How one Dewsbury woman is on a mission to reclaim the night sky

Dewsbury-based artist and mentor, Supriya Nagarajan, is campaigning to reclaim the night sky with her new album, Posse of Fireflies.

By Jessica Barton
Wednesday, 13th July 2022, 2:00 pm

With roughly 90 per cent of the world’s population, as of 2022, unable to see the Milky Way at night, Supriya’s album aims to reclaim the night sky from light pollution by asking the public to turn off their lights.

The album, which has taken Supriya one year to produce, attempts to recapture the memory of her homeland's luminous, dark skies.

The album provides a first for world music by combining the sounds of South India with an electronic palette to recreate the fireflies that illuminated Supriya’s childhood 30-hour coal train trips from metropolitan Mumbai to rural Madras.

Dewsbury-based artist and mentor, Supriya Nagarajan.

Fifty-five year old Supriya said: "One of the things that happened during lockdown is that I had the time and the energy to reflect on my younger ages and my life.

"In a way it gave me the leisure and the space to actually think about my life.

"I looked back on all the journeys I had made, some which I made as a child, across India and it always fascinated me that the rural countryside was buzzing with fireflies at night.

"Now, because of light pollution everywhere in the world we don't see fireflies or notice them as much.

The album is set to be released on August 15.

"Lockdown in a way brought these memories back and I wanted to create a piece of music that explored the idea of our night skies and how our ancestors learnt from the night sky and how we don't as much any more.

“I want people to open their ears and listen because the album is unique in the sense that it has a blend of instrumentation and Indian vocals that I haven't heard in this country before.

“I really want people to sit back, forget about the language or lyrics and just absorb the feel of the music - it is meant to be a meditated journey.”

As well as being a carnatic artist and mentor, Supriya is also the CEO of the Dewsbury based arts organisation, Manasamitra.

Manasamitra is an artist-led organisation helping bring Eastern musical traditions to the UK with more than 40 local artists receiving support from all flavours of styles and disciplines.

Eager to pass on her wisdom, Manasamitra also runs a national PRSF funded mentoring programme for female artists to help them overcome barriers that Supriya herself faced many years ago.

Supriya’s new album, Posse of Fireflies, will be released on August 15, which also commemorates Indian Independence Day.

To purchase a digital version of the album after August 15, visit https://manasamitra1.bandcamp.com/

Physical copies will also be made available for £19.99.