Friday 31 March 2023

Jasdeep Singh Degun releases single Aapki Khushi with Ashnaa Sasikaran from Opera North and South Asian Arts UK's Orpheus

Opera North and South Asian Arts UK's production of Orpheus was one of the runaway successes of last year. Based on the opera by Monteverdi, but featuring both Western classical and Indian classical performers, the production mixed Monteverdi's music with that of award-winning Leeds-based sitarist and composer Jasdeep Singh Degun, with Degun as co-music director of the performance alongside classical musician Lawrence Cummings.

Now, part of the opera has been released as a single on Peter Gabriel's Real World Records. Aapki Khushi 'Your joy is my joy' was written for young British Tamil singer Ashnaa Sasikaran by Degun. Sasikaran played Euridice in Orpheus and was the first thing Degun composed for the opera; in the song/aria Euridice expresses her love for her new husband, Orpheus.

The lyrics were translated from the original Italian text of the opera and rewritten by Degun’s sitar teacher Ustad Dharambir Singh and Orpheus percussionist Shahbaz Hussain. The string arrangements for the song are by Ashok Gupta, the Orpheus ensemble's assistant music director and harpsichordist.

Though the piece might feel distinctly contemporary, the song is rooted in the ancient musical tradition of Indian classical raags that composer and singer share. Aapki Khushi is on YouTube and can be downloaded [LinkTree]

The video features Ashnaa Sasikaran - vocals, Kirpal Panesar - esraj, Vijay Venkat - flute, R.N. Prakash - kanjira, Kayam Hussain - tabla, Glenn Sharp - guitar, Deepa Shakthi & Jasdeep Singh Degun - backing vocals, Céline Saout - harp, Cristina Ocaña Rosado & Susannah Simmons - violin, David Aspin & Katie Jarvis - viola, Liz Hanks - cello, Damián Rubido González - double bass, with music by Jasdeep Singh Degun, and string arrangements by Ashok Gupta.

Jasdeep Singh Degun in the control room, Aapki Khushi session, Chairworks Studio Castleford (Photo Opera North)
Jasdeep Singh Degun in the control room, Aapki Khushi session, Chairworks Studio Castleford (Photo Opera North)

Jasdeep Singh Degun will tour his debut album Anomaly in the UK and Europe in May and June. Like Orpheus, it is built on his command of both Western and Indian classical traditions, and I can highly recommend it. Full details of the tour on his website.

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