New York composer, producer, and Son Lux guitarist Rafiq Bhatia has reinvented the title track of his critically acclaimed 2018 album Breaking English.
Originally wordless, “Breaking English” now features original lyrics and vocals by singer and songwriter Sam Dew (Rihanna, Wale, Mary J. Blige). Listen to the new version of “Breaking English”HERE.
Bhatia offers the following analogy for the feeling behind the music: “In August, I lost my grandmother. In Muslim funerals, there is a communal element in laying the deceased to rest. Dozens of mourners (family members, friends, and members of the congregation) all take turns as pallbearers, each shouldering the weight briefly before making room for the next person, singing in unison as the procession continues. It’s a teeming, resonant swarm helping to bear the final burden gently. (‘...a million other lights like me beside me and we’ll return again’)”
The origins of this collaboration can be traced to Bhatia’s 2018 instrumental LP Breaking English, a record that ruptures the hermetic vernacular of ambient sculpturalism with the emotional intensity of avant-garde jazz, using the techniques of the former to achieve the feeling of the latter. The album led the New York Times to describe Bhatia as “a guitarist who refuses to be pinned to one genre, culture or instrument.” Read more HERE.
In January 2019, Carnegie Hall announced that Bhatia has been selected as one of theKronos Quartet’s Fifty For The Future composers, joining the ranks of Henry Threadgill, Laurie Anderson, Zakir Hussain, Tanya Tagaq, Philip Glass, Jlin and many more as a part of this historic initiative. More information on that project is available HERE. Bhatia is also just coming off another European run with trumpeter Dave Douglas’ UPLIFT in a two-guitar format with Mary Halvorson.
Beginning March 1, Bhatia will be headlining select spring tour dates beginning at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts Boston and ending at Knoxville’s Big Ears Festival on March 22. Most shows will feature special live visuals custom designed by Michael Cina. All dates are listed below.
3/1 – Boston, MA – Museum of Fine Arts Boston
3/6 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
3/7 – Pittsburgh, PA – Andy Warhol Museum
3/8 – Oberlin, OH – The Sco, Oberlin College
3/9 – Toledo, OH – Peristyle Theatre at the Toledo Museum of Art
3/10 – Indianapolis, IN – Newfields: A Place for Nature & The Arts
3/15 – New York, NY – The Kitchen
3/22 – Knoxville, TN – Big Ears Festival 2019
6/28 - 6/30 - North Adams, MA - Solid Sound Festival