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Baker's Dozen

Don't Call It Fusion: Nitin Sawhney's Favourite Music
The Quietus , September 17th, 2020 08:17

In this week's Baker's Dozen, Nitin Sawhney talks Malvika Padin through 13 favourite records, from Kae Tempest to Miles Davis, D'Angelo to Joni Mitchell, Little Simz to Nils Frahm and more

Well-known for his ability to combine worldwide sounds such as jazz and electronic music with Asian influence, British multi-disciplinary artist Nitin Sawhney’s long career has seen him explore themes including multi-culturalism, politics, art, spirituality and much more in his work. With such an expansive range of passions and interests, as well as numerous tags – polymath, modern day Renaissance man etc - to identify him with one would assume that the prolific creative might struggle to define himself. But he explains that the opposite is true: “Labels are meant for other people to understand me, I don’t need them to understand myself,” Sawhney explains, “I do that through the stories and expressions of my music.”

This faith in his sense of identity is the bedrock to his creativity. Sawhney has spoken on how he used his experiences with racist bullying to drive his creative impulse. He explains that it wasn’t as much about not feeling down about himself, but instead drawing inspiration even from the low moments.

For the classically-trained Sawhney, creativity was less about the grammar and theory of music and more about expression ; he took whatever he experienced and fed into his music to give voices to the frustrations and anger he’s felt. Using his music as an expression of catharsis, the Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement award winner admits that he's found music to be the best way to examine the issues he faced in life. The same process might well be heard in his Baker’s Dozen selections.

Sawhney's much-anticipated Immigrants album will be released in Spring 2021. Click the image of the composer to begin reading his selections