|Sarathy Korwar — Day To Day (Jul 08, 2016)|
Sarathy Korwar — Day To Day (Jul 08, 2016) • Sarathy Korwar is a percussionist, composer, field recordist, and musicologist. Though born in the United States, he was raised in India and is based in London, England. His music combines East Indian music, jazz, and electronics. Raised in Ahmedabad and Chennai by parents who were trained Indian classical singers, Korwar began his own musical education with the tabla at age eight.
• Growing up in three continents, this musician links the sounds he has experienced during his life to make a potent comment on the modern world... © Photo credit: Fabrice Bourgelle
Location: Ahmedabad ~ Chennai ~ London, UK
Genre: Jazz, World, Fusion
Album release: Jul 08, 2016
Record Label: Ninja Tune / The Steve Reid Foundation
01. Bhajan 4:43
02. Bismillah 8:05
03. Dreaming 4:35
04. Eyes Closed 3:31
05. Hail 3:49
06. Indefinite Leave to Remain 5:50
07. Karam 5:36
08. Lost Parade 1:13
09. Mawra (Transcendence) 4:58
℗ 2016 Ninja Tune x Steve Reid Foundation
• Heavyweight 180g black vinyl LP in a gatefold sleeve. Artwork by Joe Durnan.
• The Steve Reid Innovation Award is a project we’re incredibly proud to have co–ordinated. Working with so many talented people the likes of the Steve Reid Foundation, all of our mentors (Gilles Peterson, Floating Points, Four Tet, Koreless, RocketNumberNine, Emanative) and of course each of the incredibly exciting artists involved. Last night at The Forge in Camden saw the culmination of months of creation, with successful performances from Sarathy Korwar, Hector Plimmer, Moses Boyd and Lady Vendredi & The Vendettas, as well as music from Wu–Lu who is currently in LA.
• The extraordinary debut album from percussionist, drummer and producer Sarathy Korwar — Day To Day — fuses traditional folk music of the Sidi community in India (combining East African, Sufi and Indian influences) with jazz and electronics. It’s a collaborative release by Ninja Tune with The Steve Reid Foundation — a charitable trust established by Brownswood / Gilles Peterson with the dual objective of helping musicians in crisis and also supporting emerging talent. Sarathy is an alumnus of the Foundation’s development program, mentored by Four Tet, Emanative, Floating Points, Koreless and Gilles Peterson — all trustees of the foundation.
• “Sarathy instantly caught my attention when he said he wanted to make an album that embraced both Indian folk music and jazz — two worlds that have had a big influence on me. His album succeeds in bringing these things together in an elegant way, but it’s his own style and ideas that come through the most in the music. Refreshingly different, this is a deep and powerful listening experience.” Four Tet
• The Steve Reid Foundation commemorates the life and legacy of legendary percussionist/drummer Steve Reid. It is fitting that Sarathy’s album follows the lineage and spirit of Reid who himself left New York and took on a spiritual pilgrimage through Africa in the mid–1960s. For three years he journeyed through West Africa, playing with people along the way, including Fela Kuti, Guy Warren and Randy Weston. The musical roots and routes of the Black Atlantic have been discussed and documented extensively, but Sarathy is highlighting a different dispersal of people in the other direction, from East Africa to India. The Sidis travelled to India from Africa as merchants, sailors, indentured servants and mercenaries from as far back as 628 AD and have settled in India ever since.
• Conceived on an extended trip to rural Gujarat, followed by sessions at Dawn Studios in Pune, Sarathy made field recordings of The Sidi Troupe of Ratanpur whose vocals and percussion form the backbone of Day To Day. The troupe features five drummers — their polyrhythms reflect their African heritage, in contrast to traditional Indian drummers who play in unison. Likewise, the Malunga bows (there are only 4 or 5 players in India) bear a striking resemblance to those found in Africa.
• “The record is about how we individually and collectively live from day to day. The everyday rituals and tasks that bind us together, it’s a celebration of the trivial and mundane,” explains Sarathy. The colourful handmade rag quilts that the Sidis make using everyday fabrics serve as a perfect metaphor for the record: “The Sidi women make these amazing collages of colour using everyday rags,” he says. “That’s how I see this album”.
