Nitin Sawhney

Born 1964, Nitin Sawhney is a British Indian musician and producer. In 2017, he was awarded the Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award. His work blends Asian and international influences with electronica and jazz, and explores themes like politics, spirituality, and multiculturalism. Sawhney is also involved in the promotion and support of arts and culture and is a patron to many film festivals, venues, educational institutions, and other cultural events. Nitin Sawhney was born in Rochester, Kent, England to Punjabi immigrants. He was a student of tabla, flamenco, classical, and flamenco guitars as a child. He then studied law briefly at Liverpool University. Sawhney made friends with James Taylor, an acid jazz keyboard-player. Sawhney then went on tour with The James Taylor Quartet. He then formed his own band, The Jazztones, from this experience. The Tihai Trio was also formed by him and Talvin Singh, a tabla player and producer. Sawhney dropped out of university to become an accountant before he left his job as a financial controller at a hotel in order to pursue his music career. Sawhney moved from India to London where he made friends with Sanjeev Bhhaskar, an old friend from university. Together they formed The Secret Asians comedy troupe. They were granted a BBC Radio show, which was later renamed Goodness Gracious Me. Sawhney began his solo career in 1993 with the release of Spirit Dance, his first album on his own label. Sawhney has performed and scored with orchestras and collaborated and written for Paul McCartney and Sting. Sinead O’Connor and Sinead O’Connor, Sinead O’Connor and Jacob Golden, Anoushka Shawkar, Jeff Beck, Shakira and Will Young have all worked with Sawhney. He has also written for Paul McCartney, Sting, The London Symphony Orchestra, A.R. He has a reputation for his international performances, which have taken him to many countries. Sawhney is often an Artist in Residence, Curator, or Musical Director at international festivals. He also contributes to musical education. Sawhney has been patron of the British Government’s Access-to music programme and East London Film festival. Artis is currently Artis’s partner. Sawhney also acts as a judge for the PRS foundation, BAFTA and BIFA, as well as The Ivor Novello awards, BAFTA and BIFA. Six honorary doctorates have been awarded to him by British universities. He is also a Fellow of LIPA and Southbank University. Sawhney is an Associate of Sadler’s Wells and sits on the Board for British theatre company Complicite. In 2007, he declined an OBE due to ethical concerns. Sawhney was awarded the Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. Reservoir Media Management has represented Nitin Sawhney since 2014. Sawhney has ten studio albums. Sawhney has won 17 national awards for his album productions and was awarded the Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award. Sawhney’s fourth and most successful Gold-selling album, Beyond Skin was released in 1999 on London’s Outcaste Records. Sawhney won the South Bank Show Award as well as a Mercury Music Prize nomination. Sawhney signed to Richard Branson’s V2 Records in 2001. The Silver-certified Prophesy won a MOBO Award and a BBC Radio 3 Music Award. Sawhney’s seventh album, Philtre was released in May 2005. It received another BBC Radio 3 Award. Sawhney’s eighth album, London Undersound was released on Cooking Vinyl in 2008. This album featured artwork by Antony Gormley as well as performances by Paul McCartney and Anoushka Shankar. Sawhney’s studio work Last Days of Meaning (2011), which was previewed at The Royal Albert Hall in May 2011, focuses on John Hurt as an actor and follows the Dickensian journey of an intransigent and lonely man. One Zero, his 2013 box set release, was recorded live to vinyl as a celebration for ten album releases. In November 2015, Nitin released Dystopian Dream, his tenth studio album. He was the producer of Anoushka Shankar’s Grammy-nominated album “Traces of You”, featuring Norah Jones. He also produced Nicki Wells’ debut album, as well as the tenth album of Helene Grimaud (Water). Sawhney has been credited for over 50 films, as well as numerous international TV programs, commercials, and trailers. Sawhney, who is a LA-based agency called First Artist Management, has composed music for a variety of settings, including dark, high-tension drama and lighthearted animatronics. Sawhney has been asked to compose scores for many different projects. His music for Channel 4’s Second Generation was nominated for the Ivor Novello Award in Film and TV Composition. He has scored commercials for Nike and Sephora. Sawhney wrote a new symphony in 2006 to accompany Franz Osten’s silent 1929 film, A Throw of Dice. It premiered at the Barbican in London. Notable works include the scores for Mira Nair, Oscar-nominated director,’s adaptation of Jhumpa lahiri’s The Namesake. Also, Natural Fantasia, and Human Planet for BBC. Sawhney’s work on television and film has earned him recognition in the world of classical music. Sawhney wrote “Neural Circuits” in 2001 for the Britten Sinfonia. In 2002, he collaborated with Akram Khan, Anish Kapoor and scored the music to Khan’s choreographed piece Kaash. This work was toured around the world between 2002 and 2003. The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra asked Sawhney to write a new piece in 2004 for their Harmony Project. Sawhney’s previous scores include the Olivier Award-winning writer Stephen Clark’s new Mahabharata adaptation, Simon McBurney’s A Disappearing Number For Complicite and Jonathan Holmes’ Fallujah, his first theatrical director. Sawhney continues to collaborate with Akram Khan on Bahok and Vertical Road, as well as iTMOi (in Igor’s mind). Sawhney composed the music for the Ninja Theory video game Heavenly Sword, and Enslaved. Odyssey to the West, both starring Andy Serkis. Sawhney worked