WEAVING MY
ANCESTORS' VOICES

 

 

 

 

   


John:

"Nada Brahma", right was an obvious exception but, any of that going to start coming into the live performances, do you think?

Sheila:

Umm, at the moment, I don't think so because it's - I really wanted a vehicle to show off the very subtle huances in voice, which you often don't get to hear. At Womad, for instance, I was listening to Mouth Music and I heard them play their sets several times and then there was words of one of the songs in Gaelic that I wanted to check out with one of the singers and she was singing it to me on the bus and I just - it was amazing. She was twice as good as she could, you know, she sounded on stage because, simply because there were instruments in the way, and because this music is written, really to explore the finest parts of these techniques, then in the immediate future, I don't see that happening. The other reason why I've tended to go more towards solo voice is because the business structures and the amounts of money involved. When you start getting into really big lush productions - I mean, I had the luxury of that with Monsoon because we were on a major label, but that resulted in Monsoon being pushed to be more commercial and that was the kind of pressure that I didn't want as a solo artist. Which is why I've not released any singles throughout my solo career and been very stubborn about the business. I've never been managed - I negotiate my own contracts and so on. So there is a - I think people don't necessarily realise that there is often, you know, a business element to the reasons why an artist will go in a certain direction, particularly if they wish to be uncompromising.

John:

Yeah, and hence the little hiatus that you took a couple of years back?

Sheila:

Yeah, between when I was retired, when I was 20, as you was saying until I was 24 or so. Yeah, that was also partly to do with the fact that I'd been, because I'd been working on a children's drama serial from the age of 13 to 16 that essentially, from the age of 13 to 20 I'd been in the adult world. In a way, representing my community because there was so other, few other people, accessible Asians to do that and I really felt I needed a time to sort out all the reflections that had been pushed back at me and making sure that my own path and identity was going to come through all that.

John:

Well obviously there's been a lot going on in the last couple of years.

I guess the piece we're going to round out with is probably, at least to me, the most Indian sounding on the CD and that's "Bhajan" which is - that's like a devotional song right?