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Yaatri Blend Sounds from The East and West Mellifluously on Debut EP ‘Reach’

The U.K. crossover jazz band’s five-track record was released last week

David Britto Apr 06, 2020

U.K. jazz crossover band Yaatri. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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After dropping their dynamic debut single “Waiting on the Sun” this past November, Leeds-based crossover jazz outfit Yaatri performed quite extensively across the U.K. The band played jazz festivals in Manchester and Liverpool as well as a Sofar Sounds set in their hometown. The group — comprising guitarist Liam Narain DeTar, vocalist Bethany Herrington, keyboardist Felix Bertulis-Webb, bassist Joe Wilkes and drummer Jona Tromp —  are now out with their debut five-track EP Reach.

The songs on the record were all written in 2018 at the time the band was formed. “I think it’s largely through writing and rehearsing this music that we figured out what Yaatri is and what we want to sound like,” says DeTar. Most of the band’s material stemmed from ideas the guitarist brought forward to the group. He says, “It was relatively slow-going at first as we were a group of people who had never played all together before.”

What Yaatri has presented with Reach is nothing short of a sonic delight. There’s complexity and diversity in the music with clinical execution resting on a bed of resilient grooves accompanied by Herrington’s impressive vocal range.

Reach opens with their 2019 offering “Waiting on the Sun” before moving into the otherworldly “Riddoem.” On “Dwob Dwob 2 (Forbidden Fruit)” and “Broken” we hear intricate guitar work which works well with the varied soundscapes the band creates on both tracks. The record closer, the eight-minute “Pick It Up,” manages to amalgamate and succinctly encapsulate the east-west combination. Also featured heavily across the record is New Delhi-based tabla player Zuheb Ahmed Khan who adds percussive flair to the tunes. “Zuheb’s tabla parts were added after the songs were largely finished,” says DeTar. He adds, “The lyrics on Reach, all written by Beth, explore the pressures of people and society, retrospectively processing experiences and states of mind to see the bigger picture.”

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The band recorded the EP in a single afternoon last March at Nave Studio in Pudsey. The session was engineered by Andy Hawkins who also mixed the tracks and was mastered by Dave Draper. Khan’s tabla parts were recorded at Mumbai’s Island City Studios.

Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, Yaatri have had to cancel the tour across the U.K. they had planned. The band are hoping that once things return to normalcy they can make up for lost time and rebook the shows. In the works is an animated video for one of the songs off the EP and also a limited number of vinyl records. DeTar says, “Holding something tangible that we spent a year working on is such a great feeling.” The group have also already laid down recordings for six new songs to feature on their forthcoming debut full-length album. “Expect more drum and bass, huge riffs, dirty rhythms and a lot of crazy sounds,” says the guitarist.

Stream ‘Reach’ on Spotify below and click here to listen to the EP on other platforms. 

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