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AZAADI: FREEDOM 2017 ALBUM AND TOUR
Azaadi: Freedom is a culmination of 25 years of Samia’s work both as a singer/songwriter and a visual artist, distilled into an hour-long narrative journey told through songs and visual art. Azaadi: Freedom toured across the UK in 2016 and 2017 and is also available as an album - Samia is now further developing the show. Here is the background:
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. Taking an extended 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 Baluji Shrivastav OBE, Sianed Jones and 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 again ran songwriting workshops in women’s organisations and refuges as part of the tour and launched the accompanying new album Azaadi: Freedom 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.
Standout tracks’ are ‘truly moving original Urdu ghazals saturated with birha – melancholic longing’ Amardeep Dhillon Songlines
‘In a world where we are becoming more attune to divisions, ‘Azaadi’ in fact celebrates difference, individualism and originality’ Aisha Farooq DESIblitz