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Sawhney’s ‘spirit dance’ in India
NIDHI GUPTA  29th Jan 2012

Nitin Sawhney

t has been a good couple of years for India, music-wise, and this February, it only gets better with Nitin Sawhney, world-class producer, songwriter, orchestral composer, DJ multi-instrumentalist and cultural spokesperson, finally landing here after long years to enchant audiences across Delhi, Nasik and Mumbai. On tour from 3-7 February, Sawhney will be performing live with his band for the first time in the country to support the release of his ninth studio album Last Days of Meaning.

"I've been to India before and I did some DJ sets then — that was good fun, but I think it's also about getting the right gigs at the right time. It feels like the right time to play in India now. I've got a manager who's very aware of what's going on in India. I think it's working with him as well that's made me keen to come over now. You need someone who understands the vibe of both East and West to set things up in the right way," he told Guardian20.

The prolific musician's versatility — he has worked across the genres of music, cinema, theatre, videogames and dance — has earned him the title of a latter-day Renaissance man, bursting with potential and re-inventing the way music goes down the world over. His career took off into the big wings in 1999, when his breakthrough album Beyond Skin won him the South Bank Show Award. He has since collaborated with and written for a dazzling array of talents, including Paul McCartney, Sting, Brian Eno, Shakira, Taio Cruz, Ellie Goulding, Cirque Du Soleil and Nelson Mandela.

His new album, which has been "scripted" and recorded over just five months in collaboration with the legendary John Hurt, is about an embittered old Dickensian man, fearful or immigrants, terrorists and the outside world. Last Days Of Meaning is intended as a "modern day Christmas Carol, almost. The songs act as the ghosts of the past, present and future. For me it's ultimately a parable about entrenchment and dogmatism," he says. Sawhney is also working on the score of Deepa Mehta's Midnight's Children, releasing later this year.

So what can we expect to hear on this tour? "Since I have never played in India with my live band, I'm very excited to simply play a retrospective of my work particularly through the albums I have created over the last 18 years," said Sawhney.

Nitin Sawhney will be playing live at blueFROG, New Delhi on 3rd February, at the Sulafest, Nasik on 5th February and blueFROG, Mumbai on 7th February.

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