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Navarasa : Nine Emotions is the trio’s third record. The first fruits of their fantastic expedition entitled Everything Sacred appeared in 2016. The second, Neuk Wight Delhi All-Stars, followed in 2017. Navarasa : Nine Emotions takes their journey many, many leagues on.
At the heart of YTK’s transporting new album is the subcontinent’s navarasa; the nine (nava) emotions or sentiments (rasa) of the arts. This central unifying underpinning is a centuries-old organising principle. The individual artistic emotions range from Shringara (love, beauty) through Hasya (laughter, mirth, comedy), Raudra (anger), Karuna (sorrow, compassion or mercy), Bibhatsya (disgust), Bhayanaka (horror, terror), Veera (heroism, courage), Adbutha (surprise, wonder) to Shanta (peace, tranquillity).
Each song on YTK’s new album is connected to one of these emotions, and the first track to be shared from Navarasa : Nine Emotions is “Westlin’ Winds”, paired with Adbutha.
“Westlin’ Winds” starts with the life-destroying Act I of Robert Burns’ poem ‘Now Westlin Winds, (And Slaught’ring Guns)’ and deliciously transplants its disjoined, nature-extolling and life-affirming Act II onto Indian soil with a composition “in Purbi, a specific dialect of old Hindi. I learnt the song,” says Suhail, “by listening to various qawwali [Muslim devotional song] singers singing at Hazrat Nizammuddin’s dargah [shrine] in Delhi. Its source is Hazrat Amir Khusrau.” Thus YTK unite one of the key spiritual visionaries and architects of Hindustani art music, the poet-philosopher Hazrat Amir Khusrau with the key literary visionary of Scottish and Scots-language culture, Robert Burns.
This bricolage of diverse cross-cultural elements is apparent across Navarasa : Nine Emotions and all of what YTK create. James Yorkston weaves in Scottish folk, sangster and literary strands. Jon Thorne is grounded in jazz and groove. What the New Delhi-based, eighth-generation hereditary musician Suhail Yusuf Khan brings to this feast of pulses and cycles is northern Indian classical, light classical (thumri, for example) and Sufi devotional musical and literary forms. What binds these diverse musical strands together is, in James’ phrase, “a dark happiness”.
Yorkston/Thorne/Khan will play a special album launch show at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections before their own UK headline tour in March.
The Shearing’s Not For You
Song For Oddur
The North Carr
Waliyan Da Raja