Simin Tander new Quartet

Unfading (Jazzhouse Records)

With her beguiling new project „Unfading“ and a freshly formed quartet, German – Afghan singer Simin Tander opens a new door in her artistic journey. She allows herself to pursue new directions while also deepening her intriguing musical path. Rich songwriting and highly original song interpretations, both in Pashto and English and sung with a heart- opening intensity that is rare to find. Simin ́s unique approach to vocal improvisations remains another trademark of hers, creating her own language, far away from the usual scat-singing and full of life-enhanced freedom. The result is „hypnotizing (…) highly unconventional“ (*****Concerto),„with a mysteriously dark bandsound“ (****Jazzthetik) and „extraordinary beautiful“ (Norwegian Financial Times).

The most obvious change is Simin ́s entirely new band. With an unusual instrumentation and subtly passionate playing, Simin Tander’s “new quartet” creates a whole new sound that is both transparent and endlessly deep. Oslo-based and Indian rooted violinist Harpreet Bansal elegantly floats through the songs as a second voice, adding a contemporary echoe of ancient classical Indian music with her warm sound and Raga-tinged phrasing. Swedish electric bassist Björn Meyer (ECM recording artist), provides harmonious foundations and glowing atmospheric sounds through his highly original electronic effects. For his part, Berlin-based Swiss drummer Samuel Rohrer (ECM recording artist) displays his uncommonly sensitive and tasteful touch, with downtuned drums adding at times a dry, dark pulse to the music.

Simin Tander and her hand-picked musicians inspire one another, creating a touching intimacy. The captivating intensity that underlies Unfading has much to do with Tander’s emotional connection to the texts that she sought out for this album. Except for her almost sacred- like interpretation of Dylan ́s „The Times They Are A- Changin ́“ and the band ́s darkly- colored rendition of „Nana“, a Spanish lullaby, all lyrics stem from “inspiring women who are and were very strong and self-willed personalities within the scope of their culture and their time”. Texts from female poets in the Pashto language, both contemporary and from the 16th century, are juxtaposed with the poetry of Sylvia Plath, Gabriela Mistral and Tander’s own compositions and words.

She also boldly transforms an Afghan hit from the 1960s, integrating it into her own universe. An intertwined dramatic arc stretching across centuries connecting different creative women – with mature, evocative vocal power.

Although the music may verge on melancholy at times, Unfading as a whole conveys an undeniably positive, life-affirming attitude: „In the word ’Unfading’ and the whole album there is so much of my yearning to keep on moving” – for Tander ́Unfading ́ is an image and sound of an everlasting river that reveals itself again and again and keeps on flowing.

Reviews

„Die betörende Schönheit und tiefgründige Klarheit dieser Musik beglücken und machen einen fast schon sprachlos.“
Kölner Stadtanzeiger (Germany)

„Stunning, intriguing and hypnotizing, Simin Tander […] is extremely unconventional, creating a lyrical, often near-sacred mood.“
***** CONCERTO (AUT)

„…a breathtaking concert. (…) Simin Tander showed herself to be a musical high priestess who could not have done the female side of the arts a greater service.“
jazznu.com (NL)

„Unfading heisst nun das neue ganz grandiose Werk der deutsch-afghanischen Sängerin Simin Tander. Hier singt sie mit ihrer mal sanften, mal rauen, beinah hypnotischen Stimme zu einem dunkel geheimnisvollen Band (…).“
**** out of 4 Jazzthetik Magazin (Germany)

„The compelling magic of Simin Tander.“
Written in music (NL), concert review

„Extraordinary beautiful…captivating (…) uniquely sounding. When you hear Simin Tander sing, you will probably never forget.“
Norwegian Financial Times (NO)

Foto: Matthis Kleeb

Simin Tander – vocals, composition
Harpreet Bansal – violin
Björn Meyer – electric bass & effects
Samuel Rohrer – drums

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