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South Asian Sounds Festival attracts megastars for inaugural festival

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South Asia’s finest musical stars are set to perform at the first South Asian Sounds Festival at London’s Southbank Centre. From the 7th to the 10th March, a stunning programme of both classical and contemporary South Asian music features some mega stars of the South Asian music scene such as The King of Bhangra, Malkit Singh MBE and genre-defying musicians Jason Singh and Sarathy Korwar whose concerts have been curated by Asian Arts Agency.

The South Asian Sounds Festival has been developed in coordination with the UK’s leading South Asian booking agencies, including Bristol-based and globally renowned Asian Arts Agency. Its special programme provides a snapshot of the diversity of South Asian music including the King of Bhangra, Malkit Singh, beatboxer and DJ, Jason Singh and avant-garde jazz musician, Sarathy Korwar.

The King of Bhangra Malkit Singh Golden Star

Malkit Singh MBE Golden Star takes to the stage for South Asian Sounds’ Friday night’s premiere event at the Royal Festival Hall. From ‘Outstanding Achievement’ at the Brit Asia TV Music Awards to being honoured on Birmingham’s Walk of Stars, Malkit Singh is a performance and recording icon.

Vocal performances that shot Malkit Singh to extraordinary heights of 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.

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New Soundz: Jason Singh & Sarathy Korwar

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-up to Asian Arts Agency’s well-received and attended New Soundz festival which took place in Bristol in November 2023.

The star musicians for this final performance are exceptionally talented 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.

“Asian Arts Agency has been promoting artists, curating events and developing new talent from across the globe for over fifteen years” comments Director Jaswinder Singh. “The Southbank Centre is known for innovation and cultural diversity and it is an honour to have our artists participating in the Southbank Centre’s inaugural South Asian Sounds festival this March. For the first festival edition, we are focusing on presenting some of the best of British Asian artists including crowd favourite, Malkit Singh and his high-energy performance to the more ambient sound style of Sarathy Korwar and the upbeat beats of Jason Singh, we are confident that our artists will provide something for everyone attending. Given our international and national work, collaborating with Southbank Centre is a significant step for our work and we’re excited to see how audiences will react.”

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