The Electric Proms 2007 have finally arrived and take place tomorrow night – and I am Sooooo excited!
It's going to be a very different proposition than last year with only two performances which may help the night run more smoothly. Last year we had an explosive Tigerstyle playing totally live with what seemed like 15 collaborators plus the symphonic sounds of the Bombay Dub Orchestra & Niraj Chag – but we ran over and couldn’t include Aziz playing live which was a real pity. BUT, with extra space (In the amazing Jazz Café) and fewer artists this time around, plus the completely different musical language they use should make the night a unique event.
Watch my interview with Amar
Amar is headlining which for me is a dream that first started 10 years ago at Talvin Singhs ‘Anokha’ clubnight. I was in my mid-twenties then and remember being blown away by Amars vocals as she performed live on stage with Talvin frenetically hitting Tabla’s being fed through effects. She was singing the ‘Soundz Of The Asian Underground’(s) unofficial anthem ‘Jaan’ – An electronic drum & bass epic as melancholy as any Nusarat tune and I was instantly hooked. Hooked on her voice, her looks, her heritage (famous Punjabi singer Mangal Singh is her father!) and the sadness that seemed to bubble just below the surface of her cut glass voice.
Since then I have followed her slow and arduous journey through a music industry that doesn’t quite know what to make of her. I got delirious when I heard she was working on an album with Nitin Sawheny, and when the debut single ‘Red Sky’ (from the album) first got sent out as a white label promo, they sent me one! As a DJ until then I had brought all my own music – getting that White Label sent to my home address for the first time made me feel like I’d arrived as a DJ! “Labels sending little old me free music?? Yee HAA!” The music was a hypnotic and melody driven slice of future Asian electronica and I loved it. It was maybe, knowing Nitin at the time, a little too ambitious for a public that either wanted asian pop, asian bhangra, or simple asian electronica, and after that it seemed like Amar had disappeared off the face of the earth.
I then remember seeing her on Zee TV alongside Rai supremeo Khaled and thinking eh? Space age asian amazonian, to family friendly fusionist? What’s going on? And then to confound things further in 2006 after many rumors in the intervening years we hear she had pitched up shop in the USA and working with Timbaland! This is the Timbaland we all knew had produced Missy’s ‘Get Yer Freak On” and other great Hip Hop – but still hadn’t released Shock Value and become the household name he is now in 2007. When the Asian Nelly Furtado remixes of Maneater & Promiscuous Girl came out it was obvious Amar had found her voice as she silently blew Furtado out the water as well as her sublime collabo ‘Bombay’ on Timbalands album.
So its 2007 – She’s been working with Timbaland, Jim Beanz and lots of other producers and musicians from Timbo’s camp – Everything he touches at the moment turns gold – and she’s headlining our Electric Proms night ahead of the release of her next album….We may just witness the future of Asian ‘Mainstream’ music on Friday night and I cant wait.
PS. Riz MC, the UK’s best MC is doing a Collabo with The Riff Raff that night as well as doing his own tracks People Like People & Post 9/11 Blues – I will say this again as I do on Radio – He may just be ‘The One’. By that I mean I have been looking for the Brit-Asian ‘Bob Marley’ – A figure who is talented, has crossover appeal and is a true innovator musically. Riz I believe has all the ingredients, and given some more time could be the musical voice of a generation…find out on Friday Nights Electric Proms…x.
**IF YOU WANT TO HEAR THE ELECTRIC PROMS NIGHT JUST LISTEN TO ‘FRICTION’ MONDAY 29TH OCTOBER AT 10PM – WE WILL BE PLAYING OUT ALL THE MUSIC!**
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