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Truth BeTold

by Shama Rahman

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Choto ekti meye (A small little girl) “When I grow I will be” Boro hoyete chai (wants to grow) Boro howar chchai (the ‘want’ to grow) Shoyete Parbe Tai? (could she withstand?) “Grow higher when I fly” Dekha kon ‘shonar’ dai (which ‘angel’ would look on) pore chur chur hoye jodi jai? (if she were to fall and break into a thousand pieces?) “A light, and lo” Ekdiner alo (one day’s light) “A wondrous space” Shara jibon-er raat (an eternity’s night) “I am safe, I know” Ei, ki maani? (Is it this, the meaning?) Ei, ki taan? (Is it this, the pull?) A memory murmured “nodir pare” (On the river’s bank) An echo half-followed “putul-er shongi” (With my doll’s company/ With my playmate as companion) A playmate whispers, “chele khela!” (Playtime!) Dashes from sight “ekhono ki?” (What still?) I surge but once “ho, preme more...” (Alas, falling in love..) And look no more “Doobaie dilo” (... drowned me)
Sighs of a young maid Rustling and Drifting From side to other vast side of the bed Or SO, are the sounds from the roof of my still WAITING creaking ...hut As the wind lifts the tarpaulin to peek inside from time to time and scampers away to hide somewhere secret in between A distracted child that sometimes likes to scurry like an island rat scratching at the bamboo I lift my hand, STARK against the white bedsheet and see it covered in red ants following each other through an invisible celtic weave that signals another phenomenon many magnitudes of scale larger A hand of God scatters the mosquitos from the night-time sky and into my oppressed room Conversely I am lifted HIGH OH SO HIGH very high by the forks of electric blue Oh, my storm so new
Liquid Blue 05:54
Liquid blue The streaming glows in the sky But while I watch my words catch in my throat I stand sheltered from it all Beneath the dripping leaves Gazing out at the shimmer The glimmer Rainstorm I can only imagine, where you’re coming from Rainstorm tears of gold, l’acrima del oro Rainstorm you lift me up,you wash me clean Rainstorm you lift me up, to calm the storm within Rainstorm Choker jal jole pure (the water from my eyes burns) Top top kore pore (drop by drop the tears they fall) Agun dhoraya (and alight the fire) pran-er chhai (in the ashes of my soul) chomkai cheel cheel (to flash gleaming) kore booker shurjo (my heart’s sun) shonar moton (like gold) Taking chances but missing glances at the window of promises but now I’m tired of missing those chances now I’m tired and you calm me down, while I feel the bark beneath my fingertips gazing out at the shimmer the glimmer Liquid blue The streaming glows in the sky But while I watch my words catch in my throat I stand sheltered from it all Beneath the dripping leaves.
An incendiary upstart revolutionary kickstarter an idealistic brawler for figmented ideas everything to hold “It” just - so nugget - gold in my hand the form that language cannot shape a pattern your eyes cannot fathom I gesture and entertain you to speak my mind entrain and entrench myself in combinations and recombinations to find meaning
Truth BeTold 05:22
I sing to myself, a song to the sea Truth BeTold /I sing to you my dear, a song for the sea ...a song for the sea / I sing to you my sea, an ode just for me ...an ode just for me / I sing to you belov’d, a hymned melody ...a hymned melody / sing to you mon amie la poesie infinie, la poesie de ma vie A figment ducks and dives Washed-up crest laid-bare of the shore Then I saw your face, emerald Light glancing into the depths Un mirroir de moi-même qui s’èvade dans la fuméeè maritime interceptant les couleurs lunaires d’un soleil vieillissant Les tourbillons nuageux me noient dans tes courants me rapellant a chaque instant l’ivresse de ton vert/verre The memory of your face, sweet olivine An imprint on my mind An eddy praying for my fingers, To dance through his trails Ta calme noirceur vide de sens mais au loin au creux de tes pierres Painted there your face, jade A shaded reality, veiled A gradient whisper to the unknown tale
I walk, gliding and lunging forcefully, with the clip of my soled feet and the dig of my nailed hands. Its a stride towards a freedom, towards the lattice in the memory of my dream: heart-shaped, iron-wrought and the smaller into the centre I fall with my gaze, there are only hearts and curved down-turned apices infinitesimally fractal. And beyond, through this gridded hatch, it is stormy. And I try, to swing out the latch, open with a cry. Stuck in my mouth, behind my teeth hard in my core, the air hoarse, burning through my lungs, whirling... We stand on a parapet, you and I... I long to jump us to a clearly refined space of safety or... “understanding”, said the spider on my knee, from crouched dream to memory: a symbol from beyond the storm. If I had just one request from me to you: “Don’t mistake her for Her ...or me. The dreams of your memories do not distinguish the separate snowflakes you once sent to me with love, as we turned and danced and fell to the soft surface of the ground”
