One to watch: Ganavya

The South India-raised, New York-born artist, who has collaborated with Sault and more, melds spiritual jazz, burbling electronica and a soaring voice

Of the many “wow” moments during Sault’s debut live show in London last December, one soloist floored everyone. Early in the evening, a woman in an ethereal white dress, alone under the spotlights, unleashed elegant, deeply moving vocal acrobatics that drew on south Asian classical traditions. She was performing a version of Monsoon’s 1982 UK hit Ever So Lonely, with improvised lyrics such as: “If I stand/ In the lessons of my mothers/ Let me sing.” (The audience did, with full attention.)

Many wondered who this beguiling presence was, whose voice had a delicate emotive heft that could turn stoics into sobbing wrecks. It was Ganavya Doraiswamy, a New York-born, California-based, South India-raised scholar and multi-instrumentalist. She has already worked on an album produced by Quincy Jones and collaborated with jazz luminaries including Esperanza Spalding but has only recently returned as an album artist herself. Doraiswamy was taught carnatic music by her mother and grandmothers, and learned storytelling techniques during a youth spent on southern India’s pilgrimage trail. She relocated back to the US, took up the first of many arts degrees and released her first album in 2018: Aikyam: Onnu, which translated jazz standards into her native Tamil.

Like the Sky I’ve Been Too Quiet will be released via Native Rebel Recordings on 15 March; Ganavya is at St Pancras Old Church, London, 13-15 March

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