Yorkston/Thorne/Khan Announce New Album “Navarasa : Nine Emotions” + Share New Song “Westlin’ Wilds”
At the heart of YTK’s transporting new album Navarasa : Nine Emotions is the Indian subcontinent’s navarasa; the nine (nava) emotions or sentiments (rasa) of the arts. This central unifying underpinning is a centuries-old organizing principle and directly connects an emotion to each song on the album: Sukhe Phool – Karuna (sorrow), The Shearing’s Not for You – Bibhatsya (disgust), Thumri Bhairavi – Raudra (anger), Westlin’ Winds – Adbutha (surprise/wonder), Song for Oda – Shringara (love/beauty), Theo’s – Hasya (laughter), Twa Brothers – Bhayanaka (terror/fear), Waliyan da Raja – Veera (heroism/courage), Darbari – Shantha (peace/tranquility).
The first track to be shared from Navarasa : Nine Emotions is “Westlin’ Winds,” which is paired with Adbutha (surprise/wonder).
“Westlin’ Winds” starts with the life-destroying Act I of Robert Burns’ poem Now Westlin Winds, (And Slaught’ring Guns) and transplants its disjoined, nature-extolling and life-affirming Act II onto Indian soil with a composition “in Purbi, a specific dialect of old Hindi. I learnt the song,” says Suhail, “by listening to various qawwali [Muslim devotional song] singers singing at Hazrat Nizammuddin’s dargah [shrine] in Delhi. Its source is Hazrat Amir Khusrau.” Thus, YTK unite one of the key spiritual visionaries and architects of Hindustani art music, the poet-philosopher Hazrat Amir Khusrau with the key literary visionary of Scottish and Scots-language culture, Robert Burns.
This bricolage of diverse cross-cultural elements is apparent across Navarasa : Nine Emotions, and all of what YTK create. James Yorkston weaves in Scottish folk, sangster and literary strands; Jon Thorne is grounded in jazz and groove; what the New Delhi-based, eighth-generation hereditary musician Suhail Yusuf Khan brings to this feast of pulses and cycles is northern Indian classical, light classical (thumri, for example) and Sufi devotional musical and literary forms. What binds these diverse musical strands together is, in James’ phrase, “a dark happiness.”