PRS-Talent Development Network 2024 (TDN)

South Asian Arts-uk (SAA-uk) is a Leeds-based centre of excellence and talent development hub committed to supporting artists rooted in the traditions of South Asian music and dance, and facilitating contemporary expressions of the same since 1997.

Our goal is to create a space for artists whose practice is rooted in South Asian music and have little or no opportunity to develop their practice, create, record and present new work, and equip them with skills and life-long learning which enable them to realise their potential.

Initially, talent spotting was done organically, looking at the development of young musicians within our academies and at the work of creatives in the local community. Today we maintain the spirit of this approach, providing regular opportunities for artists from any walk of life rooted in South Asian music, to present and perform their work through SAA-uk's Performance Programme. We maintain an open-door policy, and we mentor and support artists at all stages of their career, using our expertise to help shaping new concepts, overcome challenges, fundraise, and seize opportunities to share and amplify their outcome with wider audiences.

Since joining the TDP in 2021, we have developed a more structured Talent Development Programme. Whether that is through our expertise in connecting music creators with other artists from the same or a different tradition, supporting fundraising activities towards a specific project or development of one's artistic practice, or by providing the opportunity to connect with a receptive audience, we continue to support artists in the creation of works that engage and reflect diverse global communities in 21st Century Britain.

The wraparound support we offer, which has recently begun to include music recording and touring opportunities on a national scale, has benefitted numerous artists and ensembles in the past two decades – some notable examples of this are Roopa Panesar, Sukhmani Rayat, and Jasdeep Singh Degun.

SPOTLIGHT is our talent development programme that shines a light on underrepresented creators rooted in diverse South Asian music who want to explore new expressions and challenge perceptions. SPOTLIGHT is also a space for composers, lyricists and musicians to come together creating a confluence that is reflective of an evolving present, leading to new musical expressions. 

This year, as part of the PRS-TDN partnership, we are producing Travel Light is a new live music commission that celebrates the 300th anniversary of pioneering civil engineer John Smeaton. Inspired by John Smeaton's iconic Eddystone Lighthouse, Travel Light will be a musical journey that spans continents, tracing the trade routes of the 18th and 19th Centuries from Britain to India through the music of southern Europe, Africa and the West coast of India.   

 Animated by a powerful blend of music, song, and visuals Travel Light explores the light and darkness of lighthouses, the unique patterns of their beams and their symbolic power of exchange and integration, exploitation, and hope.

An exceptional team of international musicians will bring to life stories of ‘power, pepper and people' from the lives of the lighthouses along the trade route, in modern-day Cape Verde, South Africa, Portugal and India, in this brand-new commission.  

‘Travel Light' is commissioned for Smeaton300 by SAA-uk and Foxglove, generously funded by Arts Council England.   
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Read more about our SPOTLIGHT Commissions below!


Shining a light on underrepresented music creators of South Asian art forms


Our second year partnering with The PRS Foundation to support and enable South Asian talent

SPOTLIGHT 2021 (Part 1): Global Stories

Supporting diverse artists to share the stories that they want to share

SPOTLIGHT 2021 (Part 2): Making It My Own

Developing the next generation of young UK-based Indian classical musicians

SPOTLIGHT 2021 (Part 3): Sialkot to Cyprus

Exploring Indo-Greek culture through innovative musical collaborations

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