Sound without borders

Sound without borders

Synopsis

Artists are redefining the underground music scene through a synergy of their love for music and their South Asian heritage

Sound without borders
Advertisement

To know thy roots; in what can be surmised as a cultural renaissance in a post-colonial world, many artists from the second-third generation from South Asian diaspora are giving birth to a vibrant underground music scene in an effort to diverge from the mainstream structures that aim to alienate them, but at the same time shedding much-needed light on important discourses of heritage and cultural integrity on the foundation of a unique culture of sound.

 

  1. Joy Crookes
Advertisement

One such talent goes by the name of Joy Crookes, born to a Bangladeshi mother from Dhaka and an Irish father from Dublin, who incorporates details about relationships, self-reliance, her culture, her South London roots, using her creativity as a tool to understand her own identity, her place in the world and her relationships within it.

Crookes gained interest in singing after gaining exposure to jazz and blues at an early age. By the age of 13, she had started publishing covers of Laura Marling and reggae to YouTube, whilst proceeding to teach herself how to play guitar, piano and bass, before writing her own music.

Heralded as one of British pop’s rising stars, Crooke’s debut album, Skin, amassed wide critical acclaim and reached the top five in the UK. The album serves as a rich storybook of experiences, delving into closely personal, yet immediately recognisable themes, spanning across subjects such as family trauma and heartbreak, whilst embedded together with elements of jazz, soul, and R&B.

Crookes’s love of her hometown and her roots come through in her work and her music videos. Her song “19th Floor” is named after her grandmother’s apartment on the 19th floor in South London and pays tribute to the immigrant experience. Often seen donning traditional Bangladeshi golden jewellery and motifs that relate to her cultural background, but make no mistake of boxing her as a South Asian artist. She is, by definition and origin, a Londoner, and the complexity of her music highlights the fact of belonging to a land that continues to box her in cultural identifiers.

“My favourite thing when I perform is watching people turn to their friends and sing the lyrics to each other,” says the singer-songwriter. “You can see that they’re sharing this connection through music, and the music is mine. It’s the language I speak, and watching so many other people speak my language is amazing.”

 

Advertisement

 

  1. Riz Ahmed

You may know Riz Ahmed from his roles in Star Wars or the hit HBO show, The Night Of, however, Ahmed’s origins in music predate his Hollywood career as he started rapping as a young teenager. Inspired by jungle and hip hop music, his music career began in his mid-teens, appearing on pirate radio and in freestyle rap battles. Riz attended Oxford University where he joined a 12-person band called Confidential Collective which ignited his career in rap.

Advertisement

Born to parents who moved from Pakistan to the U.K. in the 1970s, he grew up in a household that spun Bob Marley records. “In immigrant families, kids are [normally] discouraged from pursuing careers in the arts,” Ahmed says, his words tumbling out in bunches. “But the one thing that we have when we come over is our culture — our music, our song, our dance, our food, our costume. That is the one thing that we are rich with. Every immigrant is, in a way, an artist. You’re building something from nothing.”

His debut album, Microscope, not only divulged into his identity as being part of the Muslim faith and Pakistani background but also discussed realities of racial injustices and the immigrant struggle. He is honed for his stage presence, and his latest release, The Long Goodbye was critically acclaimed, making him one of the most poignant British rap artists of the decade.

The Golden Globe-nominated actor has also been part of a hip hop duo called Swet Shop Boys with Himanshu Kumar Suri, better known as Heems. Formed in 2014, the pair went on to release their explosive debut, Cashmere, in 2016, which used satire to voice anxieties about racism, prejudice, and cultural appropriation.

His music encompasses Jungle and South Asian rhythms, and dancehall vibes, whereas his rhymes are candid, funny, and vulnerable, attempting to articulate his South Asian identity and his fears of never being accepted because of his skin colour in Britain, a place that he dubs “no man’s land” in his album The Long Goodbye. “I put my truth in this sound,” he raps on the album. “I spit my truth, and it’s brown.”

Advertisement
Advertisement
Read More News On

Catch all the Entertainment News, Breaking News Event and Latest News Updates on The BOL News


Download The BOL News App to get the Daily News Update & Follow us on Google News.


End of Article

Next Story