Almirah Radio Hour

Almirah Radio Hour

By Almirah Radio Hour
A podcast that brushes the dust off of local politics, art, and culture. A podcast by Nina Bhattacharya and Sheela Lal.
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Genrebending Justice ft. Saraswathi Jones

Almirah Radio Hour

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Aerogram #2: Rising Voices
In this little missive from Sheela -- an aerogram, if you will! -- we hear about some Asian American movers and shakers. Find Nina on Instagram at @radio.rani and Sheela on all social at @queenofblah. Follow Rising Voices of Asian American Families at @risingvoices_aaf. Want to tell us what's on your mind? Drop us a voice message from your phone or computer. We'd love to hear from you! Music by Saraswathi Jones. Art by Mili Sethia.
02:19
May 5, 2020
Tracklist for Tenderness (ft. Ava Sophia)
We're delighted to have the effervescent singer-songwriter Ava Sophia join us for a conversation about voice, biracial identity, Boston’s creative landscapes, and her favorite quarantine recipes. We are verklempt! You can find Ava on all social platforms at Ava Sophia Music.  Want to suggest a topic for an uninformed hot take? Drop us a voice message from your phone or computer. We'd love to hear from you! As always, find Nina online at @radio.rani and Sheela at @queenofblah.  Related Links: Read: Have We A Dusky Peril? (SAADA) Learn: Radical South Asian Timeline (Payal Kumar) Listen: Don't Take It From Me (ft. Guyclaude) (Tashawn Taylor)
46:22
April 12, 2020
Aerogram #1: COVID Contemplation
In this little missive from our listeners -- an aerogram, if you will! -- we hear how COVID-19 is feeling more real, the perks of boredom, some imagined futures, and a song. Find Nina on Instagram at @radio.rani and Sheela on all social at @queenofblah. Want to tell us what's on your mind? Drop us a voice message from your phone or computer. We'd love to hear from you!
04:03
April 5, 2020
Uninformed Hot Takes
Nina and Sheela are back in with a new season of Almirah Radio Hour, fresh with commentary about dragonfruit, labor organizing, succulent scams, telework disparities and more. Find Nina online at @radio.rani and Sheela at @queenofblah. Want to suggest a topic for an uninformed hot take? Drop us a voice message from your phone or computer. We'd love to hear from you! Related Reading: True/False Films Currently Streaming The Inequality of Telework (Journalist's Resource) Unerased Book Club Mango and Marigold Press
36:26
March 30, 2020
Leave Us A Message!
Hello, friends! Long time, no see. We just recorded our first episode of 2020 the other day, and it felt so good to laugh together. As we bring back new episodes, we would love to hear from you! What are  you feeling? How are you navigating your day to day? What are you  wrestling with? What brings you joy? Leave us a voice message from your phone or computer.
01:09
March 21, 2020
The False Hope of Sunshine
This week, Nina and Sheela talk about the role of community during hardship, do a quick friendship inventory, and discuss why April was the worst month.
44:15
May 30, 2019
Genrebending Justice ft. Saraswathi Jones
This week, Nina sits down with musician and organizer Saraswathi Jones for a conversation that spans artistic colonialism, genre labels, the history of Bangladesh, and her own first memories of music.
45:49
April 25, 2019
What To Do With Discomfort?
This week, Nina and Sheela wrestle with everything that is uncomfortable, especially the topics where they still feel like they are learning…. Whew.
40:51
April 1, 2019
To See and Be Seen ft. Nafisa Isa
This week, Nina interviews organizer and advocate, Nafisa Isa. Nafisa is the Program Manager at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and the brains behind some of the most intentional, creative, and intersectional museum and community work we've seen. They discuss accessible art spaces, growing up in the South, Bengali things, and their diaspora wishlist.
1:03:17
March 8, 2019
Welcome to Season Two!
