Nitin Sawhney (raised in Rochester, Kent, England) is a london-based composer and dj of various styles of music, including jazz, drum and bass, hip-hop, flamenco and modern orchestral compositions. His major works include Beyond Skin, Prophesy, Human, and Philtre. He is considered one of the pioneers of what is known as the Asian Underground music scene, defining a music genre that mixes south-asian musical influences with western electronica and breakbeat style. He does however dislike the tag of “world” music, describing it as musical apartheid.
Nitin attended Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School and studied law at Liverpool University for a short time. He then went to London, where he met Sanjeev Bhaskar. The pair became friends and created a comedy double act, The Secret Asians, together. The show sought to turn absurdly dated Asian stereotypes on their heads. It led to a contract with BBC radio and eventually grew into the award-winning BBC TV sketch show Goodness Gracious Me.
During that time he met up with an old school friend, acid jazz keyboards-player James Taylor. He joined Taylor for a 40-date tour in as part of The James Taylor Quartet. It introduced him to the jazz club scene and provoked him into forming his own band, The Jazztones. He moved on to join forces with tabla master Talvin Singh to form the Tihai Trio and, after that collaboration ended in 1993, released his debut album, Spirit Dance on his own label. Shortly afterwards, he signed with Outcaste Records.