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Nana’s Sunday Jams: Nikamma - Lifafa

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Nana’s Sunday Jams: Nikamma - Lifafa

Banner artwork by the majestic Trav, all of Nana's jams are gathered in this playlist.

Yes Yes and Yes Sunday Jammers. Hello again, hope you are well, staying sane and enjoying the tour so far. So, this week’s offering is another lush slice. I came by this artist via a recommendation – more precisely a passionate plea from a super keen friend, a friend who said this artist would change my life. I love that phrase when used to describe a piece of art that is so transformative it can cover the span of a lifetime. Just to let you know, friend, it was – and it still is - beautiful and transformative, it does what all great music should do; take you on a journey whether that’s through your body or in spirit, this artist does both, so, Big Love.

I’m a big fan of this musician even more so because of watching how invested he is in taking chances, really experimenting in a quest to find a voice and point of view rather than finding a comfortable corner and staying put. Some of you have probably come across him by now but if you are a newcomer then welcome to the rich lushness and beauty that is Suryakant Sawhney also known as the lead vocalist in Peter Cat Recording Co. You will recognise the harmonic tone that sits somewhere between crooner, raag master and indie pop singer and I can never, ever get enough.

Today’s track is taken from his third solo output the 2019 album Jaago, which feels like a more fully realised piece of work, but I would be happy to listen to him experiment and play for the rest of his musical life. My select is Nikamma’, perfect for your Sunday corner jam. It plays with jazz, electronica, dance beats, classical and it’s a banger. The rest of the album is slightly darker and more abstract in places, but this is no less weighted. There are definitely moments of lightness but it does not sacrifice the craft in any way, especially because of the intoxicating depth of the sensual, affecting vocal. Sawhney is high on my list of musicians whose brain I would love to get an animated rendering of just so I could see how the mechanisms work (without ruining the magic).

This album has poetry, pathos and moments of melancholy that are just achingly beautiful. This weaving of western sounds and classical Indian forms is finely balanced. His desire to find a middle point in his music and in his culture is evident – the lyrics and vocals often veer between Hindi and Urdu – points to a modern understanding and conception of what it means to be truly cross cultural where the two can occupy the same space without having to make trade-offs. It’s a testament not only to his craft but a passionate desire to articulate something whole.

This is also a dancing number so play through whatever device has serious speakers and don’t be stingy with the volume. Add it to your playlist for when we are all released and can meet in warmer times, sit on grass seats possibly at sunrise. It has an anthemic quality that could easily be the opener to any festival in the world – remember the time when we could stand next to other people and listen to music without fear of making them sick, this is an excellent reminder that it will happen again. Happy Sunday.