Milap

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Catching up with Jasdeep Singh Degun

Earlier this year, British sitarist, composer and SAMYO alumni Jasdeep Singh Degun, performed his celebrated debut album Anomaly at Liverpool’s The Tung Auditorium.

Breaking down cultural boundaries with his extraordinary artistry and innovative approach to composition, Jasdeep Singh Degun brings a new energy and vision to both Indian classical, and contemporary music. He’s redefining genres and is passionate about exposing music from his heritage to audiences across the globe. 

Having spent much of his time developing as a young musician with Milap, first as a member of SAMYO (the UK’s South Asian Music Youth Orchestra) and later as a member of Tarang, the Indian music band, Jasdeep’s return to Liverpool was particularly poignant. 

Kaviraj Singh (santoor), Jasdeep Singh Degun and band / Opera North

Jasdeep continued to flourish as a soloist for many years, with Milap presenting many of his concerts across the North West; most recently in October 2019, Milap presented the debut performance of Anomaly to a sold-out audience at London’s Southbank Centre.

Anomaly was built on the Leeds-born virtuoso’s unique command of both Western and Indian classical traditions, and was written and recorded under the mentorship of Nitin Sawhney. The album’s twelve tracks range from shimmering high-wire sitar solos to lush, string-laden cinematic excursions. The album places the sitar – the Indian stringed instrument made from gourd and wood, dating from the Mughal Empire – in innovative and thrillingly contemporary settings.

Jasdeep Singh Degun and band in the Howard Assembly Room / Opera North

Ahead of his UK tour, we recently caught up with Jasdeep to discuss his time at Milap and his links to Liverpool. Here’s what he had to say…

“My history with Milap dates right back to before the beginning! I first got involved before I had started playing sitar, so I must have been about 13 or 14. Then I joined Samyo, Milap’s National Youth Orchestra for Indian Music, and through to my early 20s I was involved in all the annual summer schools in Dartington, in the Lake District and in Liverpool itself. I went on to join the senior ensemble, Tarang. 

When I was still in the process of creating my album, Anomaly, Milap worked with me on a concert in the Purcell Room in London’s Southbank Centre. It was the first time we’d brought the whole ensemble together; Anoushka Shankar, Sukanya Shankar and Nitin Sawhney were in the audience, and it sold out. It was a really important milestone on the way to realising the album, and Milap’s involvement was an acknowledgement of the support that they’ve given me throughout my career.”

Jasdeep Singh Degun performs Anomaly at The Southbank Centre / Milap Archive

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