Most Indian youngsters in the West have to give up dreams of being a rock ’n’ roller, and in stead, become a doctor or an IT wizard. Not Tasneem Nanji, who fronts the band Jungli, sings songs like “Nuclearstrumental” or “Nuclear Song” to Dipesh Sinha’s wailing guitar, and can often be seen at New York hang-outs such as CBGBs, Blue Note, S.O.B.s, Joe’s Pub, and even Carnegie Hall.
Tasneem is of Indian ancestry, was born in Uganda, was kicked out to Kenya, and eventually moved to Brooklyn, New York. Along the way she learnt to play the saxophone, blowing out her lungs, and creating a voice that makes good use of the alternative rock sound she “songwrestles” to. Like any good Indian kid, she got an education — a Bachelor’s degree from New York University, in jazz performance.
Tasneem describes herself as a musician/actor/activist/former MC/nouveau fashion designer/artiste. She told online magazine Ego she chose the name Jungli for that is what her mother called her when she made a racket. Jungli’s site on myspace.com describes its sound as “Angela Davis fronts The Police”; “Eddie Veder and Neneh Cherry’s lovechild”; and “Zach De La Rocha and Natalie Merchant’s first date”.
Her Music ICON: Freddie Mercury, a fellow musician of Indian descent born in East Africa HER DECADENT SIDE: Expensive clothing and vegan cheesecake; Yoga as an antidote. No wonder she has been dubbed the health food of the music industry HER MOTTO: Make tea, not war!