In this week's episode, Nina and Sheela catch up on their creative projects and discuss the impact of the new film, Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga
38:00
February 19, 2019
Episode 31: Be A Friend, Help Bandhu Gardens!
You might remember Minara Begum and Emily Staugaitis of Bandhu Gardens from one of our favorite interviews, “Episode 14: Growing Together in Detroit.” Well, Bandhu Gardens needs our help! On November 9, over $1600 worth of equipment was stolen from the Bandhu Gardens hub + kitchen—everything from weed whacker to a mower. This is a heartbreaking loss for a tiny-but-mighty organization building community power and resilience in Hamtramck, MI. Can you help us help them? Pitch in on their GoFundMe and spread the word! https://www.gofundme.com/bandhu-gardens-tool-replacement
08:29
November 12, 2018
Episode 30: It's More Than Magic ft. Aditi Juneja
Hey, you! After a brief hiatus, we are back! In this week’s episode, Sheela interviews lawyer, writer, and organizer, Aditi Juneja, to discuss everything from Aditi’s research on policing in South Africa and the linguistics of disability, to her feature in “Forbes 30 Under 30” and self care.
43:28
October 15, 2018
Episode 29: Sacred Representation
Sheela and Nina continue last week's conversation on representation, and discuss Netflix's Sacred Games series and burlesque. Follow us at @almirahradio. Follow Nina at @onlynina. Follow Sheela at @queenofblah. Our opening track is "Laung Gawacha" by Nucleya. Our cover art is by Mili Sethia.
20:08
August 22, 2018
Episode 28: Cultural Exports 4 Soft Diplomacy
This week, Sheela and Nina talk about the power of Asian American literature, the intersections of mind and body in dance, and... how the U.S. exports black culture for soft diplomacy. They also discuss how non-black artists need to take a step back and examine their influences critically--and that casteism has no place in hiphop. Yikes. Follow us at @almirahradio. Follow Nina at @onlynina. Follow Sheela at @queenofblah. Our opening track is "Laung Gawacha" by Nucleya. Original music by Michael Dwan Singh. Our cover art is by Mili Sethia.
33:03
August 9, 2018
Episode 27: Imagination, Reflection, and Shrubs
This week, Sheela and Nina take a step back and put each other in the reflective hot seat. Sheela talks about the growth that comes with starting her own business, while Nina thinks about what it means to cultivate radical imagination.  Follow us at @almirahradio. Follow Nina at @onlynina. Follow Sheela at @queenofblah. Our opening track is "Laung Gawacha" by Nucleya. Original music by Michael Dwan Singh. Our cover art is by Mili Sethia.
39:49
July 18, 2018
Episode 26: It's Okay Not To Know ft. Monika Gupta
This week, Sheela interviews Monika Gupta (@guptamnka), Senior Product Marketing Manager at Cisco Umbrella, graduate of the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, and fellow Missourian. They talk about the totally normal ambiguity that comes when defining a career path, creating a life outside of work, and one book pick for the summer. Follow us at @almirahradio. Follow Nina at @onlynina. Follow Sheela at @queenofblah. Our opening track is "Laung Gawacha" by Nucleya. Original music by Michael Dwan Singh. Our cover art is by Mili Sethia.
19:32
June 26, 2018
Episode 25: Small Talk, Social Capital, and Zombies
This week, Nina and Sheela catch up about the recent political shake-up in Missouri, small talk and social capital, South Asian American culture and what that might mean, government by contract, and book recommendations. Our opening track is "Laung Gawacha" by Nucleya. Original music by Michael Dwan Singh. Our cover art is by Mili Sethia.
38:10
June 12, 2018
Episode 24: We Are Negatively Optimistic
Sheela and Nina catch up about Missouri drama, contextualize what's been happening Sri Lanka with a broader conversation about violence and social media, discuss media and tech responsibility, and connect the work of the We Have Voice Collective to Pakistan's recent music #MeToo moment. Content warning: We do discuss sexual assault and violence in many parts of this episode. Please do not hesitate to skip this one if you need to! Follow us at @almirahradio. Follow Nina at @onlynina. Follow Sheela at @queenofblah. Our opening track is "Laung Gawacha" by Nucleya. Original music by Michael Dwan Singh. Our cover art is by Mili Sethia.
