Talented musician Nitin Sawhney has described his latest album as “dark” but “hopeful”.
In an exclusive interview with Eastern Eye, Sawhney said the starting point of Dystopian Dream – which was released last Friday (6) – were the deaths of his father and renowned Indian sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar.
Sawhney said he was by the bedside of the legendary musician with his daughter Anoushka Shankar when he passed away in 2012.
“A couple of years ago I had a pretty awful year. My dad passed away and a few months before that Panditji Ravi Shankar passed away.
“I was there with Anoushka, whose album I was producing at the time, by his bedside,” Sawhney said. “It was quite a dark period for both of us, and we wrote a track together on her album called Fathers.
“There was a lot I was feeling about loss and isolation. Because of the traumatic nature of how my dad passed away – it was quite a violent passing – I felt very strongly about expressing something that I hadn’t expressed before.
“A lot of stuff came through in the lyrics and ideas, and the title itself is about that line between life and death and wondering where the spirit of my dad ended up.
“As a result the album is a lot about self-questioning and questioning identity. It is quite a dark album in a lot of ways, but it is also a hopeful album. It’s gone somewhere quite positive.”
In a career spanning over two decades, this is Sawhney’s first studio album in four years. Dystopian Dream is led by the new single, When I’m Gone, featuring vocals from Stealth. It is also set to become a fully choreographed show with the innovative Wang-Ramirez Company.
Having worked as a producer and composer in film, theatre, dance, video games and orchestras, Sawhney has also collaborated with the likes of Sting, Nelson Mandela and Akram Khan.
He is currently scoring the entire orchestra soundtrack for Warner Brothers’ hugely anticipated Jungle Book Origins featuring Indian actress Freida Pinto and Hollywood star Christian Bale.
Dystopian Dream is out now. For information about tour dates, go to www.nitinsawhney.com