Featured Artist: Athena Desai
Born in the States to an Indian father and a Filipina mother, medical residents who had $32 and not a winter coat between them upon their East Coast arrival, Athena was destined to have a foot in two worlds, and a tenacious penchant for defying the odds. At three years old, in the mid-state valley town of Binghamton, NY, she started taking Yamaha piano lessons with her big sister. At five, they’d joined the children’s chorus in the Tri-Cities Opera Company. Then school chorus, church choir, jazz band, symphonic band, youth orchestra—singing and playing clarinet, bass clarinet, alto sax, drums.
Music was a critical form of expression for a tiny girl with a huge heart who feared she would never truly belong in any one tribe or place. Writing poetry, traveling the world, exploring multiple religions—all of this helped her see at a young age how perspectives could change according to where, when and how you lived. As the political drive behind hip-hop and the psychedelic philosophy of the 60's and 70's started to expand her consciousness, her beliefs as a rebellious first-generation American kid so often clashed with her parents'. Her adolescent years in Binghamton felt increasingly restrictive and alienating. So Athena took off for The Hotchkiss School, and started a whole new leg of her journey.
Click on the photo above for more information about Athena and our Area Musicians.
Photo Credit: Unknown