For a long time, Nitin Sawhney has occupied a prime slot on my very short bucket list of people to interview. I first encountered his music in the early 1990s, and to a great extent, he has provided the soundtrack to my adult life. Perhaps that was inevitable. After all, we are part of the same generation, and his albums capture the reality of the world as seen through the eyes of an immigrant. I had once described him as the Dylan of the connected, wired, post-globalization world. Sadly, that world is fast becoming a faded memory.
Born and raised in Kent, England, Sawhney is British of Asian origin. Early on, he studied law and worked in a boring day job, which he eventually quit to work on the seminal show, “Goodness Gracious Me.” Accomplished in disciplines, he is particularly known as a musical renaissance man. Unpredictable and difficult to pigeonhole, he can play multiple instruments and create music in different genres. His ever-expanding body of work includes multiple solo albums, as well as the scores for many television shows, video games, and movies.
His new album, “Immigrants,” will be released on March 19, 2021. It comes more than two decades after his big breakthrough with “Beyond Skin.” So much has changed in that span of time. The world that promised a bright collective future has given way to the dark clouds of tribalism, distrust, and a crippling sense of nostalgia for the status quo.