It was the music album that inspired our name. Nitin Sawhney's "Beyond Skin" remains as significant today as it was 20 years ago,
“In this year where Brexit negotiations, political turmoil and chaos have brought issues of identity, nationality, race and religion into focus once more, the themes of Beyond Skin are more relevant than ever. Featuring a host of talented musicians and guests, the show will seek to not only recreate and reflect upon the journey of the album, but also forge an unforgettable event that marks Britain’s most culturally challenging year for decades.” Nitin Sawhney
"The album had a huge impact on my soul which is clearly evident as to what I have dedicated most of my life to since. It was a combination of the brilliant music, subject matter and the album sleeves notes that moved me. As the album explores and expresses identity that goes beyond boxes and stereotypes, the paradox was that it gave my vision an identity. It is amazing that all the relationships, innovations, artist development & employment, social enterprises, collaborations, community development, peace building work - all the tens of thousands of souls we have touched and influenced in Northern Ireland and beyond, originated from this album." Darren Ferguson (Beyond Skin organisation founder)
Nitin Sawhney is one of the most distinctive and versatile musical voices around today, achieving an international reputation across every possible creative medium. With over 20 studio albums to his name, including solo albums, film soundtracks and compilations, he has received a substantial wealth of major national and international awards for the work including the Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement award.
Nitin Sawhney's third album on Outcaste Records, 'Beyond Skin' was released in September 1999 and portrays Sawhney's reflections on British Asian identity and the pressing need for human beings to be recognised beyond religions, nationalities, politics and skin colours. The album focuses largely on the theme of nuclear weapons; Sawhney states in the booklet that the album "has a timespan that runs backwards", beginning at Broken Skin with the India-Pakistan nuclear situation and ending at Beyond Skin with Robert Oppenheimer quoting the Bhagavad Gita – "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds" as he breaks down in tears. The album was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2000.
My identity and my history are defined only by myself - beyond politics, beyond nationality, beyond religion and Beyond Skin." Nitin Sawhney
Nitin has announced a number of shows celebrating the 20th anniversary of Beyond Skin. Royal Albert Hall, London 26th September. National Concert Hall, Dublin 30th September. Casa Da Musica, Porto 5th November and Centro Cultural De Belem, Lisbon 6th November.
"Broken Skin" (Sanchita Farruque, Nitin Sawhney) "Hope falls softly from your hands. Dreams burn deep beneath the land. Time casts shadows overall. Sweating fever, rain or river Brushing winds beneath your call. Broken skin, distant fear. Shattered worlds of endless tears. Hidden fires, distant lies. Buried hopes beneath the cries. Broken skin, distant fears. Silent lips, so far, so near Silence, it is every hope apart .Two flames burn deep beneath one heart. Teardrops flow faster with the tide. Raging over calmer waters. As the timeless land divides. Broken skin, distant fear. Shattered worlds of endless tears. Hidden fires, distant lies. Buried hopes beneath the cries. Broken skin, distant fears. Silent lips, so far, so near"
"The Pilgrim" (Sawhney, Spek) "Life is like a puzzle not pieced yet. Might take a village ever long to see that. Don't break your ties, meet my pal compromise. And the kid you want to be, you can be that. If I could, I'd solve the problems of the world that exist. If I could always chill, I would without resist. If you weren't so literal, brother you might get it. Pack my bags, tambourines, and jeans so don't sweat it"
"Immigrant" (Sawhney) "You burn my flame within your hands. You know when my destiny falls. This time has insecurity. I feel, makes me restless inside. Will you take me there. To a distant place I've never been before. I could leave this world. I could follow you like oceans to the shore. You could take me there. Make the rivers of my mind flow to my dreams"
"Nostalgia" (Sawhney) "One day perhaps we will come back to this country and bring our children to show them you know. And what we had to sacrifice to be in that country you know.. But I think in the initial state that we had a lot of struggle. But with god's grace and his kindness we are okay now and our children are okay as well. Dreams, dreams, dreams, dreams. I can feel your dreams, dreams. I can see you. I can touch your memories .But I can't hear you"
"Beyond Skin" (Sawhney) – "The gadget turned the pre-dawned sky as bright as the sun as the first atomic mushroom cloud rose above the horizon. We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the lines from the hindu scripture, the bhagavad gita. Vishnu was trying to persuade the prince that he should do his duty. And to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.