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Hindugrass to play at First Night Raleigh

Posted December 27, 2013
Updated December 30, 2013

— Preparations for First Night Raleigh 2014, the big New Year's Eve celebration in downtown Raleigh, are well underway. 

Not only will the giant Ferris wheel return, but there also will be a new carousel and over 100 performances. The 1,200-pound steel acorn, illuminated with lights will be dropped at midnight, marking the end of 2013 and the beginning of the new year. 

The event, which is 2 p.m. to midnight, offers a variety of activities and musical performances, including country music star Jason Michael Carroll and local band Hindugrass. 

John Heitzenrater, the founder of Hindugrass, describes the group as Indo-Appalachian fusion.

John Heitzenrater, the founder of Hindugrass Hindugrass to perform at Raleigh City Museum

"It's roughly a combination of Hindustani, or north Indian classical music, and a wide variety of music that's basically Appalachian," he said. 

Heitzenrater said he founded the group in 1998 after he learned to play a sarode.

"The first summer I started playing it I was experimenting with doing more kind of bluegrass and blues style licks on it, instead of the more classical Indian stuff, and noticed those sounds worked really well on the instrument," he said. 

Heitzenrater, with the help of Michael Tiemann, the co-founder of Manifold Recording Company in Chatham County, is working on the group's new CD. 

"It's really just about communicating emotions through sound," Tiemann said. 

The group will be performing Tuesday at the Raleigh City Museum on Fayetteville Street.