10-06-2024 Music 74

The Shadow Majlis - Swallowed By The Sky

The Shadow Majlis - Swallowed By The Sky

Toronto-based artist The Shadow Majlis [pronounced "mahj-lis"] presents 'Swallowed By The Sky', a song that takes flight on powerful emotions - a song rooted in love and remembrance. A powerful taste of the debut album 'The Departure', produced and mixed by three-time Grammy Award winning producer David Bottrill (Peter Gabriel, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Tool, David Sylvian, Mastodon, Smashing Pumpkins, Muse, Real World Studios),

Led by multi-instrumentalist Ali Jafri, this project fuses elements of Eastern modes with post-punk. An alternative neo-global style that transcends borders, Jafri's artistic and musical vision was realized with David J (Bauhaus, Love & Rockets) on bass and Rakesh Tewari (Jaffa Road, The Special Interest Group) on drums and percussion.

Calling the album a powerful achievement, David J says, "I believe that there are certain tracks and moments that act as portals into another dimension - I'm not being fanciful here!"  Earlier, the released videos for the singles  'Deer in the Headlights' and 'Mazdur'.
Perhaps known as a member of David J's live band or for playing rock-sitar with Pigface, Ali Jafri also leads projects ARIEL, The Gotham City Drugstore and Saintfield, in addition to his his solo work. Engineered by Darren McGill and mastered by Noah Mintz, this album features cover art by Stephen Seto (Splintercage).

The album features numerous guest performers, including vocalist Olena Tsybulska (DakhaBrakha), guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite (The Mission, Peter Murphy, MGT, Tricky, Gary Numan), cellist Anne Bourne (Loreena McKennitt, Jane Siberry), Tuvan throat singer Soriah, Ravi Naimpally (Niyaz, Constantinople) on tabla, Pankaj Mishra on sarangi, Selmanpak Ayduz on ney, Kerem Koktas on kemanche, and Sasha Singer-Wilson on backing vocals.

The Shadow Majlis produces poignant and powerful music that stems from tragedy. Amid a deluge of personal upheaval, this album has been Jafri's means to address his grief over losing his seven-year-old son Oisín, who lost his nine-month battle with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (a highly aggressive form of brain cancer) in September 2022, not to mention the dissolution of his conjugal relationship and a year-long state of temporary homelessness.

Ali Jafri explains, "This song is about how Oisin and I would lay on the grass and stare up into the sky and we’d imagine that all the clouds were actually terrain and we were looking down at it and then we’d feel a falling sensation. I found that “falling into the sky” was a good metaphor for death, but “Swallowed by the Sky” has a better ring to it. This song recalls the fun we had and how it can be played with to signify dying."

Showcasing genre-fluid excellence and raw emotional experience, The Shadow Majlis merges alternative music with the rich, diverse instrumentation and rhythms of world music. Recorded in Toronto, LA, Portland, Istanbul, Kyiv and Iceland, this is truly an international affair, with languages such as Urdu, Farsi, Arabic, Icelandic and Ukrainian woven with English throughout this album.

'The Departure' album is out now, available everywhere digitally, including Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp. This album's creation was made possible through funding received from FACTOR.

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