Nishla Smith – The Beast

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Forsyth Music Shop

Nishla Smith voice / Charlotte Keeffe trumpet / Tom Harris piano / Kai Chareunsy drums

Nishla is a singer and artist driven by a desire to tell stories. A unique musical sensibility and this preoccupation with narrative are the forces that drive her diverse practice. She works across disciplines; as part of theatre company Ulita, which she co-founded in 2019 to make staged work blending visual art and music; and most recently, in Travels Backwards, a collaboration with Manchester dance company I M Pact that explores Elizabeth Bishop’s evocative poem The Man Moth through the language of music and movement.

In 2021 Nishla released a debut album on Whirlwind Recordings. Friends With Monsters received critical acclaim, with Downbeat USA saying– “While Smith’s singing is an entrancing beauty of its own, the true trump cards are her lyrics and melodies.” Alongside the creation of the music, she devised and directed three story-driven music videos to reflect the album’s nocturnal theme; and commissioned eleven pieces of original artwork from local artists – a piece in response to each song.

Last year she played a bird in Atri Banerjee’s lauded production of Kes, for which she won a UK Theatre Award for ‘Best Supporting Performer.’ In summer, Nishla was selected to join Serious Music’s prestigious Take Five programme, which culminated in a performance at the Southbank Centre for London Jazz Festival. Later in the year, she was awarded a development award through the Peter Whittingham Jazz Awards, to support her newest recording project, The Beast.

Her voice is exquisite, a symbol of unreachable beauty.” The Guardian

The Beast

The Beast is an explosion of musical and narrative ideas, told through song and performed by a stunning combination of musicians, all of whom are exciting, boundary-pushing artists in their own rights. Born out of a songwriting hiatus, and imagined to mirror her complicated relationship with music-making, and threadbare mental health over the last eighteen months; The Beast is Nishla’s return to the art of the song.

The music draws from her roots in the textures and musical language of jazz; but incorporates ideas from soul, pop and sound design. A piano-driven rhythmical through-line creates the bedrock for virtuosic improvisation and lush, layered textures. Nishla and her collaborators are currently making an album of this new music, thanks to the generous support of Help Musicians.

photo credit Will Hewer

This concert takes place in the intimate surroundings of piano showroom and is supported by Forsyths and Schimmel pianos – Nishla’s pianist will be performing on a Schimmel K230T grand piano. Guests will be welcomed with a complimentary glass of wine or prosecco upon arrival, with the performance commencing at 7.30pm.  

Click here for information about Forsyth music shop and where to find it.

Date: thursday 25 may

Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Price: £15 (including a glass of wine/prosecco)

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