Nitin Sawhney, with dancers
NITIN SAWHNEY has always been a musical innovator. A gifted multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and producer, his music, blending Indian classical music with jazz, dance beats, and electronica, has won a host of awards. In 2000 he received the prestigious South Bank Show Award for his album Beyond Skin, and he won MOBO Boundary Crossing BBC Radio 3 Music awards for 2001's Prophesy. He has written for the Proms and the Britten Sinfonia, and is due to compose an orchestral suite for the English Chamber Orchestra. Sawhney also recently recorded Cirque du Soleil's Varekai.
Born and raised in South East London, Sawhney has become a latter-day Renaissance man. After studying law at Liverpool Uni-versity, he teamed up with actor and school-friend Sanjeev Bhaskar to create the comedy act Secret Asians for BBC Radio and co-devised the BBC comedy series Goodness Gracious Me. Sawhney has played acid-jazz with the James Taylor Quartet and in his own band, the Jazztones, and collaborated with tabla player Talvin Singh in the Tihai Trio.
Since forging his solo career, he has toured worldwide, written for Sinead O'Connor, remixed for Paul McCartney and Sting, and produced for Algerian rai maestro Cheb Mami. He's also composed scores for films such as Dance of Shiva and Anita and Me, and his television credits include soundtracks for the BBC's The Sikhs and Bodily Harm, and a forthcoming adaptation of Twelfth Night.
On previous albums such as Spirit Dance (1993), Migration (1995), and Displacing the Priest (1996), Sawhney explored outward questions of religion, politics, and racial identity. 1999's Beyond Skin looked beyond cultural boundaries, and his last album, Prophesy, spanned the range of human experience, from aborigines in Australia to a choir of Soweto schoolchildren. Human (2003) is Sawhney's sixth album. Drawing on influences ranging from urban R&B to Indian classical music and the Velvet Underground, it is his most autobiographical effort to date.