52:38
May 24, 2018
Episode 23: Power and Process
Sheela and Nina discuss e-governance in Bangalore, talk about different approaches to learning, think about collaboration without competition, and talk about navigating feedback. Follow us at @almirahradio. Follow Nina at @onlynina. Follow Sheela at @queenofblah.
42:51
April 23, 2018
Episode 22: Angry Missives from a Midwestern Millennial
Sheela and Nina develop the pitch for Sheela's book, talk about where vulnerability and masculinity intersect, unpack why college Indian American communities can be so toxic (looking at you, Michigan), and touch on futurism. Follow us at @almirahradio. Follow Nina at @onlynina. Follow Sheela at @queenofblah. In Ann Arbor? Catch Sheela's monologue in Yoni ki Baat this Friday or Saturday at 7 pm at Rackham Auditorium.  Our opening track is "Laung Gawacha" by Nucleya. Original music by Michael Dwan Singh. Our cover art is by Mili Sethia.
31:29
March 7, 2018
Episode 21: The Circles of Hell Are Cozy
Sheela and Nina talk about human rights and supply chains; unpack the recent Larry Nassar sentencing and its implications for health care systems; appreciate spaces young women are creating for themselves; and providing a necessary Missouri shitshow update. Follow us at @almirahradio. Follow Nina at @onlynina. Follow Sheela at @queenofblah.Our opening track is "Laung Gawacha" by Nucleya. Original music by Michael Dwan Singh. Our cover art is by Mili Sethia. 
45:29
February 12, 2018
Episode 20: Death, Dates, and Performative Advocacy
Nina and Sheela talk about the history of regulating women of color's bodies; death and aging; holding South Asian health professionals accountable; Sheela's dates; and Missouri's current shitshow. Ope! Follow us at @almirahradio. Follow Nina at @onlynina. Follow Sheela at @queenofblah.Our opening track is "Laung Gawacha" by Nucleya. Original music by Michael Dwan Singh. Our cover art is by Mili Sethia. 
44:12
January 22, 2018
Episode 19: Making Dance Our Own (ft. Anjal Chande)
Nina talks to Anjal Chande about Bharatnatyam dance, what it looks like now, and why she dedicates her life to the art form. Check out her other work here. Follow us at @almirahradio. Follow Nina at @onlynina. Follow Sheela at @queenofblah. Our opening track is "Laung Gawacha" by Nucleya. Other original music is by Michael Dwan Singh. Our cover art is by Mili Sethia.  (photo)
35:39
November 24, 2017
Episode 18: When Bodies are Commodities
Sheela and Nina talk about acupuncture, compensating artists, judging worth outside of profit, femme bodies and violence, and the war on drugs (historical and present). Content warning: We discuss sexual violence in the U.S. and #MeToo from 22:30 to 32:30. Follow us at @almirahradio. Follow Nina at @onlynina. Follow Sheela at @queenofblah. Our opening track is "Laung Gawacha" by Nucleya. Original music by Michael Dwan Singh. Our cover art is by Mili Sethia.
44:27
October 27, 2017
Episode 17: Beyond Photo ID (ft. The Franchise Project)
Sheela and Nina talk to Emma Olson Sharkey, co-founder of The Franchise Project, an organization dedicated to educating, exciting, and empowering citizens to engage in effective voting rights advocacy at the local level. Check out their Voting Access Scorecard and learn how you can make voting more accessible: http://thefranchiseproject.com Follow us at @almirahradio. Follow Nina at @onlynina. Follow Sheela at @queenofblah. Our opening track is "Laung Gawacha" by Nucleya. Other original music is by Michael Dwan Singh. Our cover art is by Mili Sethia.
