Artist Profiles: Nitin Sawhney

Nitin Sawhney – Photo by Steve Gullick


Born in London in 1964, producer, keyboardist, guitarist and DJ Nitin Sawhney is one of England’s most creative producer/musicians. Sawhney has become a latter-day Renaissance man in the worlds of music, film, videogames, dance and theater.

He has remixed for Paul McCartney and Sting, written for Sinead O’Connor, and produced part of an album from Algerian rai star Cheb Mami. His own recordings are remarkable Anglo-Indian fusion creations.


Nitin Sawhney


Sawhney’s success has been unusual. After studying law at Liverpool University he joined his flatmate Sanjeev Bhaskar in creating a comedy double act, The Secret Asians, that spoofed British racial attitudes and undermined Indian stereotypes. It led to a BBC radio contract, and ultimately to the hit BBC TV comedy series, Goodness, Gracious Me.

Linking up with an old school friend, English acid-jazz keyboardist James Taylor, Sawhney joined his band, then quickly created his own group, The Jazztones. A collaboration with fellow Indian tabla/producer Talvin Singh, as The Tihai Trio, inevitably saw Sawhney linked with England’s emerging “Asian Underground” movement, a term Sawhney himself rejects.

On his album Prophesy, Sawhney utilizes the guest talents of world music icons Natacha Atlas, Trilok Gurtu, Cheb Mami and Mandawuy Yunupingu, amongst others, as well as a voice snippets from a Chicago cab driver, bluesman Terry Callier and Nelson Mandela. Carefully crafting the mix, Sawhney creates a smoothly seductive combination of pop, jazz, R&B, flamenco and sound collage.


* Spirit Dance (World Circuit, 1994)
* Migration (Outcaste Records, 1995)
* Displacing the Priest (Outcaste Records, 1996)
* Beyond Skin (Outcaste Records, 1999)
* Prophesy (V2/BMG, 2001)
* Human (V2, 2003)
* All Mixed Up (V2, 2004)
* Philtre (V2, 2005)
* London Undersound (Cooking Vinyl, 2008)
* Last Days of Meaning (Universal, 2011)
* OneZero (Cherry Red Records, 2013)
* Dystopian Dream (Positiv-ID, 2015)

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Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel is also co-founder of the Transglobal World Music Chart.

Angel has also produced and remastered world music studio albums and compilations for labels such as Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, and Music of the World.


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