Singapore Arts Festival: Nitin Sawhney and The Last Days of Meaning

Back home, we could be frequently found at drum ‘n’ bass/electronica/”world music” venues in and around New York City. We have been blessed to have seen sets by a range of international artists, from Talvin Singh to MIDIval Punditz. (If there is a drum ‘n’ bass scene here in Singapore, we have yet to find it.)

o o o o o

Last night, jazz pianist/flamenco guitarist/tabla player/soundtrack writer/orchestral composer, Nitin Sawhney, performed as part of the 2011 Singapore Arts Festival. It was a “Singapore moment,” a totally spontaneous and magical evening. Because, truly, what’s better than live music on tropical night?

And, *sigh*, the music. Sawhney’s set featured tracks from his latest studio album, Last Days of Meaning. At last night’s show, Sawhney, on decks, keyboard, and guitar, was joined by Aref Durvesh on tabla and dholak, Ashwin Srinivasan on bansuri, and Nikki Wells and Tina Grace on vocals. I adore the bansuri (wooden flute) and it was wonderful to hear it under the stars with Singapore’s iconic skyline as our backdrop. And I was blown away by Nikki Wells; her voice gave me chills.

However, the venue wasn’t ideal. The Main Stage of the Festival Village, situated in Esplanade Park, might be suitable for other sorts of performances. This audience wanted to sway, to move, to dance and the tiered seating didn’t really allow for this sort of expression. Perhaps more people would have “gotten into” the music had the concert been held in a bar or club?

o o o o o

The Singapore Arts Festival runs until June 5 and we are very excited to catch DJ Tigerstyle, despite the fact that it will also be held at the Main Stage, next week. A full Festival schedule can be found here.

4 responses

  1. I saw him doing Roll of the Dice the night before with the same musicians (plus an orchestra) and they were truly awesome. It was a fantastic score, and Nitin hinted at his own (familiar) tracks without actually including them.

    Nikki Wells kind of freaked me out because, to be honest, I always pictured her as a beautiful Indian woman in a sari, perhaps with jasmine blossoms in her hair… which she totally isn’t. But I sure do agree about the bansuri (and Ashwin’s skills in general!).

  2. we caught nitin at last year’s mosaic and yep, couldn’t agree more about nikki’s voice.

    as for the DnB scene – get thee to home club’s +65 night and syndicate night on saturdays.

    also keep an eye out for the occasional night at blujazz cafe on haji lane (upstairs).

  3. “Jazz pianist/flamenco guitarist/tabla player/soundtrack writer/orchestral composer…” Whew! What a resume. This sounds like a great set.