34:10
September 26, 2017
Episode 16: Food History, Foxconn, and Your Pickle-to-Roti Ratio
This week, Sheela and Nina talk about etiquette, complicated intersections of food history and conflict, redlining, Foxconn, and trash politicians. You can follow us at @almirahradio. Find Sheela at @queenofblah, and Nina at @onlynina.
47:35
August 21, 2017
Episode 15: Even Amazing Brown Girls Like Us
This week, Sheela and Nina talk about opportunities for brown girls, movement building, and the power of community. Follow us at @almirahradio. Follow Nina at @onlynina. Follow Sheela at @queenofblah. Our opening track is "Laung Gawacha" by Nucleya. The interview was recorded by Michael Dwan Singh. Our cover art is by Mili Sethia. Find more of Mili's work at facebook.com/esqueer.
40:52
July 29, 2017
Episode 14: Growing Together in Detroit (ft. Bandhu Gardens)
This week, Nina interviews Emily Staugaitis and Minara Begum of Bandhu Gardens, an organization in Detroit that's dedicated to amplifying the culinary talent and economic opportunities of Bangladeshi women in the area. You can find Bandhu Gardens online at bandhugardens.com. A huge thank you to Emily, Minara, and Minara's family for sharing an afternoon with us earlier this spring--it's a day we will treasure dearly. Follow us at @almirahradio. Follow Nina at @onlynina. Follow Sheela at @queenofblah. Our opening track is "Laung Gawacha" by Nucleya. The interview was recorded by Michael Dwan Singh. Our cover art is by Mili Sethia. Find more of Mili's work at facebook.com/esqueer.
56:09
May 30, 2017
Episode 13: We're Angry and Overworked!
This week, Nina and Sheela mix up some desi-inspired beverages, pontificate about policy, discuss “feminist businesses,” wonder about problematic faves, talk about Hindu social justice, and chat about chai and film. Buckle up!Our opening track is “Laung Gawacha” by Nucleya, and our cover art is by the incredible Mili Sethia (facebook.com/esqueer).Follow us at @almirahradio.Follow Nina at @onlynina.Follow Sheela at @queenofblah.You can download past episodes via Stitcher or iTunes. (Seriously, leave us a review!)
53:43
April 13, 2017
Episode 12: Sometimes I Idly Google Him
This week, Nina and Sheela discuss playing the activist long game, organizing the Indian community, our favorite Southeast Asian despot, and happy stuff.Thanks to Kohinoorgasm for letting us showcase her track “Azaadi is Freedom is Fate” this episode. Go check out her stunning album, “Titalee,” at kohinoorgasm.bandcamp.com/releases.Our opening track is “Laung Gawacha” by Nucleya, and our cover art is by the incredible Mili Sethia. Find more of Mili’s work at facebook.com/esqueer.Follow Nina at @onlynina. Follow Sheela at @queenofblah.You can download past episodes via Stitcher or iTunes. (Seriously, leave us a review!)
42:49
February 21, 2017
Episode 11: A Syllabus and Song for Change (ft. Neel Agrawal)
This week, Nina and Sheela discuss feminist comics and reproductive rights. We also interview Neel Agrawal, an LA-based percussionist and librarian about radical librarianship and musical activism. Listen to Neel’s music at neelagrawal.com, and learn more about his African drumming law project at africandrumminglaws.org.Thanks to Sheila Govindarajan for letting us showcase her track “Ima Ima” this episode. Go check out her stunning album, “Lady of the Lake,” at govilovemusic.com. Our opening track is “Laung Gawacha” by Nucleya. Original music in this episode by Michael Dwan Singh.Our new cover art is by the incredible Mili Sethia. Find more of Mili’s work at facebook.com/esqueer.Follow us at @almirahradio.Follow Nina at @onlynina.Follow Sheela at @queenofblah.You can download past episodes via Stitcher or iTunes. (Seriously, leave us a review!)
