Sa, meaning “to breathe”, is the debut album by Melbourne based Punjabi-Australian vocalist Parvyn, released independently on the 4th of September 2021. Sa is also the syllable used for the first note of the Indian raga system, a tradition which Parvyn draws from and interweaves with her deeply personal songwriting and rich, dark production.
While it is her debut as a solo artist, Sa represents the culmination of Parvyn’s journey as a vocalist from performing Sikh devotional music around the world in her father Dya Singh’s ensemble to fronting cult Bollywood psychedelica band The Bombay Royale. Sa marks a new chapter in Parvyn’s evolution as an artist and sees her as the master of her own musical destiny, representing the synthesis of a lifetime of work and experience.
As a songwriter, Parvyn explores themes of perception and reality, love and family. Throughout Sa she explicitly reflects on her own struggles with mental health issues, growing up in Australia with immigrant parents and navigating having a young family of her own. Parvyn sings in both Punjabi and English and her range as a singer is almost impossibly broad. She easily swings from deftly executing virtuosic Indian classical ideas to delivering disarmingly personal lyrics to ethereal improvisations and tonal landscapes. The voice and the songwriting are the threads that bind this diverse record together.
The album draws on a broad palette of styles and moods from the garage-esque bounce and 808 bass of What You See to the layered, looped choir-like Anchor and virtuosic vocal improvisations of Jara. Guest musicians on Indian and Western instruments including bansuri, piano, violin and sitar lend acoustic timbres and fluidity to beds of beats, synthesizers and loops reminiscent of British Asian Underground and world-pop artists like Nitin Sawhney and Sheila Chandra. Across it all, Parvyn’s vocal presence is commanding and Sa is a powerful statement of intent from an artist stepping in to her power.