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Rupa And The April Fishes: Border Crossing

Raised in India, France and the U.S., Rupa And The April Fishes' Rupa Marya embraces her life as both an artist and a medical doctor, so it's no surprise that she naturally gravitates toward themes of combining influences. Overused tags like "multicultural," "mosaic" and "world" gain meaning when used in reference to songs sung in English, French, Hindi and Spanish; each pulls musically from all of those traditions. Extraordinary Rendition is filled with celebratory songs which address serious issues of place, home and identity.

In a world defined by lines that separate one group of people from another, "Poder" explores the forces that can cross the U.S.-Mexico border: The fish can, the wind can and money can, but "pero yo no" — "I cannot." The music crosses its own borders, falling somewhere between the smoky club and the joyful street parade. It's filled with strings, horns, accordion, call-and-response cries of "Si puede" and the voice of Marya herself, sounding like sips of hot coffee with bites of spiced cake, dancing happily on the tongue and in the ears.

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Claire Blaustein
Claire Blaustein is a freelance writer and music critic who writes for a variety of publications, including The Washington Post, Exclaim! Magazine and La Scena Musicale. She came to NPR as a Performance Today intern in 2005, and has thus far refused to leave. When not doing any of the above, she writes in her blog, I Dig Music..., and pouts until someone gives her a new CD to play with.