Exploring Approaching Empty beat-by-beat with Arun Ghosh

To celebrate the upcoming two-week stream of Ishy Din’s Approaching Empty, Composer and Sound Designer on the show and our good friend, the sublime Arun Ghosh, has put together a #TamashaTrax playlist featuring its tracks and inspiration. Here he tells us why he chose those exact tracks. Over to you, Arun!

 

Arun Ghosh. Photo by Emile Holba

Most of the music in the show was specially composed, and I used a lot of traffic that I’d recorded around the place. But I chose my songs carefully for the interval and dotted through the production.

The interval started with:

Roots Manuva – Soul Decay

Such a moody intro, leading into a power play between 2 and 3 beats in the rhythm. Unnerving. The lyrics are so fitting for Approaching Empty – capitalism (in the form of drug deals), business gone wrong, friendships breaking down over money…it’s all there. An amazing song.

Approaching Empty. Photo by Helen Murray

James Brown – The Boss

I play this in the interval too, get the audience feeling good. This song’s hard as nails though…Raf paid the cost to be the boss, dedicated all his energy to the business, maybe losing a lot on the way. Nas samples this on Get Down – which tells the same sort of story.

Approaching Empty. Photo by Helen Murray

The Stone Roses – Fool’s Gold

I play this classic as the audience are coming back in from the interval. Again the lyrics say it all; Gold’s just around the corner, Breakdown’s coming round the bend. I think of Approaching Empty as a morality play….Fool’s Gold tells the same sort of story.

Approaching Empty. Photo by Helen Murray

Sean Paul – Gimme The Light

Didn’t use this in the show…but I imagine Sully, one of the drivers, blasting this out on his way to a job, thinking he’s cool as…

Approaching Empty. Photo by Helen Murray

Linton Kwesi Johnson – Inglan Is A Bitch

Our national poet is here talking about the Jamaican experience working in London….but I reckon Raf and Mansha would feel the same way as steel workers, and then getting laid off: “fi di laas fifteen years dem get mi laybah, now awftah fiteen years mi fall out a fayvah”

Approaching Empty. Photo by Helen Murray

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Mahya Pardest Hogiya (My Love Has Become A Stranger)

The King of Qawwali! I use a snippet of this in the show…and I imagine Mansha and Raf listening to Nusrat together in happier times.

Approaching Empty. Photo by Helen Murray

The Beat – Stand Down Margaret

Approaching Empty is structured all around the death and funeral of Margaret Thatcher, and her ideology and legacy totally sums up the difference between Mansha and Raf. This song, from 1982 is one of the best anti-Thatcher songs. RIP Rankin Roger.

Approaching Empty. Photo by Helen Murray

Chris Rea – The Road To Hell

I thought I’d include this cos Chris Rea is from Middlesbrough, just like our Ishy. The lyrics are quite fitting actually, and weirdly enough I can see Raf quite liking this one if it comes on the car radio.

Approaching Empty. Photo by Helen Murray

Arun Ghosh – Ode To The Martyrs

This is a piece of mine from my album A South Asian Suite ; it closes the show…you’ll see why when you watch it.

Approaching Empty. Photo by Helen Murray

 

About Arun

Arun Ghosh is a British-Asian musician and composer.

Twice awarded ‘Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year’ at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards, Arun leads his own ensembles, touring nationally and internationally. He has released four albums on camoci records: Northern Namaste, Primal Odyssey, A South Asian Suite and but where are you really from?

As a composer for theatre, Arun has contributed scores and sound design to an extensive array of productions over a twenty year career.

Arun has been regular collaborator with Tamasha; Approaching Empty was his fifth production for the company, having previously scored and designed Child of the Divide, Blood, My Name Is and Made In India.

Since the lockdown in March, Arun has been looking after his three sons, composing for film projects and working on a new album, due to be released in 2021.

Follow Arun on Twitter

Approaching Empty: web stream is available to view on our Facebook and YouTube channels from 7.30pm 21 July until 7.30pm 4 August. Presented by Tamasha, Kiln Theatre and Live Theatre.

 


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