IS Evolution
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IS Evolution

Detroit, Michigan, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Detroit, Michigan, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
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"Inohs Sivad: Changes"

It's hard to make positive, uplifting music. Let me revise that: It's hard to create music that causes the listener to think and elevate his or her spirit while remaining lyrically compelling and musically enjoyable. Anybody trying to make what gets labeled as "conscious" or "positive" music carries the burden of trying to accomplish all of those things, and many artists buckle under the weight of those expectations. The problem is that some artists are so self-consciously positive and uplifting that they lose all of the nuance, irony and metaphor in their lyrics. Their music becomes propaganda. Uplifting propaganda, but propaganda nonetheless. A lot of people want alternatives to the nihilism and cynicism that pervades the lyrics and subject matter of mainstream music, but they don't want to be preached to.
Look, folks probably needed music to be explicitly positive back when the Impressions made "Move on Up" and James Brown dropped "Say it Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud) during the Civil Rights Movement. Those songs also had the advantage of featuring funky melodies and memorable hooks. That doesn't mean people no longer need inspiration. They also want to sing a catchy hook, tap their feet and maybe even dance. They want music they can play while driving their cars, or when having dinner with friends.
On her latest CD Changes, Inohs Sivad shows that she knows how to use nuance, irony and metaphor in her lyrics on songs like "Brown Eyed Susan" and "Out of the Barrel." "Brown Eyed Susan" explores the gnawing insecurity many people have that they don't measure up to society's standards. Sivad uses the metaphor of being a Brown Eyed Susan in a garden of roses to make the point that all creation is beautiful without saying that - you know - all creation is beautiful. "I was born in a garden of roses/For so long/I thought my yellow petals were wrong," Sivad sings. Then there's the music, which on "Brown Eyed Susan" is as visual as it is melodic. The whirling violins create a picture of flowers blowing in the wind.
On the song "Out of the Barrel," Sivad laments the tendency among some black people to sabotage the dreams of their brothers and sisters. This has been called the "crab in the barrel" mentality. The song's reggae beat adds a sense of happiness that is augmented by Sivad's lyrics. "Moving in confidence/A steady pace/Won't hustle out my people As I elevate/Join me in the great escape/Come on/ We're getting out the barrel tonight."
Sivad shows that she also knows how make a love song - which is another shortcoming music critics see in today's music. Love can be inspirational - or at least it should be. As much as R&B and soul singers approach the subject, it would be nice if an artists made the listener feel good about that mix of emotions love can make us feel. And let's face it, one of those emotions is physical attraction. Sivad doesn't get explicit on the song "Never Known," but she does get real. She makes her intentions clear on this mid-tempo gem. "What's your fantasy/I can show you beauty beyond all your senses," Sivad coos.
The superficiality of contemporary music means tunes rarely explore Eros in all of its dimensions. Singers tend to keep their focus on the physical - reaching (and not too high) for simple metaphors such as comparing the objects of their desires to cars and animals. But even erotic loves exists on multiple levels. It may start with the physical, but evolves into something that can become life altering. That's where "Changes," the title track and best song on the CD, takes the listener. This makes the listener remember how they felt when they met that person who exceeds all expectations. The song's arrangements are intentionally sparse - featuring a flute and an upright bass that demands that the listener lean in close to hear what Sivad has to say. And again, Sivad gets right to the point. "Years pass/Three, then six, then ten/You laugh/It might not happen again/You live/Not knowing what life has in store/And then/Someone walks through the door."
Changes is not a CD that will get played in the club, but if you looking for something that manages to be life affirming and artistically pleasing, Sivad's disc is one you'll want to buy. - SoulTracks.com


"Pontiac Singer will take Center Stage at Flint Event"

