Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Nitin Sawhney: Heaven, London 17/11/15

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Nitin Sawhney has staying power, twenty years or more and still on top of his game.So it was very fortuitous indeed to catch him promoting his rather sterling new platter (his tenth) entitled 'Dystopian Dream'.This triumphant return to the london stage saw his core following come out in their droves and pack the vast blackness of heaven out.

His ten piece ensemble is filled with a startling array of talent and bedazzling artistry led by three sumptuously sounding singers whose lush qualities really give his music that upper edge.longstanding partner and individualistic maverick,Tina Grace, seized her moment in true theatrical style on the fiery flamenco rhumba of 'Herecica Latina' and the soulful more contemporary R&B soundng Sharleen Linton, was on hand for the torrentially dark blues belter 'When I'm Gone'.The killer single from the album (featuring newcomer and singer Stealth) but the real scene stealer of the show has to be Nikki Wells! Her hindi phrasing and sheer musicality beggars belief her jaw dropping performance on the exquisite ' Tere Khyal' is a bone fide showstopper.Intense yet highly graceful,she's one to watch for the future...the dark day in heaven has been lifted!

As for the man himself,Sawhney is the embracing embodiment balancing perfectly the emotional structure of the sound,the sonic architecht of some of the most forward thinking music out there,he's not really put a foot wrong album wise and his gutsy slide guitar work matches anything Sea Sick Steve can muster as proven on 'Dead Man' a slowburning beauty gloriously interpreted by his stonking band yes 'Nautical Nauseous Nitin' finds his sea legs perfectly on this standout composition from 2005's 'Philtre'. Props must also go to Aref Durvesh on tablas another trusty sidekick plus newcomer Gary Lutton, winner of the tv series 'Guitar Star' who must be tickled pink to have been invited on this tour and lastly the evocative flute playing of Ashwin Srinivasan certainly cut the mustard.Depending on how and when you listen, the same Nitin Sawhney song can freak you out, fill you with remorse, or send you into a deep sense of euphoria,suffice to say his top cuts do it all at once.Tonight was no exception, a well honed and measured set executed to perfection.

Words Emrys Baird

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