idioms” (New York Music Daily) throughout the music of Bombay Rickey. He has worked with a range of musical artists throughout Brooklyn and New York, with a particular focus on jazz/funk.

Drummer/percussionist, Brian Shankar Adler is most at home when playing a drumset augmented with various hand percussion instruments from India and South America. Critics have noted his sensitivity to sound, texture and his often subtle, percolating rhythms. Residing in Brooklyn NY, he plays, composes and produces music, some of which has accompanied film, theater, dance and prayer. Adler has travelled throughout the world and performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Clear Water Festival (New York), Konex (Buenos Aires), the Ear Shot Jazz Festival (Seattle), Passinger Fabrik (Munich). He has been featured on WNYC, Netflix, at the South by Southwest Festival and recently, on the score of Of Many, a film produced by Chelsea Clinton and featured at the Tribeca Film Festival. Brian Adler is also a passionate educator and created A World of Percussion, a brand of kinesthetic rhythmic education. In 2014 he was on faculty at the Vermont Jazz Workshop, and is currently a member of Bash the Trash, an organization that teaches children about music and keeping the Earth clean by constructing instruments out of recycled materials.

Rob Handel heads the dramatic writing program at Carnegie Mellon University, serves on the board of the MacDowell Colony, and was a founding member of the playwrights’ collective 13P, which won four Obie Awards. The techno-noir opera The Privacy Show, with composer Kamala Sankaram, has been developed in the Civilians R&D Group and by Opera America. The comic science fiction opera The Artwork of the Future, with composer Eric Moe, has been developed at New Dramatists, where Rob was a resident playwright from 2008-2015. Rob's opera libretti have been produced and developed by Manhattan School of Music, NYU Steinhardt School of Music, Opera on Tap at Barbès, North American New Opera Workshop, American Lyric Theatre, and Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. Rob's play A Maze has been produced by New York Stage and Film, Rorschach Theatre (D.C.), Just Theater/Shotgun Players (Berkeley), and Theatre Battery (Kent, WA). Other productions: Long Wharf, SPF, Target Margin, City Lights (San Jose), and Curious Theatre (Denver). Residencies: The Royal Court Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, The O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Soho Rep, Portland Center Stage, Todd Mountain Theater Project, and a 'pataphysics retreat. Millicent Scowlworthy and Aphrodisiac are published by Samuel French. Upcoming: I Want to Destroy You at Theatre Vertigo (Portland).


Artist Statement

Who had the #1 album in 1950, outselling Bing Crosby and Ethel Merman? Yma Sumac, the Peruvian Songbird. Was the exotic diva with the five-octave range descended from the last emperor of the Incas? Or was she really Amy Camus, a housewife from Brooklyn? Bombay Rickey will use Yma’s story as a window into our culture’s obsession with authenticity, and as an excuse to play some really great music.