52:41
January 16, 2017
Episode 10: A Symphony of Anger
This week, Nina and Sheela discuss pension, education, radical empathy, self-care, anger, and risks of POC visibility.Links:Self Care series (The Hairpin)The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism (Audre Lorde, 1981)Thanks to Doctors & Engineers for letting us showcase their track “Karle Pyar Karle (Love Imperative)” this episode. Go check out their debut EP at doctorsandengineers.bandcamp.com. Our opening track is “Laung Gawacha” by Nucleya. Original music in this episode by Michael Dwan Singh.You can download past episodes via Stitcher or iTunes. (Seriously, leave us a review!) Find the show on Twitter at @almirahradio.
43:43
December 19, 2016
Special Episode: Short Personal Histories of Organizing While Brown (ft. Taz Ahmed)
Sheela interviews Tanzila Ahmed (@TazzyStar) about her history in politics, organizing, Sri Lanka, and self expression. You should definitely tune into her wonderful podcast, #GoodMuslimBadMuslim. 
32:55
December 8, 2016
Special Episode: Constructive Post-Election Coping
So… here we are. What next? Nina and Sheela discuss some options for taking action after the election. (But remember… always google first.)Special thanks to Michael Dwan Singh of The Shadow Notes, who composed the music for this episode.
26:44
November 13, 2016
Episode 9: Make Empathy Viral
This week, Nina and Sheela discuss fragile masculinity, recent strikes at Harvard, election nonsense, and substance abuse in Punjab. Check out our recent interview with The Aerogram – it was a lot of fun: goo.gl/Wl2m9VTomorrow is Election Day! Go to http://rockthevote.com or Google to find your polling location. Here’s a link to ACLU’s guide to what to do if you’re faced with voter intimidation at the polls: www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/w…voter-intimidationThanks to Young Cardamom & HAB for letting us showcase their super danceable track, “Kanda (Chap Chap).” Give the rest of their tunes a listen.We’re on iTunes and Sticher! Your reviews would mean the world.
45:28
November 7, 2016
Episode 8: We're Usually the Villain
This week, Nina and Sheela discuss voting, local politics, regional cinema, and representation in film.Want to learn more about Hindie Rock Fest 2016? Come join Sheela and Nina in Cambridge, MA from October 14 to 15! Tickets and details here.Thanks to Anik Khan for letting us showcase his new single, “Cleopatra.” Give the rest of his tunes a listen at http://soundcloud.com/anikkhanmusic.Other links coming soon!We’re on iTunes and Sticher! Your reviews would mean the world.
45:04
October 11, 2016
Episode 7: Academics Anonymous
This week, Nina and Sheela discuss problematic insurance, lady politicians versus the patriarchy, and graduate school advice. Want to learn more about Hindie Rock Fest 2016? Come join Sheela and Nina in Cambridge, MA this October 14 to 15! (Nina is performing!) Tickets and details here. Thanks to Ashni Dave for letting us showcase her amazing track “Honey.” Give her other tunes a listen.Other links:Phoebe and Roxane Gay Toast to the Good Life (Sooo Many White Guys)Rumors and Creeps (Call Your Girlfriend)We’re on iTunes and Sticher! Your reviews would mean the world.
41:21
September 23, 2016
Episode 6: Big Tits Shouldn't Equal Big Money
This week, Nina and Sheela discuss women’s bodies as an intersection of culture and violence, bras as a public health and socioeconomic issue, and recommendations to wrap up your summer.Trigger Warning: This episode discusses violence against women. We recommend skipping the first twelve minutes if you need to!Major gratitude to Boston-based Mini Dresses for letting us showcase their amazing track “Just Go.” Give their other rad tunes a little love at minidresses.bandcamp.com.We’re on iTunes and Sticher, so please leave us a review! (It helps others find our content.) Follow on Twitter at almirahradio.
41:03
September 23, 2016