In celebration of Women's History Month, Pontiac native Inohs Sivad will be serenading Flint with songs of self-affirmation and love.
Sivad is the featured performer for the University of Michigan-Flint and LINK Community and Arts program performance series at 7:30 p.m. Friday March 21 at Red Ink Studios in Flint.
The performance series kicked off in January and deals with social injustice issues such as sexism, racism, classism and poverty.
"It came out of a desire to connect the arts community with the social justice community," said Dawn Demps, master of ceremonies and assistant organizer for the series. "The people who sat around the table believed that the arts could be used to promote different causes."
Demps said the organizers of the series also wanted to provide alternative entertainment, which can be difficult to find in Genesee County.
Most of the performers in the series have been spoken-word artists.
The next event, to be April 18, will explore poetry as a medium for addressing social issues. The event will feature spoken-word artists from Detroit, Pontiac, Saginaw and Flint. Sivad is the first musical entertainer in the series.
Sivad, 35, now a resident of Detroit, is a singer, songwriter, recording artist and producer. She also plays the guitar and a little keyboard. An eight-piece band and three background vocalists will join her for her performance in Flint. The performance will also include choreography and costumes.
Sivad described her most recent album, "Changes," released in 2007, as a "jazzy soul record with world music groove."
She explained that her album addresses three major themes -- simply feeling good, self-affirmation and love.
She said the project was born out of a monthlong trip with her husband, Scott, to New York City. She was looking for inspiration and returned with a single song, "Changes," the title track of her new album.
Sivad explained that the title describes that particular phase in her life, having just been married a year prior and considering moving to New York City, where her husband works.
The three themes reflect what she wanted to do at that time -- feel good, affirm herself and "serenade my sweetheart," she said.
Sivad was encouraged to play many instruments as a child, although she didn't stick with any of them for long.
"It wasn't until I reached my 20s that (music) became meaningful for me," Sivad said. At that time, Sivad explained, she was coming out of depression and needed a creative outlet.
"I bought a beat-up old guitar for, like, 50 bucks and just started writing songs."
Red Ink Studios, the site of the performance, originated in San Francisco. When recession forced an ad agency to downsize, it was left with extra office space, which was temporarily donated to community artists. Red Ink has three studios in San Francisco and one in Flint.
Its mission has been expanded to include programs to convert unused space into community art centers and bring art to schools affected by cutbacks. The LINK program is run by Red Ink Studios in Flint.
Traci Currie, an organizer for LINK and professor of media at the University of Michigan-Flint, said LINK's goals also include merging the UM-Flint community with the larger Flint community and making residents more politically aware, through workshops and discussion groups.
"It's one of the vehicles that we use to connect different programming throughout the city," said Demps. "We're really just celebrating women this month."
"I'm really quite honored that I'm performing during Women's History Month," said Sivad, who researched women in history to get ready for the event. "I've actually learned quite a bit about women in history and consequently about myself."
For more information on Inohs Sivad or to purchase her CDs, visit www.inohssivad.com. - Oakland Press


Discography

No Goodbyes (LP, SoundThought Recordings, 2011)

Serenade Remix (Single, SoundThought Recordings, 2010)

Changes (LP, Sound Thought Recordings, 2007)

Somewhere Else (Single, Third Ear - UK, 2007)

IS (LP, Sound Thought Recordings, 2003)

Photos

Bio

Inohs Sivad has made music that has been called “transformative” since 2003. With four CD’s under her belt, she labels her sound a soul alternative fusion of R&B, Rock, Jazz, Electronica, Soul, and Funk. Through the years, she has been backed by a number of players, but 2014 was the end of one era and the beginning of another.

2015 marks the inaugural year of Inohs Sivad Evolution, her official band. Its four members - Deus X (guitar), CC (bass) and Matt “Champ” Lemons (drums) - masterfully follow Sivad’s lead to create music that blends genres, crosses cultures, and meshes melodies. Together, they aim to make music that connects the borders of musical landscapes.

Inohs Sivad Evolution reminds us that our existence is not one-dimensional and that we have to move with the ebbs and flows of it all to learn the importance of evolving into something more, something different, and something that drives us forward.

Band Members