This episode is a conversation between Essential Blends host, Kevin Leomo, and musician, performer, researcher, and activist, Diljeet Bhachu.
Recorded in Glasgow, August 2022. Diljeet and Kevin discuss:
- exploring sound, relationship with and embodiment of your instrument; connecting with your instrument; physicality of playing
- the concept of the whole self; unpacking all the layers in order to fit in and be a different person in different contexts
- growing up with cultural difference, layers of awareness, sense of belonging, assimilation culture
- parallel histories
- layers of awareness; seeing and critically understanding race
- enjoying the process of making music, not the product
- coloniality and decolonising
- positionalities; bringing lived experience into research and PhD work
- teaching experiences
- spoken word
- what makes a creative practice
- daytime performance; care
Diljeet Bhachu is is an improvising flute player from Glasgow, Scotland. She is currently engaged in a long-term process of unlearning some of the limitations of her training, leaning into imperfection and process. Her improvised playing has been described as “Stunning, transporting to dream realms of music and restfulness…” (Bell Lungs). Diljeet completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 2019. It was during her doctoral research that she gained clarity on how race and colonialism are embedded in her life and her working contexts, following years of informal work and activism to address inequalities.
Diljeet has been writing music on and off since childhood, largely informally before being introduced to ‘composition’ as a concept in high school. She is now engaging with this more pro-actively and formally, most recently writing pieces for the new Trinity College London Graded Exam Flute Syllabus for Exams from 2023 onwards. She has plans to record an improvised EP in 2023, and is also developing a more composed concept album. Diljeet enjoys collaborating, and in particular working with poets both in live and recorded settings. She also performs regularly in Kapil Seshasayee’s live band, and features on both of his albums.
Diljeet has been a trade union activist for over a decade, alongside a portfolio career that has included freelance research, teaching in higher education, and being an arts producer. She co-founded the Scottish-Asian Creative Artists’ Network in 2017, to create space for Scottish artists with Asian heritage whose practices do not explicitly or directly draw on Asian artistic traditions, alongside those who do work within heritage traditions. Shortly after recording this podcast, Diljeet started working for the Musicians’ Union, where she is an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer.
- “For me it means something if people feel they identity with it [SCRAN] and identify with the fact that there’s space to just be who they are.”
- “Say what’s on their minds without fear.. We’re never going to get past conversations about inequality and oppression if people – especially when we’re talking about dynamics of privilege and power. People are never going to say what they really think unless they feel safe enough to do it”
- “Creating space for being to just be as they are and acknowledging that the audience is an essential part of a performance – it’s about mutual respect… doing away with the performance etiquette”
- Diljeet’s Twitter & Instagram
- Scottish-Asian Creative Artists’ Network
- Glasgow Mela
- Rianna Walcott – The Colour of Madness: Mental Health in Race and Technicolour
- Jess Brough – Fringe of Colour
- Sarah Hopfinger – Pain and I, Edinburgh Fringe 2022
- Flutetronix – Nathalie Joachim & Allison Loggins-Hull
- Lisa Fannen – Faultline
Featured image photo credit: Sean Patrick Campbell