Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, Tue 2 Oct.

Can’t stop the prophet

Sawhney is no doubt about to see his rising stock in the US fall as, in the face of recent events, that country’s truly idiotic president declares war on anyone with an unusual sounding name. Over here though, the travelling troubadour of world music is set to open his musical rucksack in a series of long-

awaited Scottish gigs.

It’s like sometimes you wait for a decent Asian fusion artist to come along, and then two arrive at the same time. Nitin Sawhney may forever be bundled into the same rarefied hothouse as Talvin Singh, but his remarkable new album Prophesy proves he is a composer and musical innovator beyond reproach.

Sawhney’s own ascent is in itself quite amazing. The victim of racist bullying at a Kent grammar school, he escaped by excelling at piano and guitar. TV work followed, as did a succession of unnoticed jazz-fusion albums. However, it was not till his name began appearing in the credits of the hit BBC comedy show Goodness Gracious Me and the release of his fourth album Beyond Skin that people began to name check him. Now everyone does, with two Mercury nominations and the 2000 South Bank Award For Music under his belt. Even the mighty Madge has announced that Sawhney is her composer of choice when she does yoga. The collaborations are piling up, from Mecca to Jeff Beck and Skinhead O’Connor to miserable old Raymond Briggs. This fresh-faced 36-year-old has finally hit pay dirt, yet one can’t help thinking it is his new album that is his greatest achievement to date.

Prophesy is Sawhney’s fifth album and as profound a piece of musical journey-ism as you are likely to find this side of David Holmes’s Lets Get Killed. Setting out to entwine social and spiritual themes with a rainbow of musical genres, the album way surpasses its much-lauded predecessor. ‘I started in the studio with the bones of the album, then went round the world to fill the soul,’ notes Sawhney of the album he recorded in six continents, and which features over 200 musicians. Sawhney managed to gather a remarkable cast on his travels, from the godlike genius of Terry Callier to Natacha Atlas, and from Algerian rai legend Cheb Marni to puckish female rapper Pinky Tuscadero. Most remarkably however, he bagged and uses great sound bites from Nelson Mandela and a crazy luddite Chicago cabbie called Jeff Jacobs. All humanity is here without the Disneyfication.

On his tour Sawhney will be surrounded by his excellent regular band - Eric Appapoulay on bass, drummer Euston Liburd and tabla player Aref Durvesh, and will hopefully be recreating some of the mighty highs of Prophesy. And who knows, maybe just one member from his million-dollar line up will turn up for a touch of revisionist vaudeville. (Paul Dale)



Venue, Edinburgh, Wed 26 Sep.

Industrial revolutions

Pavement are the new Take That. OK, bear With me on this one. When Take That split. all the money was on Fat Gary Barlow to make it big, but the seemingly hapless Robbie beat him to it. Like/rise. when Uber-indie Yanks Pavement

44 THE LIST '20 Sep -'. (ic'. I’Jfr‘

spilt rn lfiflfi. the n‘orze‘, u'xas on f'if‘: band's floppy Ira;r'ed frontrran Steve Malkmus to do tne business. yet (l()-i()‘.llt(l(3l‘ and guitarist Sccft Kaitnberg AKA Spiral Starr‘s has gamnyred him '.'.’l3l‘ hrs excellent new band Preston School Of Industry

The band. 'ta'i‘ed after a Ba, Area reforn‘ school since ,ou're asking, released their excelen‘. debut. {ill)tl'l‘. x't/r’ [his Souk/s (3.15;. last south. I o" Karinberg. t .'.‘as pleasant (;".{1"(_](3 frovr‘ tun/elm: (mars ‘.'.’|I'l hrs iorn‘er hand. “.".’ell t ‘.'.'a:; refreshing] he sa,s in fine 'a/iest Californian draz‘x. nutgmrlre. ‘It .‘xas cool because got to wake all the decisions. takt' n“, t'n‘e and n‘ake sure things x'rr‘irked eat right. In I’aven‘ent we alu'xays did things real fren/ied and fast and just ploughed filtro'.rgli it.'

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IRISH-SCOTTISH EVENING Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, Edinburgh, Sat 29 Sep.

Connemara. in the west of County Calway. has long been a stronghold of traditional Irish singing. The intense. unaccompanied songs are described as being ‘sean nos' old style -- but as revered accordion player Johnny Connolly reveals. the term can also describe ‘The dances. I'm playing a lot for the sean nos set dances and step dances. It was the box that was always the main instrument in Connemara

Like many lrishmen he spent many years in England. and hardly played. but since moving back home he's again taken up the simplest accordion. the melodeon. ‘It's been the single row for the last ten years or so'. he says. ‘I find that I can get a much better rhythm.‘ Playing for dancing is the root of all instrumental music-making. as in carun. where the same single-row honks out the two- steps and waltxes and in Connolly's case the cartrn connection is close. 'I happened to buy a box that was made there. It's the one I use. A lovely box. I bought it in Boston. but it was made by Martins. in LOuisiana.'

The gospel accordion to the Celts

Arriving wrth Connolly. as part of the 30th annual Scots Irish tour sponsored by the Irish government, is Sorcha Ni Cheilleachair', one of the finest of the younger singers (she's in her late twenties) in the scan nos tradition. ‘Both my parents sang' she says. ‘so it was natural to follow in their footsteps. And, being from An Rinn. in Waterford. I sing in Irish It's the smallest Gaitlhealteachd in Ireland, but rich in songs, which I learned fron‘ my mother lAnne I‘Vlulgueen. the famous singerl and from a lot of the same people that she had learned from. So all the songs I sing are from my own area. and in the local style.‘ Add fine Uist singer Margaret Cal!an_ celebrated I evxis poet Donald MacAulay n‘ore poets and [)II‘LEI'S. and the spirit of the venue. and you \‘JIII (Z(}ll(llllI\’ have an anniversary cerlrdh.

(Norman Chalmers»