Sarathy Korwar releases ‘Bol’, second single his upcoming album, More Arriving

The second single from Sarathy Korwar’s forthcoming album ‘More Arriving’ – set to release on July 26 – ‘Bol’ features a breath-taking performance from London poet Zia Ahmed. The single, that released today, cuts to the beating heart of the record, exploring themes of being South Asian in an increasingly divided (Great?) Britain.

More Arriving album artwork by Tushar Menon.

It’s about wanting to find a home,” Ahmed explains. “It’s going through images and ideas of brownness and South Asian identity that have been placed on me and people who look like me, by others in the UK and also by myself. The words are trying to navigate through all of that to find a version of myself that I can call whole/home,” he adds.

It follows the ‘Mumbay’ single, which features the heady talents of MC Mawali from Mumbai’s vibrant hip-hop scene. ‘Bol’ showcases a very different side to Korwar’s incredibly nuanced album, which draws on the voices of the Indian diaspora from various viewpoints, countries and continents.

Spoken word verses blossom into Aditya Prakash’s classical Carnatic refrains in the chorus, with the tension built up and expertly released several times over it’s almost 10-minute run time. The video is based on the shorter radio edit.

 

There is dark humour at play in Ahmed’s lyrics, which is reflected in David Higg’s hard-hitting video. “The video asks what it takes to integrate into British society and be considered British,” Korwar explains, adding, “Juxtaposed on lyrics that describe the everyday racist stereotyping of South Asians, it’s an ironic look what it means to be brown in the UK today.”

ABOUT SARATHY KORWAR

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 the 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 a decade ago, he moved to London where he trained as a classical tabla player under the guidance of Sanju Sahai at SOAS (The School of Oriental and African Studies), focusing on the adaptation of Indian classical rhythmic material to non-Indian percussion instruments.

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.

 

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