This week, award-winning composer, singer and sitarist Shama is to release her genre-spanning EP, ‘Truth BeTold’ (16 March). It offers a flavour of what lies ahead with her groundbreaking album release of the same title set for release later this month (March 23). The album was recorded live and features the use of groundbreaking wearable technology. Truth BeTold takes the listener on a transformative journey, told through personal life experiences of childhood, finding identity through revolution, love, disillusionment and hope. These experiences are sonically and lyrically embodied through water forms such as playful creeks, melting river flows and the terrible, calm beauty of the sea. It is thematically arranged into three chapters reflecting Sufi poet Rumi‘s questions: ‘Is it True?’, ‘Is it Kind?’, ‘Is it Necessary?’ Listen to the EP in full below.
Previously championed by the likes of Gilles Peterson, Tom Robinson, BBC Introducing, BBC3’s Lopa Kothari, BBC London, BBC Asian Network and more, Shama has raised the bar once again with ‘Truth BeTold’. More than just a collection of songs, the album is a continuous flow of music and spoken-word interludes backed by sitar soundscapes. For the interludes she took inspiration from the beat poets of the 60s such as Allen Ginsberg. The result is a wonderful, genre-bending opus, illustrating an artist confidently reaching new musical and storytelling heights.
Shama comfortably takes her sitar out of the traditional context, demonstrating a versatility rarely heard. This can be heard on her EP from the innocent, happy childhood chimes of ‘Choto Meye (Little Girl)’ to the standout title track ‘Truth BeTold’, dreamy track with trip-hop vibes and a Bjork-like quirkiness. Switching between English and French vocals, while mixing traditional and contemporary melodies, this track has a truly international sound, while also offering the strongest nod towards the metaphysical filter of Shama’s Sufi leanings. The effect of the mi.mu gloves, as part of the futuristic live performance, can be clearly heard as part of the vocal intro on this track.
‘In My Line Of Sight’ explores the sound of jazz improvisation and crunchy, sub- Saharan, Ethiopian-esque electronic guitar sounds. The album’s water themes are lyrically most apparent in this track, with different stages of love represented by analogies of a river, lake and the sea. ‘Personal Grey’ is the ballad of the album, with Shama using the sitar to give a new twist on Western melodies.
Shama performed ‘Truth BeTold’ live at the Alchemy Festival at The Southbank Centre in London in May. This avant-garde performance broke through the boundaries of live performance, delivering a breathtaking show. The mi.mu glove system was used as a centrepiece, allowing for freeform improvisation and direct interaction with dancers and visual artists, to create a futuristic storytelling loop; a stunning, immersive and interactive glimpse into the future of live performance.
An accomplished sitarist (studying under the tutelage lineage of Ravi Shankar), Shama is an artist who deserves attention; a storyteller who embraces artistic expression in all its forms. Alongside her music, she is a successful actress, holds a PhD in the Neuroscience of Musical Creativity, and is the founder of award-winning immersive science, performing arts and educational company, Jugular Productions. This openness to experience, creativity and the world around her is reflected in ‘Truth BeTold’.
This EP and her forthcoming new album should see Shama recognised as a truly individual and uniquely talented artist.
The ‘Truth BeTold’ EP is released 16 March, the album of the same title will be available as a standard 11 track album and a deluxe 16 track version featuring the full set of interludes.
Pre-Order Truth BeTold via Bandcamp
Shama will play the following live UK dates:
March 16th – Birmingham, Actress & Bishop
March 17th – Bolton, Bolton Socialist Club
April 4th – Album Launch London, Sebright Arms
May 18th – Alternative Great Escape, The Great Escape, Fierce Panda / Fandango curated stage
August 10 – 10th August: BoomTown Festival, Hampshire (same stage as Gilles Peterson and Vels Trio)