Sarathy Korwar: Musician in Residence, UAE

We’re delighted that percussionist Sarathy Korwar will be travelling to the United Arab Emirates to perform and exchange ideas with local musicians as part of a special residency in partnership with the British Council and PRS Foundation. 2017 is a year of creative collaboration between the UAE and the UK.

Sarathy was chosen by industry experts from an incredible shortlist of musicians and will make more than one trip to the country, spending time in Dubai and the capital, Abu Dhabi as part of the residency. He will work with several organisations including The Fridge, an independent promoter and agency who run live and studio space, and The Arts Center at New York University Abu Dhabi. Both will provide invaluable insight and connection to the UAE music scene.

Bill Bragin, Executive Artistic Director at The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi can’t wait to get started: “[We’re] committed to presenting world class artists who explore cross-genre and cross-cultural hybrids, and Sarathy Korwar is exactly the kind of musical explorer we embrace. His commitment to musical invention by drawing on deep musical heritages and putting them in conversation with one another speaks to the polyglot nature of both NYUAD and the UAE as a whole. We look forward to him being a presence on campus to connect with our students, as well as on our stages to connect with our public audiences.”


Meet Sarathy Korwar

Born in the US, Sarathy Korwar grew up in Ahmedabad and Chennai in India. He began playing tabla aged 10 but was drawn to the American music that he heard on the radio.

At 17, Sarathy studied tabla under the tutelage of Rajeev Devasthali, translating his skills to the Western drum kit and playing as a session musician. He then moved to London, where he trained as a classical tabla player under the guidance of Sanju Sahai and graduated with a MMus in Performance from SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies).

In 2015, Sarathy was awarded the Steve Reid Innovation Award to make his debut album. The award included a talent development bursary from PRS Foundation and mentoring from the Steve Reid Foundation’s trustees: Four Tet, Floating Points, Gilles Peterson, Koreless and Nick Woodmansey (Emanative). Day To Day was released on Ninja Tune in 2016 and fuses traditional folk music of the Sidi community in India (combining East African, Sufi and Indian influences) with jazz and electronics.

“I feel incredibly honoured and grateful for this opportunity to spend time collaborating with musicians and artists in the UAE,” said Sarathy. “I’m looking forward to creating new music that embraces a complex and composite identity and challenges pre-existing ideas of traditional and contemporary music.”


Musicians in Residence

“I’m delighted to be extending our residency programme with PRS Foundation into more countries,” said Cathy Graham, Director of Music at the British Council, citing the success of the ongoing Musicians in Residence, China programme that the British Council began with PRS Foundation back in 2011 which has seen artists including Imogen Heap, Jamie Woon, Mira Calix, Oliver Coates, Anna Meredith and Emmy The Great immerse themselves in the music of China. “We’re thrilled to be working with the very talented Sarathy,” she added, “who will be exploring the UAE in all its tradition and modernity, and connecting with its diverse communities. We look forward to experiencing Dubai and Abu Dhabi culture through his eyes, ears and new music.”

Vanessa Reed, Chief Executive of PRS Foundation was also delighted to have Sarthy on board: “Congratulations to Sarathy Korwar on being selected for this new residency in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. This is a unique opportunity for Sarathy to create music with communities he may not otherwise have been able to collaborate with. I'm very much looking forward to hearing the outcomes from the residency and following the impact it has on the next phase of Sarathy’s career.”


UK/UAE Creative Collaboration

The creative economy is a growing rapidly in the Emirates. The UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration, developed by the British Council, will build on this with a host of cultural activities across arts, literature, education, society, sport, science and trade. It will showcase the diverse talent in both countries and promote new cross-cultural collaborations and offer opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships across culture, business and society. Find out more about the UK/UAE programme here.

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Musicians in Residence