It seems that especially after urbanisation, globalisation, 4IR and COVID-19, there’s an undeniable thread that binds us all — separation anxiety. Each of us, in our own way, has encountered the pervasive ache of distance, and the yearning for a loved one who isn’t there. This shared narrative transcends cultural boundaries and it’s no wonder so many songs, across time and space, have been written about it. Fittingly, in this case, one has been written by people with whom I share a close kinship acutely marked almost exclusively by distance.
Shakuar is a musical duo fronted by vocalists Shishani Vranckx (Namibia/Belgium) and Karima el Fillali (Netherlands/Morocco). The Amsterdam-based band combines live electronica with traditional instruments and enchanting vocals. While it was penned several years ago, Shakuar’s My Dream was just released on November 24, 2023. The new single is a collaboration featuring Shishani Vranckx, Karima el Fillali, Trippin Jaguar, Abderrahim Semlali, Julian Schneemann, and Quincell Adolphin.
Sishani recently posted about the release of My Dream on her Instagram, saying: “Many moons ago, we decided to create music as a language to reflect our reality; one full of diversity. To create a space where this empowers each other. To create a home – in music – in a world where people rather focus on the things that divide us rather than connect us. We’ve been in each other’s lives for a long time now. Half our lives. And I’m so proud to share our work with you. The journey of creating this album deserves a movie of its own. We have survived heavy storms together. And this is truly a work of love @karimaelfillali 🖤”
My Dream unfolds gently, taking its time to build a crescendo. The song seamlessly navigates multiple languages, including French and Oshigambo from Namibia, but as always, Karima’s exquisite voice is particularly stellar in her Arabic rendition, a poignant and perfectly fitting opening that resonates with the theme of the song. Shishani’s voice, on the other hand, is steady and grounding, harking steadily back to her roots in Namibia through Oshigambo. My Dream’s deliberate pace and blend of traditional elements, electronic interludes, and haunting vocals, create a timeless yet contemporary soundscape that charts its own course in the modern musical landscape.
The lyrics are simple yet effective. They explore emotions of separation and love’s pain, suggesting that the deepest longing can turn into a guiding light. Expressing heartfelt yearning, they depict seeing a loved one as a cherished dream, with tactile imagery of hands and arms and metaphors of waiting for rain and presence flowing like a river.
My Dream embodies a sort of spiritual intentionality and its language expresses a pining that extends beyond the mere exchange of affection among individuals, reaching upward in a concerted effort to forge connections between the human experience and the cosmic realm. Rather than purporting to possess definitive answers, the composition gracefully articulates an appreciation for the beauty of the unknown, acknowledging that, at times, absence and distance make the heart grow fonder.
Support Shakuar and listen on Bandcamp.