• 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 that leaked through the doorway of his local jazz music shop, Ahmad Jamal were John Coltrane early discoveries. At 17, Sarathy moved to Pune to study for a degree in Environmental Science, but instead dedicated his time to music: practicing tabla under the tutelage of Rajeev Devasthali, translating his skills to the Western drumkit and playing as a session musician. Finishing his studies, Sarathy began to think about pursuing a career in music and moved to London, where he trained as a classical tabla player under the guidance of Sanju Sahai and graduated with a MMus in Performance from SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) focusing on the adaptation of Indian classical rhythmic material to non–Indian percussion instruments.
• Working the angles in London’s jazz scene, Sarathy connected with Shabaka Hutchings (Sons of Kemet, The Comet is Coming), Cara Stacey (Kit Records) and played with clarinettist Arun Ghosh. He was, however, itching to create under his own name and he started researching and formulating the concept for Day To Day and planning a trip to India to record the Sidis. It was late in 2014 when Sarathy heard about the Steve Reid Foundation. He applied with a three–minute video explaining his vision for the record and was accepted onto the project to be mentored by the foundation’s patrons: Four Tet, Floating Points, Gilles Peterson, Koreless and Nick Woodmansey (Emanative).
• “Day To Day is an exceptional debut by this multi–percussive artist fusing jazz, electronic and Indian harmonics.” — Gilles Peterson
Phil Harrison, Friday 8 July 2016 13.00 BST //
• Growing up in three continents, this musician links the sounds he has experienced during his life to make a potent comment on the modern world.
• Migrants eh? Coming over here with their delicious food and original musical hybrids. As a jazz composer, percussionist and producer born in the USA, raised in India and living in London, Sarathy Korwar knows plenty about the cultural interplay surrounding migration. The basis of his debut album Day To Day — which has caught the ears of tastemakers such as Gilles Peterson and Four Tet — couldn’t be more appropriate as a retort to the suspicious, inward–looking unease of the current climate.
• Korwar spent time with the migrant Siddi people of southern India, specifically The Sidi Troupe of Ratanpur in rural Gujarat, and his field recordings of their hypnotic chants and percussive African–derived polyrhythms underpins Day To Day. Mostly Sufi Muslims, the Siddis are descended from the African Bantu, who travelled to India as merchants, sailors and slaves from the seventh century onwards. “I was fascinated by their influences,” says Korwar. “For example, some of the lyrics are in Swahili. It’s an oral tradition so they are singing words they don’t understand.”
• Korwar particularly responded to their improvisational spirit. He blends the Siddis’ repetitive, devotional style with the blissed–out astral jazz of Alice Coltrane or the languid, exploratory grooves of the Ninja Tune label. It turns out that sacred Indian folk and open–ended jazz have more in common than anyone could have imagined.
• And it’s not just their style that caught Korwar’s ear, but how they play. “For the Siddi, it’s about the act of performing rather than what actually gets played,” he says. “What’s lacking in a lot of contemporary music is complete surrender. While they’re playing, they’re consumed. All performers should be looking for that, in one way or another.”
• The parallel with Korwar’s own varied heritage is obvious but a sense of common purpose is essential to dispel suggestions of cultural appropriation. One of Day To Day’s standout tracks bears the title Indefinite Leave To Remain, a bureaucratic phrase which will be tediously familiar to all emigres. “The Siddis are migrants. And migration is a key ingredient to everything I do,” says Korwar. “I liked that title because it was formal and official, and also the ring to it once you took it out of context.”
• Evidently, issues surrounding multiculturalism have fed into the album’s creation. “I think any immigrant feels some pressure,” he says. “You’re aware of [racial] undertones because they crop up in everyday contexts, particularly if you’re brown or black–skinned. Words need to be re–examined. Words like terrorism. Like refugee. Meanings are always evolving It’s a difficult time.” This is unarguable but Korwar is optimistic that his album can inspire hope, or at least, open–mindedness. “I’m happy there’s a space for an Indian–jazz–folk–classical–electronic record!” he says. Prepare to have your Spotify categories cheerfully confused.
• Day To Day is out now on Ninja Tune. He plays Total Refreshment Centre, N16, Thursday 14 July.
|Sarathy Korwar — Day To Day (Jul 08, 2016)|