This weekend I watched my heart Melt through the river A delicate balance In the rapids it rode [holding on] Like Romulus, to meet his Remus Flowing down to Rome [and its seven mountains] Looking far into the future, it wound through the past Travelling past these hills So it didn’t have to live, what was happening now Last night I saw my life Float out on the lake It bobbed, and nodding came To rest dead bang centre [I prowled and I roamed] Slipping searching on the banks I watched from the woods And climbed up the trunks [from all angles I looked] Each time it glittered, I moaned and I shuddered For it was real gold And for the life of me, I could not swim At dawn I bid my love Adieu out to sea Filled with laughter Weighed down by my tears [It drifted steadily] Towards the bedrock drop by drop Before it sank, it caught a glimpse of the sky bent down [singing softly to the waves] An eternal embrace, a line of infinity: it was the horizon [with this picture] of everlasting ...a child resting It closed its eyes It didn’t hear me whisper, tales from our splendour
You get lost On an adventure of self-exposure and system-loathing Of circumventing fate and hightailing on the klaxon of life (while you still can ) you don’t listen to: silence that lies content in between the words you need not the balustrades that hold the rafters that let you float to your freedom a freedom of time a freedom of limits a freedom of choices a freedom of love a freedom of freedom ...and freedom ...and freedom to oblivion and the minute you realise your strings are in danger of being cut forever from the life you cherish so righteously and firstly so you get lost so that you can find your very own way back circumventing fate to carve your destiny anew
Deshlai Kati 05:00
Mone ache (do you remember) Shedin huleshtul bedhe chilo (there was a disturbance that day) ghorer kone (in the corner of the room) jole utechilo agun (a fire started) Amake na nibheye (without putting me out) Chure pheliye (you threw me away from you) koto ghor ke (so many houses) diyechi puriye (did I burn) koto prashad ke korechi (how many places did I) dhulishad (destroy) ami ekay (just me on my own) ami ekta choto (I’m just a little) deshlayer kati (matchstick) eto nogonno (so insignificant) hoyeto chokeyo pori na (perhaps you dont notice me) Amader ki (we have) oshim shanti (such peace) tato korechi onubhab (that’s what we have implored you) barbar (many times) tobu keno bujho na (still why dont you understand) amra bondhi thakbo na (we wont be held captive) tomader pocket pockete (within your pockets) amra beriye porbo (we will get out) amra choriye porbo (we will spread) shohor-e gonj-e gram-e (to the cities, to the rivers, to the villages) digonte theke digonte (from horizon to horizon) Amra barbar joli nitanto obohelai (we have burned many times) tato tomra janoi (that you know) kintu tomra ta jano na (but you dont know) kobe amra jole utbo (when we will alight) shobai shesh barer moton (all of us like it was the last time)
As soon as you measure it, You change it. The sooner you look, The sooner it’s gone. The instant you feel it, the instance vanishes. A life examined is one missed in transience we exist
I live in a field of grey, where nothing is black and nothing is white I live in a field of grey, where nothing is black and nothing is white where choices are dream-like but life-changing made with all the ease and gut-wrench of a daze the truth lying in this and somewhere above this constantly dynamic ebb and flow of happenings personal truth and universal merge to become one and the same as long as the personal is held with conviction and followed through till the finale I live in a field of dreams where nothing is white and nothing is black I live in a field of dreams where nothing is white and fields are all shades of grey you can pluck the concept out of the sea like a mewling baby hold it tight step into it and breathe it right I live in a field of dreams where choices are real but intangible where dreams are all that you live off and dreams and dreams alone can kill you
