Nitin Sawhney is an artist that I’ve always wanted to see but never had the chance.
It’s great that after about a million and a half years he’s finally in front of me with his band.
So you can imagine how I’m feeling when they instantly mess up the first couple of intros? It was just a tiny technical hitch thankfully.
They were here mostly to play his album ‘Beyond Skin’ in its entirety (though I’m not sure if it’s 100% in order), although the song they messed up was ‘Breathing Light’ featuring the voice of Nelson Mandela. They got it right second time.
‘Beyond Skin’, he reminds us, was an album basically recorded in his bedroom. It was about identity and immigration.
He tells us that he thought that was a topic that he’d covered and he could move on to something new. Until recently.
That album is 20 years old now. Yet it sounds like it could have been released today. Especially the way they performed it here as he’s backed by some magical players who deserve a shout out – Anna Phoebe on violin, Nicki Wells & YVA on vocals and Aref Durvesh on percussion and Tabla.
It’s not an exact flawless replica of the recording. There’s a lot of space to let the band play and the songs breathe. Which you’d be crazy not to with this talent.
At some of the recent gigs they were joined by the rapper Spek but here he was in voice and spirit if not body.
Finally seeing him was worth the wait. They were magical.
For the second time at this festival support came from Cara Rose and Ali Robertson – this time with a different set of songs.
As before they play as a duo for a few songs before Cara performs solo with the piano.
What was different was that they threw in a cover version of Aretha Franklyn’s ‘Say a Little Prayer’. Which is probably a good indicator of their inspirations if not intentions.
They seemed quite well received and seeing the same band twice in a week is kind of nice.
Now at least I know their songs.