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Sunday April 21, 2024

Sheherazaad’s album ‘Qasr’ set to captivate audience tomorrow

By Our Correspondent
February 29, 2024
Sheherazaad. — Zayari Ray and YouTube/Erased Tapes
Sheherazaad. — Zayari Ray and YouTube/Erased Tapes

LAHORE:Following her critically acclaimed debut single "Mashoor" for Erased Tapes late last year, American composer and vocalist Sheherazaad unveils her forthcoming LP, "Qasr," produced by visionary artist and Grammy winner Arooj Aftab.

This five-track collection, set to captivate audience worldwide on March 1 (tomorrow) on Erased Tapes, marks a significant milestone in Sheherazaad's musical journey. Sheherazaad's heritage and artistic journey deeply influence "Qasr," which translates to "castle" or "fortress" in Urdu.

The album explores themes of displacement, the complexities of diaspora, and the struggle to reclaim lost cultural roots. These experiences are woven into a captivating soundscape that transcends genres and embraces the beauty of the "in-between," a space where cultural identities are constantly evolving.

The lead single, "Dhund Lo Mujhe" ("Search For Me"), features pizzicato fiddles and Sheherazaad's powerful vocals, creating a sense of urgency and unease. It explores the challenges and complexities faced by immigrants, particularly the pressure to conform to societal expectations. "With 'Qasr,' I aim to dismantle the idea of a single, monolithic Asian identity," explains Sheherazaad. "I want to celebrate the multifaceted nature of our experiences and empower others to embrace their own unique narratives." Sheherazaad's musical path has been a rich tapestry of diverse influences.

Born into an "art-centered, Asian-American household," she began her musical journey at a young age, absorbing the music of Lata Mangeshkar and RD Burman while also receiving formal training in jazz and American Songbook. However, a growing sense of disconnect from her cultural heritage led her to explore experimental theatre, Bollywood dance, and the emerging South Asian electronic music scene.

Seeking to reclaim her lost connection, Sheherazaad dedicated herself to studying Arabic, Hindi, and Urdu. This exploration culminated in her 2020 self-released project, "Khwaabistan," which caught the attention of producer Arooj Aftab. Their long-distance collaboration during the pandemic resulted in "Qasr," a groundbreaking sonic exploration featuring international musicians like Basma Edrees (Egypt), Gilbert Mansour (Lebanon), and Firas Zreik (Palestine).

"Qasr" is a powerful and evocative work that defies categorization. It is a testament to Sheherazaad's artistic journey and her unwavering pursuit of self-discovery. Featuring five tracks; Mashoor, Dhund Lo Mujhe, Koshish, Khatam, and Lehja, the album invites listeners to explore their own identities and forge their own unique paths.