anti-babel – sanjay sharma

Posts Tagged ‘music

Dis-Orienting Rhythms: the politics of the new Asian dance music

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dis-orienting rhythmsDis-Orienting Rhythms: the politics of the new Asian dance music (1996, Zed books), edited by Sanjay Sharma, John Hutnyk and Ash Sharma.

This book writes back the presence of South Asian youth into a rapidly expanding and exuberant music scene; and celebrates this as a dynamic expression of the experience of diaspora with an urgent political consciousness. One of the first attempts to situate such production within the study of race and identity, it uncovers the crucial role that South Asian dance musics – from Hip-hop, Qawwali and Bhangra through Soul, Indie and Jungle – have played in a new urban cultural politics …” (Back cover)

To celebrate the landmark edited collection being published over a decade ago, the whole text and individual chapters are available to download as searchable pdf files: darkmatter journal


Written by sanjay sharma

11 Mar 09 at 8:52pm

Posted in culture, politics

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Noise of the Past

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Noise of the Past Presents

A poetic journey of war, memory & dialogue

A Premier Launch Event:

Screening of Unravelling – A film by Kuldip Powar, with original score by Nitin Sawhney

Performance of Post-Colonial War Requiem –  composed & conducted by Francis Silkstone

A Special Opening by Martin Bell – OBE, UNICEF Ambassador


Noise of the Past presents two new related commissions produced from a creative call-and-response method to cast a different light on war, colonial soldiers and the art of dialogue.

Unravelling (2008, 17 mins) is the result of a unique film-making process, creatively working with poetry, archive materials, visual art and music. Nitin Sawhney composed a new score in response to an original inter-generational poetic dialogue in Urdu between Sawarn Singh, a WWII Indian soldier who fought for the British in Burma, the Middle East and Africa, before moving to the UK, and his grandson, Kuldip Powar. Working with this haunting score Powar directed an evocative and searching film.

Francis Silkstone has also taken the inter-generational poetic dialogue as the source of inspiration for Post Colonial War Requiem, a new score to be performed in interaction with the phenomenal space of Coventry Cathedral. Benjamin Britten’s original War Requiem inaugurated the newly-built Cathedral in 1962, offering Remembrance without militarism. Though consciously inclusive, it did not reference the contributions of the (now former) colonies.

Saturday 8th November 2008, 7.00pm – 9.30pm

Coventry Cathedral, Priory St, CV1 5AB

(Nearest car park: Cox St, CV1 5LW)

Premier Launch followed by Q&A with film director Kuldip Powar and composer Francis Silkstone

A FREE Event & Reception

Unravelling will also be screened from the 11th – 23rd November 2008, The Herbert, Jordan Well, Coventry, CV1 5QP.

Pre-launch conference: War, Sound & Post-coloniality

Saturday 8th November 2008, 1.30 – 5pm

St Mary’s Guildhall, Bayley Lane, Coventry, CV1 5RR.

Speakers include: Alessandro Portelli (Rome), Les Back (Goldsmiths), Prabjot Parmar (Royal Holloway), Kuldip Powar (film director), Francis Silkstone (composer, Goldsmiths). Discussants: Gen Doy (De Montford); Said Adrus (UEL), Shirin Rai (Warwick University).

FREE – Register in advance, email:

Further details:

Noise of the Past Project Directors:

Dr Nirmal Puwar (Goldsmiths, University of London –

Dr Sanjay Sharma (Brunel University –

Written by sanjay sharma

26 Oct 08 at 12:09pm

Posted in culture, politics

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Telling Stories about Bhangra: A Short Review of the Soho Road to the Punjab Exhibition

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Some notes based on a talk I gave at the Bhangra Symposium, School of African and Oriental Studies, 15 Sept 2007:

I’m interested in how we can tell the story of Bhangra. The majority of accounts about South Asian life in Britain have been invariably reductive: either an immigrant story of doing ‘shit work’/racism or a predictable tale of community/exotic celebration

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Written by sanjay sharma

4 Oct 07 at 2:11pm

Posted in culture

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Mobilizing India: Women, Music, and Migration between India and Trinidad

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Review of Tejaswini Niranjana (2006) Mobilizing India: Women, Music, and Migration between India and Trinidad. London: Duke University Press.

Mobilizing India

This book rethinks diaspora and global modernities in the very considerations of the formation of Indo-Trinidadian music and identity. Tejaswini Niranjana’s wager is to

…contribute to the development of alternative frames of reference, so that Western modernity is no longer seen as the sole point of legitimization or comparison (Niranjana 2006, p.13)

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Written by sanjay sharma

24 Sep 07 at 12:49pm

Posted in politics

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