I was taken by the hauntingly innocent, yet, lethal way in which Sevdaliza gave deliverance of her art, after watching the AI Goddess inspired video for “Marilyn Monroe” a few years ago. The output of her essence, firmly elucidated a realm beyond what my limited senses could perceive – and I remember feeling softly called to ascend my consciousness beyond the binding structures of society’s dominion over freedom; a notable feat achieved by just one streamed video. Previously, I had delved into spiritual notions such as fifth dimensional consciousness, ascension and transcending oneself to galactic proportions, eventually discarding it all when I came to realise none of this so called esoteric “hippy shit” could exist without clearly grounded, intersectional social justice work too. Usher in the artistic articulations of Sevdaliza, where both realities exist simultaneously; concrete social justice warfare against oppression, yet, pouring out from her in a manner that fleshes the artist as if she were a warrior arriving from another distant planet.
photograph by Zahra Reijs
When I came across Sevdaliza — I was reminded of one of many artists whom, if we were to only listen to with actively conscious attention, we would come to realise, perhaps – that they reverberate in the voices of ancestral angels who haunt our dreams on an apocalyptic scale. Doing the work in sonic dreamscape worlds of dismantling systems of oppression that bind us in cyclical chains of hatred and poison. This is where I place her evolution and iterations as an artist; Sevdaliza, through her harmonies and performance rituals, seems to call ethereal consciousness to take root like the tendrils of a tree within our hearts. “I could only have you in my dreams / so it seems / so it seems” is repeated in her song “Bluecid”, of a love so tormenting, communicated as though it were every toxic relationship any of us have ever been in; those ones that taste like when the love is so strong but the dynamics so unaligned that there is nothing left to salvage besides the carnage of a dying relationship. In another song “Shahmaran”, inspired by a popular Kurdish tale which tells of a half snake, half female Goddess who is usually portrayed as a monster; Sevdaliza, in all her stature and strength embodies the sacred being of folklore in a painfully beautiful video that depicts man’s voyage across the deserted fields of unconscious sacrifice, only to arrive to meet the Goddess herself. A journey of remembrance, of coming back to the Goddess; of an emancipation of a racialised masculinity.
Debra Paget in Fritz Langs, The Indian Tomb; 1959
Bold experimentations that conjure up creative spaces to engage with modern visual art forms, sonic spheres and a rootedness in Iranian folklore and cultural mythologies all accompanied by achingly beautiful vocals and masterful production. I find myself more and more enamoured by Sevdaliza’s growth as an artist and performer with each of her offerings. She metamorphosizes with each moment she exists on this tormented planet; telling us tales through song of her greatest pains and deepest loves. It is well known that Sevdaliza is behind every aspect of creative control and execution; it is all an expression of her essence, divine and simple. Perhaps even more beautiful, is the fact that she has been singing since she was 25 years old; a late bloomer – if you will – in the realm of songwriting and performance. Yet, she has amassed an almost cult-like following in musically independent spaces; for people who see and feel what she is doing. I am pressed to witness more of her expression, recently that came in the form of “Joanna”, another haunting feat of great storytelling; to love and to be loved in returned; to feel that love break every bone in your beings while sewing every wound back together. Such are the poetic paradoxes of love, of this new piece she writes — in her usual caps locked signature:
“I Wrote Joanna During One Of The Darkest Periods Of Being, I Am So Very Grateful That This Pain Is Now A Part Of My Past, A New Layer That Has Brought Meaning And A Well Deserved Found Light Into My Life. Special Gratitude to Mucky For Always Being By My Side During The Musical Process And Marlou Fernanda Who Composed Such A Powerful Visual Artwork. To Mihai, With His Ever Entrancing String Arrangements, I Love You Brother.”
Noting her team is not unusual for Sevdaliza, for this is an artist that exists for and within community; first and above all. Sevdaliza is a source of strength beyond anything I have ever seen in “pop” music; a healer and light being casting spells of love using her traditional Persian roots, for us all to gather in communion upon the altar of sound.
The Calling album cover, photograph by Yann Weber
Image still from Human music video