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Today, migration seems to be encoded into everyday habits. As so many of our minds and bodies aggressively globalise in unprecedented ways, previously fixed "genres" and identities of any kind are constantly being dismantled, made redundant, and born anew. It"s from this space of flux that American composer and vocalist Sheherazaad derives song. the Album "Qasr", was engendered during a time of family estrangement, grief over a lost elder, and the racial polarisation of her country as she knew it. Translating to "castle" or "fortress" in Urdu, Qasr is indeed a monument - like encapsulation of the real strains of displacement, the push and pull of diaspora, and the depravity of erasure and forgotten roots. These experiences and their inherent violence, hysteria, and romance imbue her sonic deep-dive into the world of the so-called in-between. Luminous, eccentric orchestration ebbs and flows through the record like a bioluminescent ocean, alongside quiet textural elements: a trickle of water, a ticking clock, ghostly whispers, twinkling manjira. Singing in a delicate, chiffon vocal which defies genre and expectation - satirically hymnlike, then an erratic vibrato - Sheher"s poetic lyrics about marginalised genders and imagined homelands pour out over lush, enlivened instrumentation. There is no one way to behold the magnetic Qasr. "This may sound like some kind of third-culture reclamation," she muses, before pausing, "Or it could just be like, you know, new-age, contemporary American folk." That freedom to interpret is in keeping with a bigger sense that haunts her work - indulgence to be our messiest selves, the selves that openly defy rigid codes and protocols of race, creed, or gender. As an additional ode to freedom: "Sheherazaad" translated in Hindi and Urdu means a "free city". Whilst her artist name is a tribute to Scheherazade, the revolutionary figure from the epic collection of folktales, The One Thousand and One Nights, whose storytelling prowess brings an end to the mindless genocide of women.

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