"'Charu's raga-based improvisations are singular."
- Multi Grammy-award winning pianist Arturo O'Farrill
Pianist and composer Charu Suri treads fearlessly between genres, pulling global influences that range from the mood-anchoring Indian ragas, Sufi music, to the trio. Her ground-breaking albums, The Book of Ragas, and its sequel, The Book of Ragas vol. 2 have often elicited the response, "I've never heard this type of sound before."
One of the few female composers from India to perform work at Carnegie Hall, Charu has lived in four continents, and writes music that reflect her journey as both a traveler and her training as a classical music piano prodigy. She has been playing the piano since the age of five, and performing since the age of nine, and one of her best memories is winning an international piano competition at the age of 15.
What started purely as an experiment with her "Book of Ragas" has turned into a niche that she is now increasingly becoming known for.
In her latest "Book of Ragas vol. 2," which was highlighted by Jazz at Lincoln Center as an August new release, Suri uses her native Carnatic and Hindustani ragas (modal scales) as the basis for lyrical and energetic piano improvisations, layered by Sufi singing. All About Jazz has praised her for creating a new sound, and her raga compositions have garnered her an Hollywood Music in Media nomination, an International Singer Songwriters Association gold record, and Global Music Awards as well as praise from fellow GRAMMY voting members.
But she is no stranger to the art of the Songbook too (attribute this to her listening to numerous records of Bill Evans and Billie Holiday as a kid). "The New American Songbook" has garnered many awards, including a "Band Single of the Year" crystal trophy for her song, Bluesy, awarded by the International Singer-Songwriters Association (ISSA) in 2021.
Charu has performed at Lincoln Center and other prestigious concert halls around the world, including St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She often performs with her band, and sometimes as a soloist.