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Samia Malik’s dynamic, evolving working practice encompasses music, visual art and education. Asking challenging and important questions about our common humanity, Samia’s work has enthralled audiences from the UK to India.
Samia writes and performs songs based on traditional Urdu Ghazal (a highly refined union of poetry with music) extending and subverting the form to explore contemporary issues around identity, race and gender. She has collaborated with acclaimed world-class musicians, writers and artists including Baluji Shrivastav OBE, Mallika Sarabhai, Guiliano Modarelli, Kishwar Naheed, Seemab Gul, Al MacSween, Sukhdeep Dhanjal, Sianed Jones, and Cris Cheek. She has released three albums: ‘The Colour of the Heart’ (1998) ‘Jaago – Wake Up’ (2004) and Azaadi: Freedom (2017). Samia is also a visual artist, mainly working in painting and video - her live shows are supported by projections of her original visual art.
Born in Saudi Arabia to Pakistani parents, Samia has lived in the UK since she was a child. Samia began training in North Indian classical vocal with the eminent ‘sitarist to the stars’ Baluji Shrivastav OBE in 1989. From 1996 she toured extensively throughout the UK and internationally in Europe with her band Garam Masala, featuring Sinead Jones on violin and harmonium, cris cheek on clarinet and bass guitar and Sukhdeep Singh on tabla, with support from the Arts Council and Eastern Arts Board. In 2003 and 2004 Samia collaborated with the acclaimed and controversial Indian classical dancer/actress Mallika Sarabhai and an international troupe of dancers through the Darpana Academy of Performing Art, based in Gujarat, India, on a new show based on her songs. 'The Colours of the Heart', supported by funding from the British Council, toured 12 major cities of India, including controversial and history making performances in Kashmir.
Taking a break from performing these intensely personal songs, Samia explored the possibly more universally understood language of the visual by completing a second degree in Fine Art, focusing on painting and video. In 2016 she toured her new solo autobiographical show show Azaadi: Freedom, an Urdu/English narrative told in her original songs performed live over a pre-recorded soundtrack with projected translations and her original visual art. With financial support from The Arts Council, Samia delivered 11 performances nationally in the UK, inviting Bharatnatyam dancer Anne Tiburtius to join her on three dates. As part of Azaadi: Freedom Samia delivered solo performances and songwriting sessions in women’s organisations such as Southall Black Sisters, The Angelou Centre in Newcastle, Asha Projects in Streatham and Humraaz in Blackburn.
In 2017 Azaadi: Freedom toured with a live band composed of world class ‘sitarist to the stars’ Baluji Shrivastav OBE, the ‘exceptional and versatile’ multi instrumentalist Sianed Jones and virtuoso tabla player Sukhdeep Dhanjal. With live VJing of Samia’s visual art, translations and films by London based Pakistani filmmaker Seemab Gul, lighting design by David Abra, and choreography by Linda Shanson, Azaadi: Freedom toured Bradford, London, Harwich, Cambridge, Norwich, Southburgh Festival, Night of Festivals in Leicester and Folk East. Samia also ran songwriting workshops in women’s organisations and refuges as part of the tour and launched the accompanying new album Azaadi: Freedom with a 32-page full colour art booklet containing songs, words and images from the show. This album is available as a digital download.
Azaadi: Freedom and Samia’s personal story, reflected in the show’s narrative, created a buzz within Asian and mainstream media and extensive radio and print coverage included live performances on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Asian Network. Samia now has an extensive bank of audio and visual material, wide experience of delivering live performances and workshops, as well as a proven track record of producing and delivering high quality cross cultural art which resonates powerfully with diverse audiences.
Currently Samia is collaborating with Guiliano Modarelli, Al MacSween and Sukhdeep Singh to deliver a new show, premiering at The Norwich Arts Centre on Tuesday 6th March 2018. She is setting up to tour again with this new line up in 2018 and 2019, as well as delivering an extended tour of performances and workshops in women’s organisations.