again with the London Symphony Orchestra to record the Network/BFI remaster of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger. The performance was live at The Barbican Centre, 21 July 2012. [19] Sawhney also scored Deepa Mehta’s adaptation from Salman Rushdie’s book Midnight’s Children. It was released in October 2012 (US), and Vara:A blessing and Japan in one Day. Sawhney was recently the star of Wonders of the Monsoon, a five-episode series for the BBC’s Natural History Department. It premiered with the BBC in 2014. It was retitled Lands of the Monsoon after it was released on DVD. Sawhney was awarded the Royal Television Society Award for Best Composer in February 2015. Sawhney recently completed the score for Andy Serkis’ directorial debut Breathe (which features Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy and Claire Foy), which will be released in October 2017. Sawhney is currently scoring Andy Serkis’ Mowgli interpretation for Warner Bros. Sawhney’s album, “Dystopain Dream”, has been transformed into a stage show with Sadler’s Wells. This was co-created with Honji Wang, Sebastien Ramirez and premiered in Luxembourg, 29 September 2017. Sawhney has a long list of theatre/dance credits, including the scores for Complicite’s Olivier Award-winning “A Disappearing number” and Akram Khan’s Olivier Award winning “Zero Degrees”, for which Nitin was awarded a New York Performance and Dance Award. Sawhney’s composition to Khan’s “Vertical Road”, which he had scored for the Royal Ballet of China’s Bahok, was awarded a Melbourne best new work Award. Sawhney collaborated again with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, a Belgian choreographer, on a production based upon the life of Manga creator “Tezuka”. He also worked with Akram Khan on “iTMOi” (“in the mind of Igor”) as part of the Centenary Rites of Spring celebrations held at Sadler’s Wells. Sawhney produced and directed Indelible, a multi-installation performance at Sadler’s wells as part their “NoBody” programme. Sawhney is known for his acting roles in the BBC TV and Radio series Goodness Gracious Me. He also received a Sony award as performer/writer. Meera Syal’s Radio 4 miniseries, Masala FM, and Confluence With Akram Khan are other notable credits. His work as a young theatrical director includes Confluence for Sadler’s Wells, and writing/directing workshops at London’s National Theatre in Trust. He has written articles for UK newspapers and been a commentator on BBC Newsnight Review, Newsnight, and Hard Talk. Sawhney’s BBC R2 program Nitin Sawhney Spins the Globe. The fourth series aired in March 2015. Sawhney was recently an industry expert in the two-part TV series Guitar Star for Sky Arts. He also appeared in and served as music director for the Sky Arts series Tony Visconti’s Unsigned Heroes which aired in 2017. Sawhney has remixed many artists over the years including Sting and Nusrat Fateh Al Khan, Jeff Beck, Julian Lloyd Webber as well as Tina Grace, Paul McCartney, and Tina Grace (for McCartney’s The Fireman project). Sawhney also collaborated on “My Soul” with Paul McCartney, which was featured on Sawhney’s London Undersound album as well as on other Robert Miles projects like Miles Gurtu or Organik. He also performed with American singer-songwriter Jacob Golden. 4hero, Talvin Sing, MJ Cole, and Quantic have remixed his work. His songs were included on Cheb Mami’s album Dellali. He was also a co-producer of the second album by Get Cape. Wear Cape. Atlantic Records released Fly entitled Searching For the Hows and Whys. He composed the music for Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Akram Khan’s dance piece “Zero Degrees”. The set was created by Antony Gormley. Sawhney has a BBC Radio 2 series called “Nitin Sawhney spins the Globe”, which was commissioned for three series. He has collaborated with Joss Stone and Bassekou Koyate as well as One Eskimo, Diana Yukawa, David Arnold, and One Eskimo. Sawhney also co-produced and wrote Anoushka Shankar’s latest album, Traces of You. It features Norah Jones. Sawhney is currently producing the new album of semi-classical all-female string quartet Bond (band). Sawhney is a well-known flamenco guitarist as well as a classical/jazz pianist. His ability to transcend cultural barriers has earned him much recognition in both classical and pop music communities. This led to Sawhney’s unique claim to broadcast and sell out as an artist for the BBC Traditional and Electric Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall and Roundhouse. Sawhney’s band has been touring the globe for decades. In recent years, Sawhney has worked with silent film orchestras and performed as a scorer or conductor in international films. These include Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger, Franz Osten’s A Throw of Dice, and Naruse’s Yogoto No Yume, all for the London Symphony Orchestra. Nitin has been a conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra as well as the Singapore Festival Orchestra. He also wrote his first choral work for the London Contemporary Voices Choir. In September 2014, he performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall. He showcased songs from Dystopian Dream, his tenth studio album. Sawhney was the musical director of a tribute to Jack Bruce at London’s Roundhouse in Oct 2015 and also the musical director for Tony Visconti, A Life in Music at London’s Union Chapel in 2017. Sawhney is an established DJ with a wide range of styles, including Afrobeat, Dubstep, Asian breakbeat, and drum ‘n’ beat. Sawhney performed at London’s renowned Fabric nightclub and has also Dj-ed at Womad, Womadelaide, and other major festivals around the globe. Clubland has witnessed three international DJ albums by Sawhney: All Mixed Up – The Definitive Mix Collection, Fabriclive 15, and In the Mind Of… Nitin Sawhney. Wikipedia

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