SARATHY KORWAR

SarathyKorwar web

Album: More Arriving
Label: The Leaf Label
Vertrieb: 375media
VÖ: 26. Juli 2019

We live in divisive times. Multiculturalism rises hand-in-hand with racial tensions,

and politicians seem powerless to even bring people within earshot of their convoluted message.

It’s time for a different perspective.

 

Die im englischen Leeds ansässigen Trendsettern vom The Leaf Label, die u.a. die ersten Veröffentlichungen von Caribou, Efterklang, The Comet is Coming, Melt Yourself Down oder Szun Waves ermöglichten, präsentieren nun ihre neueste Entdeckung SARATHY KORWAR.

 

Am 26. Juli wird sein zweites Studio-Album More Arriving auf dem Leaf Label veröffentlicht, das Sarathy über 2 1/2 Jahre in Indien und England produzierte. “This is a modern brown record. The kind of record that a contemporary Indian living in the UK for the past 10 years would make,” Korwar says. “This is what Indian music sounds like to me right now, and that means incorporating multiple brown voices. If anyone has a problem with that, they should be questioning what they think Indian music should be.”

Der 28-jährige Sarathy Korwar wurde als Sohn indischer klassischer Sänger in den USA geboren, wuchs aber in Indien auf, wo das Spielen der Tabla erlernte. Sein Interesse für den Jazz lies ihn auch zum Schlagzeug wechseln. In London beendete er aber sein Studium als klassischer Tablaspieler.

Schnell fand er Anschluss an die pulsierende Szene um Shabaka Hutchings. Er spielte mit Cara Stacey, Arun Gosh, Karl Berger und Kamasi Washington. Seine Musik wurde geprägt vom Hip-Hop aus Mumbai als auch den Siddigesängen und –rhythmen. Sein Debütalbum Day To Day erschien 2016 auf Ninja Tune und 2018 folgte auf Gearbox das Live-Album My East Is Your West, das geprägt war vom psychedelischen Jazz der 70er Jahre.

Eine ganze Reihe namhafter indischer Rapper unterstützen Sarathy bei seinem musikalischen Statement wie MC Mawali auf der Single “Mumbay”, Punjabi MC Prabh Deep auf “Coolie” als auch Delhi Sultanate, Zia Ahmed und Deepak Unnikrishnan.

“One of the best things we’ve been able to play on the radio for a very long time”

Gilles Peterson, BBC 6 Music

On his second studio album, More Arriving, Sarathy Korwar blasts out his own vibrant, pluralistic missive for the world to hear. This is not necessarily a record of unity; it’s an honest reflection of Korwar’s experience of being an Indian in a divided Britain.  Incorporating rappers from Mumbai and New Delhi with spoken word and his own Indian classical and jazz instrumentation, this is a record born of confrontation; one for our confrontational times. With this album, Korwar expands his politicised narrative to envelop the entire diaspora.

More Arriving is a spellbinding concoction of Korwar’s undulating percussion with, among others, The Comet Is Coming’s Danalogue on synths, Tamar Osborn’s baritone sax, Indo-jazz specialist Al MacSween, and – crucially – the voices of the brown diaspora. Recorded over two and a half years in India and the UK, the album draws on the nascent rap scenes of Mumbai and New Delhi, which Korwar became fascinated with while travelling in India in 2016, and features many of its most exciting artists.

Lead single ‘Mumbay’ features Bombay-born MC Mawali punning on the politicised associations of the colonial term Bombay or the Indian nationalist Mumbai when referencing his hometown. Mawali applies classical Carnatic rhythms to his Hindi/Marathi flow, dancing effortlessly over Osborn and Korwar’s coruscating rhythms. ‘Coolie’ features Punjabi MC Prabh Deep alongside Jamaican-Indian rapper Delhi Sultanate, who raps in patois to relate the story of indentured Indian labourers, used as a new form of slavery to work British plantations in Jamaica, bringing the cannabis seed with them in the process. London-based poet Zia Ahmed features on the droll ‘Mango’ and album centrepiece ‘Bol’, while author Deepak Unnikrishnan unpacks the dialectic term for immigrant on the album’s defining text, ‘Pravasis’.

There are, of course, also lush instrumentals like ‘City of Words’, featuring a keening alto sax solo from Chris Williams, as well as the vocal acrobatics of Indian classical singer Mirande on ‘Good Ol’ Vilayati’ – the title a pun on the word ‘vilayati’ meaning ‘whitey’ in Hindi slang, and its colonial morphing into ‘Blighty’ by the British.

The record is accompanied by the striking cover art of Tushar Menon. The design pays tribute to the street protests held all over Britain in the 1970s and ‘80s as part of the Asian Youth Movement that saw South Asians and people of colour unite in solidarity against the rising racism and nationalism of the National Front and their supporters. As Korwar says: “Now seems like the perfect moment to remember this collective show of strength, pride and inclusivity, as we find ourselves in similarly divisive times. We need this strength in representation and numbers.”

It all begins with the title: “More Arriving comes from the scaremongering around Brexit,” Korwar says. “It’s a tongue-in-cheek play on the fact that there are more people coming and you’ll have to deal with it!” Through this defiance, Korwar takes clear pride in the knotty mix of his identity – harking back to the new India of the Mumbai hip-hop kids, as well as identifying with London’s cultural diversity. “I want the idea of brown pride to come through,” he says. “My voice is one amongst a thousand, but this record is a snapshot of something much greater than myself. It’s the chance to send a message.”

Biography

Born in the US, Sarathy Korwar grew up in Ahmedabad and Chennai in India. He began playing tabla aged 10, but was also drawn to the American music that he heard on the radio and leaking through the doorway of his local jazz music shop (Ahmad Jamal and John Coltrane were early discoveries). At 17 Korwar moved to Pune to study Environmental Science, but instead dedicated his time to music, practising tabla under the tutelage of Rajeev Devasthali, translating his skills to the western drum kit and playing as a session musician.

On completing these studies, he moved to London a decade ago to master the confluences of Indian classical music and jazz. Korwar has since established himself as one of the most original and compelling voices in the UK jazz scene, leading the UPAJ Collective - a loose band of South Asian jazz and Indian classical musicians brought together through a love of collaboration and improvisation who set up a residency at the Jazz Café in London. Korwar has collaborated with the likes of Shabaka Hutchings (The Comet Is Coming), clarinettist Arun Ghosh and producer Hieroglyphic Being, as well as groups Penya and Ill Considered. He has toured with Kamasi Washington, Yussef Kamaal and Moses Boyd.

Korwar’s daring debut album, Day To Day, recorded with the support of the Steve Reid Foundation, was released by Ninja Tune in 2016. The album fused traditional folk music recorded with the Sidi community in India (combining East African, Sufi and Indian influences) with contemporary jazz and electronics, earning praise from the likes of Four Tet, Gilles Peterson and Floating Points. In 2018, he followed up with the live UPAJ Collective album, My East Is Your West (Gearbox Records), a critically-acclaimed take on the cultural appropriation of ‘spiritual’ Indo-jazz.

Lyrics available on request. 

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