The artist and her ensemble nudge at the margins of the genre elevating timeless lyrics into new and unexpected territory.
On the heels of her chart topping CD From the Ancient Storm, singer songwriter and Renaissance woman Simrit this month releases Songs Of Resilience a lush tapestry of devotional poetry and mantra music employing cello and rolling percussion. The tracks are dusted generously by the gorgeous kora, a stringed lute-like instrument which hails from West Africa. The kora is played like a harp and sings in a similar fashion. Blending the three instruments with her dramatic vocals, Simrit transforms 16th-century Gurmukhi hymns into sublime soundscapes.
Working in concert with veteran rock and Americana producer Paul Mahern (Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Iggy Pop), on Songs Of Resilience the artist and her ensemble nudge at the margins of the genre elevating timeless lyrics into new and unexpected territory. Ever simmering are Simrit’s roots – the mystical Byzantine music of Greece which featured prominently in her childhood. The CD opens with Prithri Hai and its tribal-like drum roll. Simrit’s fluid vocals then layer atop the song’s predictable percussion. And, then sounds the strings and that gorgeous kora. The results are hypnotic.
The artist also grew up listening to dreamy rock stars like Hope Sandoval (aka Mazzy Star), singer-songwriters such as Jeff Buckley, the folk goddess Loreena McKennitt, roots reggae, and world music from the Mediterranean to the Indian subcontinent. On Clandestine, a song in which she departs from Gurmukhi, Simrit sings, “I look, and can’t be seen. I listen, and can’t be heard. I reach, and can’t be grasped.” In these poetic threads you can hear traces of the many shoulders on which she stands.
With repeated listens the tracks stay fresh, and only further illustrate the thought that went into all of the songs’ arrangements. While there is a repetitive nature (characteristic of kundalini chants) to many of the tracks on Songs Of Resilience, each song glistens with a fluidity – a quality which results from the added layers of strings and Simrit’s enchanting vocals which toss pleasant curves to the listener. Destined for the top spot on many a playlist is the standout Song of Bliss which is reminiscent of a Native American call to worship with its opening (unplugged) chanting. And, the quieter Sat Narayan, which closes out Songs Of Resilience, is another gem featuring a gentle tambourine accenting and understated arrangements of strings supporting Simrit’s transcendent voice.
For Simrit, singing is not a performance, it is a sacred worship of the Divine. Her voice, her music, and her teaching, reflect this devotion which seems to come from her so effortlessly.
“For Simrit, singing is not a performance, it is a sacred worship of the Divine. Her voice, her music, and her teaching, reflect this devotion which seems to come from her so effortlessly. This devotion is a gift, a talent beyond any, that will lead thousands into the lightness of being and awareness that is so vital to humanity in this day and age,” from Snatam Kaur in praise of her contemporary.
Songs Of Resilience crosses over and begs to touch a wider audience. As Simrit embarks on her upcoming Global Unity Tour, she will likely look to these live performances to widen her circle of listeners. Soothing, haunting, brimming with mystery and groove… the songs on the artist’s new release make perfect companions for both fluid motion and absolute stillness. It is a unique collection of music that so eloquently befriends both. Follow Simrit’s tour and learn more about the artist’s music on Facebook.