Shiva Shambo

By , 27 December 2015

Shiva Shambo
Shiva Shambo

I decided to skip my run and go back to the Beatles Cathedral to jam on my violin. It was the perfect place to escape into the world of music. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when an hour or so later who should walk through the entrance but Hannah, carrying a guitar and accompanied by some other Swedish friends.

We were like moths drawn to a flame, and that flame was music.

The abandoned ashram had enclosed domes on the tops of the buildings. You could get in by climbing through the top. They were dark, hot and stuffy but had awesome acoustics. I joined Hannah and her friends to jam in the darkness.

It was the first time I'd improvised with a group on violin. We had a violin, a guitar, three male vocals, one female vocalist and bits of wood and styrofoam for rhythm. Hannah's voice is a lot like Bjork's and she has a particular talent for improvising lyrics. We played a dark eerie piece with a contrasting bouncy melody. The music was carried by the setting, Hannah's floaty voice and the deep male vocals.

It was pretty epic really.

After an hour or so of jamming we climbed out of the domes, sweating. Hannah and I fell into our circling pattern again. Although we were now seriously thinking about each other, our time was up. Travelers don't get forever to make up their minds. We kissed goodbye and she called out her Facebook name as she disappeared down the road.

It was Hannah ... something.

I never realised how beautiful her voice was until months later when I listened to a recording of our jam session in the ashram. Amongst the files I copied from her recorder was this one of her singing Shiva Shambo solo. I'm listening to her sing now.

How do you describe in words the beauty of a voice?

Her voice slides from note to note. She has a breathy onset but it is a deception and draws you into the nucleus of the syllable. She flits into the escape notes with such finess you hardly realise you heard the note. Then when she changes key you think you are listening to another singer. It is like she has four voices in one. She floats from one voice to the next, overlapping them seamlessly into the flow of the music.

Listening to her sing makes you want to roll into a ball and block out the rest of the world.

Shiva Shambo

About Roger Keays

Shiva Shambo

Roger Keays is an artist, an engineer, and a student of life. He has no fixed address and has left footprints on 40-something different countries around the world. Roger is addicted to surfing. His other interests are music, psychology, languages, the proper use of semicolons, and finding good food.

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