Culture, Globe, Music, United Kingdom

Multiculturalism and sounds with Asian magic

From 7-10 March 2024 in London, South Asian musicians and singers will come together to perform in concerts and other cultural events at the inaugural South Asian Sounds festival.


Sarathy Korwar. Photo by Fabrice Bourgelle.

Information: Angie Lemon


In collaboration with the Southbank Centre, the organisers of the event (Asian Arts Agency) have included renowned musicians in their opening and closing programme.

One of them is Malkit Singh MBE, bhangra soloist, the first Punjabi musician bestowed an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II, who will give a headline concert on Friday 8 March at the Royal Festival Hall.  And the other two are Jason Singh, Earthshot Prize winning musician and Sarathy Korwar,  2023 Songlines Music Award winner for Best Asia/Pacific album, will take to the stage at the Queen Elizabeth Hall for the festival’s closing concert. It is the inaugural South Asian Sounds festival which over four days will feature a diverse programme reflecting the wealth of talented South Asian musicians and artists.

Artists from the South Asian diaspora have been carefully curated to present audiences with a stunning range of classical and contemporary music that reflects the diversity of the region and its people.

The King of Bhangra

Malkit Singh MBE Golden Star takes to the stage for South Asian Sounds’ Friday night’s premiere event at the Royal Festival Hall.

Malkit Singh. Photo Asian Arts Agency.

From ‘Outstanding Achievement’ at the Brit Asia TV Music Awards to being honoured on Birmingham’s Walk of Stars, Singh’s is a performance and recording icon.

Vocal performances that shot Malkit Singh to international fame include the hit song from which Malkit takes his moniker ‘Kali Ainak’ (‘Golden Star’) and ‘Gur Nalo Ishq Mitha’ and ‘Tutak Tutak Toothiyan’. The latter song was penned by Veer Rahimpuri and became the fastest selling and most successful Bhangra single at the time. Malkit’s performances on ‘Chal Hun’ and ‘Jind Mahi featured on the movie soundtrack for “Bend it like Beckham”. Malkit Singh MBE was listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest selling bhangra solo artist of all time and is acknowledged internationally for taking Punjabi folk music onto a world stage. In 2008, Malkit Singh became the first Punjabi singer to be honoured with an MBE from Queen Elizabeth II.

New Soundsz

The finale concert of South Asian Sounds takes place in the evening of Sunday March 10th in the Queen Elizabeth Hall and is actually a three-in-one innovative performance of contemporary music and sounds called New Soundz. This event is a follow on from Asian Arts Agency’s well received and attended New Soundz festival which took place in Bristol in November 2023.

Jason Singh. Photo by Reece Straw.

The star musicians for this final performance are artists who both strive to stretch musical borders and succeed effortlessly. They are sound artist extraordinaire, Jason Singh and genre-defying musician Sarathy Korwar, who will both perform solo shows and then come together for a collaborative show.

Dubbed the ‘human sampler’ by BBC Radio 6, Jason Singh’s solo section crafts immersive soundscapes drawn from nature’s diverse sounds and then a collaborative performance with award-winning Sarathy Korwar as the festival finale. Singh and Korwar explore a range of soundscapes, drawing inspiration from Indian classical ragas, jazz, ambient, avant-garde hip-hop, dub and the natural world.

Festival organisers have said that for the first edition of the festival, they focused on “presenting some of the best of British Asian artists including crowd favourite, Malkit Singh and his high energy performance to the more ambient sounds style of Sarathy Korwar and the upbeat beats of Jason Singh”.

For more information and programming click here.

(Photos: Press Office)

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