These are strange angry, night dreams, heart-pounding, racing an alarm, no position comfortable shifting body states sifting mental psalms fists clenching, gripped in a rollercoaster fear and denial of the inevitable demise and shock - hit - full - frontal back taut (in a) straight rod images shape plots furious plans executed by a sheer rage burns away the fog of confusion but unsettles the heart so much, my vision is groggy (and) the only way to calm my sense(s) is to recite, Chant a long rejected mantra that physiologically consoles to a level deeper than solace beggars skepticism.
We drove in silence, From that city in the West where once I was lost, unfound; This city in the West where I think to rebirth my thoughts, where I think to be warm with thoughts of you; That city in the West: your homestead steadily stretching out, a welcome to my home hearth. We met nightly, a fever, set burning coursing through our yearns and thirsty, parched, we collided: inseparable, inescapable, incendiary, teeth, smiles, lips, eyes, skin, colour, fingers and their tips hair, heart and ...fear meld into a dark loom (over) as you murmur of my tattoo: “Didn’t you know?” “Maybe its somewhere,” somewhere I couldn’t reach; “But didn’t you know?” Said I, a broken scribe, “there it is there, right there on my heart. And oh it hurts, can’t you wipe me clean?” “Its all in your mind, that imagined kind: rich and open it may be but its too open for me, Its all in your mind, shishir, all up in there” “And its all in my soul, can’t you take me wild?” “I can’t take you with me, I have no time Where did you come from shishir, you cling to me” “And its all in my message, won’t you hold me true?” “Who are you shishir, I can’t read you, no” “Didn’t you know? I am the peace you seek” said I, a silent glyph “there it is there, right there, in my heart.... looming, melded, what you fear” We drove in silence from that city in the West where once I had left the truth behind, with you
Looking down at my hands at the neat and defined space they now occupied in the fluorescent jelly of the night bus interior it suddenly sedimented in me the dawning of cessation : the settlement of reality and its end - now actually inevitable no more " you never know " futures no more " hit the Undo Button" no more " room for improvement" “rosy potentials” there was only “no more” and this was it as I drape my heart around you and become sick to combat side by side with you gallant, strong, in empathy and hope for transference unto me as the holy spirit, thy blood becometh mine own and every breath and thought I tousle nightly over keeping the darkness at bay lance at the ready duel at the challenge gauntlet drop and stake THAT which I have control over
Like Ships in the night, We pass each other, pass each other, By; In silent-footed cotton socks Life moves fast; Time and tide Wait for no man. Even in no man’s land, even in Noman’s land. Forever looking back, extended and suspended, In an entire spun time bubble, Extended and Suspended. How, To capture the essence Of universal truth, Through a life with you; A kiss in the wind. Set, In our ways, Set it to fail; And lo a jubilant I told you so, When inevitably proved right. And we carry on secure in our fortitude And good sense; And with time, With every year, We forget to ask, What if? So, this is called getting stronger... Wisdom through knowledge, Wisdom through courage, Wisdom through naiveté, Wisdom through nonchalance Wisdom through Not knowing any better
The first time I saw you, you knew me already, A gift poised at my door, a precious friend to me A sweet twinkle standing by me Told me you were here to stay But I couldn’t help but feel maybe Love was not enough Two adventurers with life before us Even breakfast was a party Our laughter drowned the market place A well of joy, I drank, You held me close and as we danced I could feel only beat and breath, but I couldn’t shake the feeling Love was not enough When the thoughts are not the same, moment to moment A mind’s a skimming stone, likes to flit lightly over water Its the heart, a bedrock feels the moment, spanning here to forever, but maybe just maybe, its, Love is not enough We held our hands Walking down the river fed the ducks, fed each other’s Eyes, a beauty like no other Thought by one, known as truth by the other Two heads on one shoulder We drew our breath on the sand Love crystalline sparkled in me But you didn’t think you’d enough You’d hate yourself for it and wondered maybe Love was not enough When thoughts are not the same, from time to time and a mind’s not yours to hold Its the heart that holds it all love and sadness, both its space and simply just simply Love is not enough We played one last time The strings urge the waves to come forward Drown the setting sun with the colours of the future When the things I say cannot fix us When the things you say cannot be unsaid All you have is the ghost and the sad thing’s When even that is gone How do we tell each other Love is not enough?


