Sharmi Basu’s Decolonizing Sound Workshop



In this workshop, we attempt to teach mindfulness, listening, resistance, and improvisation as multiple facets of a congruent universe. In this workshop we will introduce ways in which investigating privilege and our personal histories with music and performance can lead us to construct new methods of working in social justice modes. Most importantly, we will shed light on ways in which improvisation and playing music can help marginalized people reclaim and create new identities and languages despite the distortion of and violence upon our cultures, work, and genders that have historically oppressed us. Decolonizing sound can mean decolonizing our given languages into ones we create for ourselves. The workshop will also emphasize the importance of shared politics within musical communities and, further, the importance of solidarity through material resistance. What are the ways sound can be used to challenge capitalism, the police state, heteronormativity, racism, and gendered violence?

BEAST NEST is Sharmi Basu, an Oakland born and based South Asian queer woman of color creating experimental music as a means of decolonizing musical language. She attempts to catalyze a political, yet ethereal aesthetic by combining her anti-colonial and anti-imperialist politics with a commitment to spirituality within the arts. She is an MFA graduate from the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College in Electronic Music and Recording Media and has worked with Fred Frith, Roscoe Mitchell, John Bischoff, Pauline Oliveros, Chris Brown, George Lewis, Laetitia Sonami, Jesse Drew, Bob Ostertag, Jesse Drew, Dr. Nalini Ghuman, Maggi Payne, and more. Her workshops on “Decolonizing Sound” have been featured at the International Society for Improvised Music, the Empowering Women of Color Conference, and have reached international audiences. She specializes in new media controllers, improvisation in electronic music, and intersectionality within music and social justice. She is a co-collaborator of the Bay Area’s first Black and Brown Punk Fest: The Universe is Lit! You can find out more about Sharmi at

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