The sarangi is a bowed, short-necked Indian instrument whose greatest exponent, Ustad Sabri Khan, performed with Yehudi Menuhin. Now, his grandson Suhail Yusuf Khan continues the sarangi experiment in this Indian-folk-jazz fusion band, with Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist James Yorkston, and double bass player Jon Thorne. It’s a wildly varied set that starts with a 13-minute improvised, mostly instrumental piece that switches from gently wailing meditation to a furious and frantic workout, scat vocals and then a bluesy finale. Next comes a quirky, Indian-edged treatment of Ivor Cutler’s Little Black Buzzer, which would have amused the Incredible String Band and features Yorkston on Swedish nyckelharpa and additional vocals from Lisa O’Neill. Then there’s a reworking of Lal Waterson’s poignant Song for Thirza, a powerful lament from Thorne, a spiritual song from Khan, and a delicate, guitar-led instrumental. Bravely original and worth checking out.
Robin Denselow is a journalist and broadcaster who specialises in music and politics. He is the author of When The Music's Over, a history of political pop