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Home > British Council and PRS Foundation announce new music creator residency in the United Arab Emirates to coincide with the UK/UAE Year of Creative Collaboration

British Council and PRS Foundation announce new music creator residency in the United Arab Emirates to coincide with the UK/UAE Year of Creative Collaboration

Musician Sarathy Korwar to undertake residency in the United Arab Emirates selected from strong shortlist nominated by independent experts.

The residency will take place in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The immersive programme will allow Sarathy Korwar to work in collaboration with local partners to create new music and reach a new international audience. While in the UAE he will work with organisations including The Fridge, an independent promoter and agency who run live and studio space; and New York University Abu Dhabi Arts Center. Both will provide local market intelligence and an essential gateway into the Dubai and Abu Dhabi scenes.

The residency will afford opportunities for performance, collaboration with local artists, insights into local culture and society, and introductions to influential local and regional music contacts.

Born in the US, Sarathy Korwar grew up in Ahmedabad and Chennai in India. He began playing tabla aged 10 but was drawn to the American music that he heard on the radio.

At 17 Sarathy studied tabla under the tutelage of Rajeev Devasthali, translating his skills to the Western drum kit and playing as a session musician. He then moved to London, where he trained as a classical tabla player under the guidance of Sanju Sahai and graduated with a MMus in Performance from SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies).

In 2015 Sarathy was awarded the Steve Reid Innovation Award to make his debut album. The award included a talent development bursary from PRS Foundation and mentoring from the Steve Reid Foundation’s trustees: Four Tet, Floating Points, Gilles Peterson, Koreless and Nick Woodmansey (Emanative). His debut album ‘Day To Day’ fuses traditional folk music of the Sidi community in India (combining East African, Sufi and Indian influences) with jazz and electronics.

The UK/UAE residency takes place following the success of the British Council and PRS Foundation’s Musicians in Residence China programme, which began in 2011 and has so far seen musicians including Imogen Heap, Oliver Coates and Mira Calix take part. Musician in Residence UK/UAE is a one-off initiative for 2017.

Sarathy Korwar said: “I feel incredibly honoured and grateful for this opportunity to spend time collaborating with musicians/artists in the UAE. I’m looking forward to creating new music that embraces a complex and composite identity and challenges pre-existing ideas of traditional and contemporary music”.

Cathy Graham, Director of Music at the British Council said: “I’m delighted to be extending our residency programme with PRS Foundation into more countries. We’re thrilled to be working with the very talented Sarathy, who will be exploring the UAE in all its tradition and modernity, and connecting with its diverse communities. We look forward to experiencing Dubai and Abu Dhabi culture through his eyes, ears and new music.”

Vanessa Reed, Chief Executive of PRS Foundation said, “Congratulations to Sarathy Korwar on being selected for this new residency in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. This is a unique opportunity for Sarathy to create music with communities he may not otherwise have been able to collaborate with.  I very much looking forward to hearing the outcomes from the residency and following the impact it has on the next phase of Sarathy’s career.

Bill Bragin, Executive Artistic Director at The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi said: “The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi is committed to presenting world class artists who explore cross-genre and cross-cultural hybrids, and Sarathy Korwar is exactly the kind of musical explorer we embrace. His commitment to musical invention by drawing on deep musical heritages and putting them in conversation with one another speaks to the polyglot nature of both NYUAD and the UAE as a whole. We look forward to him being a presence on campus to connect with our students, as well as on our stages to connect with our public audiences.”

The creative economy is a rapidly growing sector in the Emirates. Building on this the programme of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration, developed by the British Council alongside a wide range of British and Emirati partners, will be rich in cultural activities featuring events and projects in the arts, literature, education, society, sport, science and trade.

The season’s year-long programme will showcase the diverse talent in both countries, igniting new cross-cultural collaborations and deepening the opportunity for mutually beneficial partnerships across culture, business and society.