Yorkston/Thorne/Khan will release their new album Navarasa : Nine Emotions on January 24th 2020. At the heart of YTK’s transporting new album is the subcontinent’s navarasa; the nine (nava) emotions or sentiments (rasa) of the arts. This centuries-old organising principle unifies the album and the three artists on this new collaborative output. On this record YTK have paired each song to one of these emotions, adding substance to the title.
Following their Neuk Wight Delhi All-Stars, released in 2017, Navarasa reveals the individual artistic emotions that range from Shringara (love, beauty) through Hasya (laughter, mirth, comedy), Raudra (anger), Karuna (sorrow, compassion or mercy), Bibhatsya (disgust), Bhayanaka (horror, terror), Veera (heroism, courage), Adbutha (surprise, wonder) to Shanta (peace, tranquillity). A stunning album of folklore and international culture on various levels, this new offering from YTK is a pignant acoustic one.
This sonic weave of diverse cross-cultural elements is apparent across Navarasa : Nine Emotions with the many unique instruments invloved in the recording of this record. James Yorkston brings Scottish folk and lyrical voices. Jon Thorne adds elements of jazz. The New Delhi-based, eighth-generation hereditary musician Suhail Yusuf Khan brings northern Indian light classical (thumri, for example) and Sufi devotional musical and literary forms. It’s fair to say that we often feel like we have ventured far whilst listening to a Yorkston/Thorne/Khan album and this one is no different.
Sukhe Pool kicks the album off with some dark discord before we hear the familiar The Shearing’s Not For You. A track that is strongly influenced by the sangster style of James Yorkston, there is a playful aspec to this released track. Thumri Bairavi has more of a darkened Eastern sound, improvised and less structured than some of the other tracks recorded on Navarasa. Westlin Winds takes us back to Scotland for more pathos, combining the double bass of Jon Thorne, Suhail Khan’s vocals and the impish guitar-playing of James Yorkston.
With the versatility in flavour and style, it is near impossible to get dulled by this collaboration. Lively and unpredictable throughout the nine tracks, the nine emotions, we feel that we have accurately covered, at least touched all nine. The North Carr is a delicately fraglie track that has all the feels of Led Zeppelin’s The Rain Song and then the guitar and ivories kick in, adding layers to this rich, instrumental song, a stand out on this diverse and adept album.
Navarasa: Nine Emotions will be out on 24th January 2020, via Domino Records.