Being Nitin Sawhney
When it comes to music in the diaspora, there a few names that of course come to mind (Talvin Singh, Panjabi MC), but one of the most consistent and visible musicians evolving from the South Asian diaspora, and who is not universally from the UK Bhangra or the Asian Drum and Bass scene, is without a doubt, Nitin Sahwney. DJ, producer, musician, and activist extraordinaire, Sawhney whose most recent studio-album Philtre, which has to be listed amongst his best work, is now slated to score Mira Nair's remake of Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake, and is reported to be working as a producer on Indo-Canadian British transplant pop-star Raghav's unfinished second album. In fact, Bobby and Nihal, on their October 12 radio show on the BBC offerred up a bit of a preview of the Raghav/Nitin collaborative work entitled "Seasons," which draws heavily on the heavenly 'Mausam', which appears on the Philtre album. After having heard the original Mausam, the version featuring Raghav admittedly sounded a bit cheecky, but knowing that Nitin is producing some of the record makes me dizzy with anticipation. Well, maybe not dizzy, but excited for sure.
Incidentally, Sawhney, who has also worked with Sting and Spanish collective Ojos de Brujo among others, seems to be in demand lately. Former Beattle Sir Paul McCartney, in an interview with Rolling Stone published earlier this month, said he initially wanted to make a record influenced by Nitin's sound,
"I liked the idea of toying with a kind of Asian thing, a one-chord thing. There's an artist called Nitin Sawhney who I like -- he's a British-Asian guy. It was just a vibe I was into at the time