Samrai has this week [June 30] shared their debut album, ‘Work & Roti’.
With its title stemming from a phone conversation from the DJ and producer’s mum – who features on the opening track, reflecting on first generation Punjabis travelling to the UK but only “going to work and eating roti” with little chance to travel until their later years – the full-length EP is bound together by the inclusion of South Asian percussions.
Rhythms such as Tabla, Dholak, Kanjira, Dhol and Mridangam are also used throughout, both implicitly and more obviously.
The project too explores the complexity of migrant experiences, negotiating feelings of healing, self love and care, reciprocity and connections to the Earth.
“This release feels like the beginning of a new chapter for me, personally and spiritually, exploring themes close to my heart,” Samrai explains. “It’s the coming together of my love of electronic music and South Asian rhythms collaborating with friends, mentees, educators, facilitators and artists I’ve met at workshops, in raves, on residencies and through mutual connections.”
Across the eight tracks, those involved include SCAPA, Vindya, Vikaash Sankadecha, Pops Roberts, Shanique Marie, LINTD, Gavsborg, Joey B, Fox, Raheel Khan, Thai Chi Rosè, Chesqua and Deepikaa Sreenivasan.
Each artist, through their contribution, works with Samrai to deal with difficult subjects, whilst invoking senses of joy, playfulness and release.
The record is housed on Samrai’s new label, Sangha Industries. The name draws upon the artist’s mother’s maiden name, originating from the village Kala Sanghian in East Punjab. The label, Samrai notes, looks to prioritise releasing the work of migrant and Global Majority communities.
‘Work and Roti’ is available now, check it out here.
Niamh Ingram is Mixmag’s Weekend Editor, follow her on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins