Nitin Sawhney

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Nitin Sawhney (left) in Lisbon in 2009

Nitin Sawhney (born May 12, 1964 in Rochester / Kent, England) is a British musician of Indian origin as well as composer, DJ , producer and remixer .


The childhood in Rochester, a stronghold of the British National Front , was marked by hostility and exclusion . By learning to play instruments - piano , concert and flamenco guitar , sitar and tabla - he evaded those horrors as far as possible. He broke off a law degree at the University of Liverpool . Nevertheless, he took something groundbreaking with him from this time, namely first band experiences in the James Taylor Quartet . He then founded his first band, The Jazztones, and then with the tabla player and producer Talvin Singh the second, the Tihai Trio.

In 1986 he began an apprenticeship as an accountant in Maidstone , the capital of the county of Kent, but could not reconcile this with his musical secondary occupations. In 1988 he moved to London , where he initially kept himself afloat with odd jobs. The encounter with the actor Sanjeer Bhaskar led to the joint development and impersonation of the comedy duo "The Secret Asians", which the BBC took on the radio program, which in turn resulted in a BBC television series.

In 1993 he started his multi-faceted solo career, which, not least because of the awards he received, enabled him to get involved in other areas, for example as a patron of film festivals , as a screenwriter or as a university lecturer .

In 2018 he was appointed to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences , which awards the Oscars every year.


His music combines Asian sounds with musical influences from all over the world and moves between jazz , soul and electronic music. He works with different singers such as Natacha Atlas , Nina Miranda (formerly Smoke City ), Rheena Bhardwaj or Tina Grace. The themes that he deals with in his songs deal with multiculturalism , spirituality and politics (including the Indian nuclear weapons tests ).

He wrote tunes for various commercials (u a.. Nike and Sephora ), set to music some television documentaries and is responsible for the soundtrack to Mira Nair's film " The Namesake ", the PlayStation 3 game Heavenly Sword and the video game Enslaved: Odyssey to the West responsible .

His passion for computer games can be found in the album title Philtre from 2005, because he describes the "elixir of life" in adventure games. In order to collect sequences for his 2001 album Prophesy , he traveled several continents for four months. He even made use of an interview with Nelson Mandela . On the 2008 album London Undersound there were collaborations with other musicians: The songs October Daze and Transmission are a (renewed) collaboration with Tina Grace (vocals), the song My Soul with ex- Beatle Paul McCartney and the decoupled Distant Dreams with Roxanne Tataei .



year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChartsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1999 Beyond Skin UK44

(2 weeks)UK
Outcaste Records
2001 Prophesy UK40

(2 weeks)UK
V2 / BMG
2003 Human UK54 (2 weeks)
2005 Philtre UK69 (2 weeks)
2008 London Undersound UK68 (1 week)

More albums

  • Spirit Dance (1994) World Circuit
  • Migration (1995) Outcaste Records
  • Displacing the Priest (1996) Outcaste Records
  • Introducing Nitin Sawhney (1999) Outcaste Records
  • Last Days of Meaning (2011) Universal publishing
  • Onezero (2013) Cherry Red Records
  • Dystopian Dream (2015) Positive ID
  • Water (Live) (2016) Deutsche Grammophon (Universal Music) with Hélène Grimaud


  • Essenchill (2002) V2
  • All Mixed Up (2004) exc. 2
  • Fabric Live 15 (2004) Fabric
  • In The Mind Of ... (2007) District 6


year Title
Top ranking, total weeks, awardChartsChart placements
(Year, title, album , rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
2001 Sunset
UK65 (1 week)
feat. Eska
2003 Rainfall
UK94 (1 week)
feat. Taio

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Academy invites 928 to Membersphip . In: (accessed June 26, 2018).
  2. a b Chart sources: UK
  3. a b Music Sales Awards: UK