On March 12th, 2020, Cartel Madras played their first concert in NYC. The Bowery Ballroom was quieter than usual thanks to COVID-19 starting to rear its ugly head in the big city, but we still weren't too afraid of it.... yet. Born in India and now hailing from Calgary, sisters Eboshi and Contra were led in by DJ Yung Kamaji who warmed up the crowd with his set. When the three came together, the beats dropped and the party really began. Between songs, Eboshi and Contra charmed the crowd with jokes and banter and provided a feeling of solidarity as we were all heading into uncertain times.
On the surface, Cartel Madras' music feels like a fresh trap party, which it is - but diving into their lyrics, they speak not only of house parties and all that come with them, but also their Indian culture and navigating their scene as queer women of color. They exert a powerful confidence while staying humble and injecting humor into their words. Throughout the performance at the Bowery, the band had projections behind them on a screen, showing some of their music videos as well as messages supporting marginalized peoples and bringing attention to stories that we in the US aren't hearing about. Cartel Madras are a force to be reckoned with. Check out their first two mixtapes, Project Goonda Part One: Trapistan and Age of the Goonda, and get ready for what they'll be giving us next.
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