‘Truth BeTold’ is a transformative journey, told through personal life experiences of childhood, finding identity through revolution, love, disillusionment and hope. These experiences are sonically and lyrically embodied through water forms such as playful creeks, melting river-flows and the terrible, calm beauty of the sea. The album is thematically arranged into three chapters reflecting Sufi poet Rumi's questions: 'Is it True?’, ‘Is it Kind?’, ‘Is it Necessary?’

Recorded live, the album showcases Rahman’s unique approach to sitar performance and composition, with electro-acoustic tracks seamlessly crossing genres, including jazz, dub, worldbeats, swing, electronica, Indian classical melodies and more. The album is the first to feature the groundbreaking 'mi.mu gloves' throughout; cutting edge, wearable tech that allows the artist’s movement to trigger sounds and effects as part of the live performance, underlining Rahman’s status as a ‘futuristic storyteller’.

More than just a collection of songs, the album is a continuous flow of music and spoken word interludes, backed by sitar soundscapes. The result is a wonderful, genre-bending opus, illustrating an artist confidently reaching new musical and storytelling heights.

Shama Rahman comfortably takes her sitar out of the traditional context, demonstrating a versatility rarely heard. The innocent, happy childhood chimes of ‘Choto Meye (Little Girl)’ give way to ‘Liquid Blue’ a unique mix of jazz and latin fused with contemporary Bengali rap; a song about the impatience of wanting to grow up and start living life.

Title track ‘Truth BeTold’ is a standout, dreamy track with trip-hop vibes and a Bjork-like quirkiness. Switching between English and French vocals, while mixing traditional and contemporary melodies, this track has a true international sound, while also offering the strongest nod towards the metaphysical filter of Rahman’s sufi leanings. The effect of the 'mi.mu gloves', as part of the futuristic live performance, can be clearly heard as part of the vocal intro on this track.

‘In My Line Of Sight’ explores the sound of jazz improvisation and crunchy, sub-Saharan, Ethiopian-esque electronic guitar sounds. The album’s water themes are lyrically, most apparent in this track, with different stages of love represented by analogies of a river, lake and the sea. ‘Deshlai Kati’ brings together dub, reggae and the traditional sound of the sitar electronically manipulated live, to create something new. This is a song about finding identity through revolution. ‘Personal Grey’ is the ballad of the album, with Rahman using the sitar to give a new twist on Western melodies. ‘City In The West’ takes the energy up, underpinning the song with an infectious, driving riff. ‘Ships In The Night’ sees Shama and her band effortlessly switch from a downtempo groove to upbeat, bouncy swing, before the album closes with the beautiful, melancholy reflections of ‘Love Was Not Enough’.

Between each song an interlude adds to the story being told, alluding to the theme of the upcoming song, as well as adding an experimental element to the music. Traditional beats and instrumentation blend with electronic sounds, spoken word and poetry, creating an immersive listening experience.

Shama Rahman performed ‘Truth BeTold’ live at the Alchemy Festival at The Southbank Centre in London in May 2016. This avant-garde performance broke through the boundaries of live performance, delivering something completely new. The 'mi.mu gloves' system was used as a centrepiece, allowing for freeform improvisation and direct interaction with dancers and visual artists, to create a futuristic storytelling loop; a stunning, immersive and interactive glimpse into the future of live performance.


released March 23, 2018

All tracks written, composed and produced by Shama Rahman
Co-produced by Tilé Gichigi-Lipere and Dave Holmes
Truth BeTold lyrics co-written by Line Al-Khayer
Storm So New co-produced by Christopher Barrett (PTC)

Recorded and mastered at Soup Studios
Album artwork and design: Andrea Sartini
Photography: Ty Faruki and Swara Kadir

Thanks to all the wonderful musicians who have played on this album:

Christopher Barrett (Electric Tuba)
Rachel Bartlett (sax/flute),
Moses Boyd (drums),
Inga Eichler (bass)
Sarathy Korwar (Tabla, KAOSS pad)
Christopher Lane (guitar),
Tilé Gichigi-Lipere (live electronic sampling),
Shama Rahman (Sitar, Voice, Ukelele, Wurlitzer, 'mi.mu gloves'),


To my Father and Mother;

'Mi.mu gloves' team - as artist-in-residence, I recorded the world's first full live album with these pioneering wearable tech that allow music making through gestural movements in space and freehand draw sounds in multiple dimensions, spontaneously creating and manipulating the sound in an intuitive and expressive way. The movements were choreographed into a form of dance, leading and led by music into a cross-arts performance at London's Southbank with live band, dancers and real-time generative visuals. Thanks to visual artists Matteo Zamagni and Claudio Giambusso, choreographer Jorge Crecis, and dancers Jessica Razia Kenny, Patrick Connelly III, Dan Thatcher, Kessi Rowlands;

Filmmakers Swara Kadir, Margarita Milne who filmed a documentary of the artistic process or recording and performing this album.

All those who have believed in and supported the project especially all our succesful Kickstarter backers.

All rights reserved. Unauthorised copying, reproduction, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting prohibited. Made in the UK © 2016 Shama Rahman


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Shama Rahman London, UK

Shama weaves stories, sitar, and song seamlessly using wearable tech for an organic electro-acoustic sound. She combines international influences from everywhere she has lived and loved. Shama is a Sitar-player, Singer/songwriter, Composer, multi-instrumentalist, spoken word artist and scientist (PhD in the neuroscience of musical creativity). ... more

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