Earlier this year, when there was still a chill in the air, I saw Baltimore composer and producer Ami Dang perform in Brooklyn as part of a duo called Raw Silk. Knelt on a low stage, Dang played the sitar and sang, while her bandmate accompanied her on an electronic cello. The unspoken dialogue between the two musicians was almost physical, the sounds they commanded meeting and merging in the air like plumes of smoke. I found out afterwards that Dang also has a solo project, for which she places her Indian classical music training into an experimental electronic context. This July 29, Baltimore label Friends Records will release her debut album Uni Sun, which includes the sensual yet urgent "Udeekna."
"I wrote 'Udeekna' when I was trying to figure out how to be more true to myself," Dang told The FADER over email. "I was struggling with understanding what I expect of myself versus what my community expects of me. 'Udeekna' means 'to expect' in Punjabi, my family's mother tongue, and the lyrics in the song explore the variations of this notion — what to expect of yourself and of others, and also, what to expect in the tangible world as you walk down a path. It's sort of like saying, 'What are you waiting for? If this isn't enough, then go out and get what you want. Make something of yourself. Don't let others determine if you succeed or fail; it's up for you to decide.' This is one of the many of the songs on Uni Sun that is about self-determination, which I feel is pretty topical right now. If you don't like the way things are, go out and make change! You can't expect to be OK with whatever comes your way."