Three years ago, a music video surfaced on Youtube featuring loud, raucous Tamil ‘kuthu’ beats, something that would seem like an opening shot to a mainstream hero-centric feature film. Right as the camera pans up to the face of the protagonist, you see a bold and brazen Naveeni, aka Navz-47 emerging from an auto, dressed in a local Tamil lungi, a shirt and dapper looking aviators. The track titled Pattasu or fireworks is just as power-packed, electrifying and genre-bending in every sense.
As a Tamil voice representing the diaspora in the global arena, with a moving story to share, we take a look at the artistic trajectory of Navz-47, one of the freshest, most exciting voices to emerge in the Tamil hip-hop space in recent times.
Naveeni Athanasious Philip who goes by the moniker Navz47 is a Sri Lanka-born, Canada raised rapper, singer and songwriter who has created waves with her distinct voice and groovy persona that intersects Tamil and western culture. Navz was born to Tamil parents who fled Jaffna at the peak of Sri Lanka’s civil war and restarted a new life in Canada when the singer was just 10 years old.
With a fading memory of what home back in Sri Lanka was like, Navz began to piece together bits of culture from her mother, Nanthini who was a Tamil RJ and was an active part of the local Tamil community in Canada. The family even had a strong ‘no English and no french at home’ rule that allowed the artist to stay true to roots and origins. Navz found her affinity towards her mother tongue so powerful that she began to develop her artistic persona surrounding the nuances of the language and culture.
Pattasu was one of the first few tracks from Navz that shot her to fame amongst the Tamil community that was still reeling under the creative prowess of Tamil hip-hop contemporaries such as hip-hop Tamizha and more. The music video ushered in a refreshing new facet of the genre in the Tamil language that had so seldom held a space for female artists undertaking powerful and bold roles.
This paved way for exciting collaborations for Navz, ones that featured Shan Vincent De Paul, Santosh Narayanan and other diaspora icons such as Cartel Madras, Rolex Rasathy, and more. Her music reached the more commercial Tamil audience through film songs, in which she has been an active collaborator.
Navz and her Tamil identity as represented on her social media shine bright and stand alone for more reasons than one. Her identity not just weaves itself into her music but in all her creative forms of expression, including her fashion sensibilities that are avant-garde, distinct and a refreshing take on contemporary Tamil culture.
You can follow Navz musical journey here.
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