Yorkston/Thorne/Khan’s “False True Piya”

Yorkston/Thorne/Khan (James Yorkston, Jon Thorne and Suhail Yusuf Khan) aren’t ones for time wasting. Though tied to individual projects, the genre-fusing trio have released two studio albums in quick succession and set their stall with comparable pace on new track False True Piya, each breezing into the track’s enticing introduction within a matter of seconds. The song develops a fantastic characteristic in its opening passage, one that many folk-rock and acid-folk tracks have; a sense of familiarity that’s brought about whenever a drone and modulated rhythm, in this case from Suhail’s sarangi and Yorkston’s heavy picking respectively, is present. The song, and indeed the group’s sound as a whole benefits from their varying musical backgrounds, with Yorkston’s organic vocals in stark contrast to Khan’s learned melodies.

The sound of Khan’s sarangi will be one familiar to fans of The Beatles’ late sixties work, notably the creations of George Harrison, which incorporate most faithfully the traditional Indian music he endeavoured to study. It’s the sarangi’s brother instrument, the duruba, which features prominently around the vocal melody of Within You, Without You, providing that recording with a flavour and vitality also present on False True Piya. Suhail Yusuf Khan’s two solos illuminate the instrumental passages of the song, divided by his emotive second verse. Bassist Thorne expertly fills the available spaces, showing the same restraint that Danny Thompson had, which gives the notes that are played a greater conviction. Simple and natural, the song is a glowing example of cross-cultural collaboration from which music has greatly benefitted in the days since Indian music’s first injection into Western popular music.

Watch the video below and stream Neuk Wight Delhi All-Stars, an album described as ‘Top drawer’ by Guardian Music, in the related media pane.

Catch Yorkston/Thorne/Khan at Band on the Wall on 8th June 2016.