I have always sung. I have always written. Now you are part of my journey, that beautiful moment when others listen.

David Kidman, a reviewer who gets it:

Suffice to say first, that it’s a really interesting disc, one that catches the senses at once and doesn’t let go for its whole length. And it’s evident that Salwa’s a true individual, with a distinctive outlook and expressive method that neither seems to reference any other songwriter nor sound like any other artist. ….. Salwa’s responsible for all lyrics and music on the album, and she sings with the greatest confidence and conviction, generally in a quite gorgeous and deliberately enunciated tone (you can hear every word), with the odd (surprising) ululatory outburst along the way (the close of Fighter).
– David Kidman, Fatea Magazine Jan 2015

Bit of Bio info:

I’m an ethnic mix, so I grew up listening to a lot of classical and world music which has heavily influenced me. I only started listening to folky music a year or so ago ironically. My style is a mix of folk and singer-songwriter but I feel it comes from somewhere more primal than all of the labels which is why I sometimes find it hard to fit into genres.

Started with the clarinet and piano at 5, and was composing things from then, graduated to largely self-taught guitar at 14, picked up a ukulele finally at around 29, loved it and Matt from the Duke of Uke suggested a different tuning to normal which I continue to use to this day as it allow me a more guitar-like freedom with the instrument.

An operation to remove a benign tumor in my salivary gland meant I had stroke face for a while in my early 30’s, the fear of that – of losing my ability to sing or speak properly – finally pushed me into doing the music that I have always written, out loud, outside the comfort of my bedroom. I vowed if I regained my facial muscle control, I would start gigging, so at age 30 after a bit of a long convalescence, I started to do small open mics, mostly with @earmusicgigs (Thanks Joel!)

The worst gig experience I ever had was playing an empty “venue” that was really not somewhere people went unless they went to see a band they liked play much later in the evening. It had cowboy saloon style bathroom stalls next to the stage…and no door to the bathrooms. Because there were just saloon doors when people went to go to the loo with the open top and bottom, I had just started singing a song, when this stench wafted over to me so bad I was choking on my words as my eyes watered. Managed to finish the song but I just thought, that sums this venue up really. No-one here, and someone’s just done a massive shit in the middle of my set. The struggle of all unknown artists- Thank you London.

I perform solo, but it’s not through lack of trying to get a band together, for some reason I seem destined to do this alone as band members fall through whenever I’ve managed to find people interested. At least for the album I was lucky enough to find some great collaborators who lent me their talents. However I always see layers in my music, and it would be nice to perform with at least a cello and percussion because my vision is so much greater than my solo ability, and I don’t want to rely on samples or loop stations if I can help it. I want people to feel every drum beat in their solar plexus, a bit like what I would imagine going to a Dead Can Dance concert might have felt like if I had managed to see them live.

This is turning into a little bit of an essay. Luckily my songs are succinct, even if I, am not. x

1 Comment

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  1. Hi Salwa. Richard Williams in Bristol put me onto you. Can you do a lunch time gig June 9th? 1.10pm to 1.55pm. We can pay cheap travel (e.g. Mega bus) from london, give you lunch and an appreciative audience. check out http://www.saint-stephens.com, the venue and email me bigbromo at yahoo.co.uk asap. thanks David Mowat

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