Performing for the first time with us is Shama Rahman, 12:35-13:05 Sunday. If she’s new to you/ you’d like a reminder, read on:
In her own words:
“British-Bangladeshi, UAE-born, Londoner and multi-instrumentalist Shama performs her album, ‘Truth BeTold’. The live album showcases Shama’s unique approach to sitar performance and composition, with electro-acoustic tracks seamlessly crossing genres including jazz, beat poetry, live electronica, psychedaelia, pop, hiphop, afro latin worldbeats, and Indian/Western melodies.
“Truth BeTold Official Music Video: https://youtu.be/hNSqymlXtQQ
“As the first artist-in-residence with the the groundbreaking mi.mu gloves, the album features it throughout; cutting-edge, wearable tech that allows the Shama’s movement to trigger sounds and effects as part of the live recording and performance, underlining her status as a ‘futuristic storyteller’. Her stunning immersive performance of the album at London’s Southbank with interactive visuals and dancers was a breath-taking avant-garde show, featured nationally on Channel 4.
“She is the first Sitarist to perform in Antarctica as part of the first Antarctic Biennale, featured in The Times and Radio 4’s Front Row She has performed internationally in Korea, Hungary, Croatia, Germany, Canada and the US, and nationally at Glastonbury, Bestival, BoomTown, Secret Garden Party, Green Man, and the Manchester and London Jazz Festivals.
“In my Line of Sight Official art/music video: https://youtu.be/HUMgBoe1rQo”
Her music has been championed by Songlines (4* Review: ‘The triumphant expression of a unique vision and inimitable sound’), Gilles Peterson (“Its Great. ‘In my Line of Sight’ is my fave”), the BBC, Wonderland (“You’re about to get goosebumps…With stunning melodies and a dream-like vibe, Shama switches between English and French vocals throughout the track to always keep us on our toes… absolutely gorgeous, prepare to have it stuck with you long after you’ve finished listening”, Songwriting Mag (‘Imagine DeadCan Dance and Björk getting together in a folk club, to make jazzy trip-hop records…with sitars.’), and Louder (‘An album by a singer-sitarist who’s also a scientist, neuro philosopher and actor, and dons wearable Mi.Mu gloves to trigger sounds by movement, is likely to be acutely cutting-edge. The sonic panorama stretches as far as the listener’s imagination, and then some.’)
Considering that one of my real joys in life is discovering new artists, this whole journey of blogging mostly artists who are new to me has been an immense treat. Shama Rahman is a musician whose says that her work starts as poetry and evolves into music, and it really shows. She sings in several languages, intent on exploring and extending her own bilingualism, and that treading of boundaries seems to be the key to her style. Her voice, not to get too hyperbolic, frankly reminds me of something like liquid light – high, preternaturally clear, with the kind of effortless-sounding flexibility that comes from countless hours of practice and training. It is a perfect complement to her sitar playing and – again, not to go overboard – I’ve never heard sitar-playing quite like it. Her music sounds absolutely like a blend of the best of Indian traditional, jazz, funk, latin, and folk music of various nations. It would fit as well in an old-fashioned French cafë as a world music convention as a film score as a modern nightclub. And for a synaesthete like me, it becomes an extra challenge to try to describe the sheer ribbons of colour flying off this music, as well as the incredible textures it draws over my palms and forearms. In other words, her performance is going to be perfect for an Glastonbury-early Sunday experience. And I haven’t even delved into the richness of the lyrics, painting their own pictures, telling stories that weave in and out of the music (or vice versa). She’s frankly a superstar in the making – catch her with us before she’s on much bigger stages in future festivals… It’s going to be glorious!