MUSIC – Shama Rahman to create pioneering performance at Southbank Centre

Shama Rahman (4)

On Tuesday 24th May, the award-winning composer, singer and sitarist will perform her new album ‘Truth BeTold’ while wearing mi.mu gloves; the first time this cutting edge, gesture detection tech has been used to bring together music, visuals and dancers in a fully immersive, interactive performance.

Shama Rahman will perform her new album ‘Truth BeTold’, live at the Alchemy Festival at The Southbank Centre on Tuesday 24th May at 6pm. The performance represents the first time that the mi.mu glove system, a cutting edge, wearable technology, has been used as a centrepiece, allowing intuitive human movement to bring together music, visuals and dancers in an immersive, interactive performance.

Shama Rahman describes herself as a “storyteller from the future”, and her ambitious project underlines that description, offering a glimpse into the future of live music performance. Mi.mu gloves were developed by a team of musicians, scientists and technologists, led by the musician, Imogen Heap. Rahman’s forthcoming performance at Southbank Centre is by far the most complex example yet of how they may change the world of live performance.

“The gloves sense your movements, allowing you to trigger samples and control music parameters directly with gestures,” says Rahman. “So the movements can be choreographed into a form of dance, leading and led by music.”

’Truth BeTold’ was recorded completely live, with both electronic and acoustic elements, and is the first ever full album to use mi.mu gloves throughout. The live performance of this album will also be something completely new, using the mi.mu gloves as a centrepiece, allowing for free form improvisation. For example, aside from simply using the mi.mu gloves to trigger sounds and effects on her music, Shama will interact directly with the dancers and visual artists (she will be creating Real Time Generative Visuals) to change the music via the mi.mu gloves and build a creative storytelling loop. This kickstarter page gives a full insight into the performance.

Shama Rahman juxtaposes the traditional and the forward-thinking. She is an accomplished sitarist, skilled in classical Indian music, yet takes this instrument across genres, highlighting its versatility with jazz, electronica, dub, world beats and more. She is a story-teller who embraces artistic expression in various forms, while also holding a PhD in the Neuroscience of Musical Creativity and a position as the first ever artist-in-residence for mi.mu.

“Technology is advancing every single day, and that means music is too,” she says. “I’ve studied this first-hand for my PhD in Neuroscience of Musical Creativity. That has made me want to push all creative boundaries as far as they will go. I know that my live interpretations of this album could open many doors and make people think about the future of music. That’s where I want to be.”

On her last album, ‘Fable:Time’ Shama was championed by the likes of Gilles Peterson, Tom Robinson, BBC Introducing, BBC3’s Lopa Kothari, BBC London, BBC Asian Network, The Arts Desk and more. Her new album, ‘Truth BeTold’ is due for release on 1st August. It’s a transformative journey told through personal life experiences of childhood, finding identity through revolution, love, disillusionment and hope. Individual tracks travel across genres and are skilfully weaved together with interludes of spoken word, poetry and instrumentals.

Shama is also behind Jugular Productions, a production company that combines science and performance, and regularly runs entertaining, immersive performances, events and educational workshops, including at festivals such as Secret Garden Party, Wilderness, Green Man and more. The album is a genre-spanning mix of music and tech, however this added experience as a creative producer in cross-disciplinary events, will allow Shama to also bring elements of theatre, live visuals and dance to the album performance at the Southbank Centre.

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