Shama Rahman

Shama Rahman

 London, England, GBR

Shama weaves stories, sitar & song within her albums.
"Emerging Excellence Award" for Kickstarter funded wearable tech album 'Truth BeTold'; 'Take V' composer's mentoring (London Jazz Festival), shortlisted Sky Arts Scholarship.
"...rare combination of unconventional creativity and the focus to bring it into a successful fruition" -FredPerry Subculture
"Every so often an artist comes along who stops you in your tracks.Shama Rahman, Renaissance woman extraordinaire" -Songwriting Mag


"Love It All. Brilliant!"-Gilles Peterson
"Beautiful and Intoxicating.I've completely fallen for this lady.I love it", Michelle Hussey, BBC Introducing

"..consistently able to combine new elements & sounds with what is already present to create an incredibly unique record... a musical & paramusical strength that many others could take valuable lessons from, may her own work continue to show those strengths for a long time to come."-7bitArcade

Sitarist/Singer/Composer, Actress/Poet and Neuroscientist of Creativity, Dr Shama Rahman has albums 'Fable:Time' (2014) and upcoming 'Truth BeTold'. 

Her albums modernise the Sitar, arranged centrally within layered harmonies, electronics soundscapes and complex grooves to showcase it in different genres and instrumentation.

From jazz to dubstep, punk to folk, trip hop to hip hop, swing to bosa nova, her stories start life as poems and take flight as cross-genre songs. Poetic Music filled with energy!

Drawing inspiration from Bangladeshi roots, childhood desert landscapes of the Middle East, and colliding with London's vibrant characters, she produces international songs that are original and insightful with an essence of playfulness.

Upcoming 'Truth BeTold', is the world's first full live album recorded with wearable tech ' gloves'; it was successfully Kickstarter funded and received Help Musicians 'Emerging Excellence Award'. Being the first glove artist-in-residence, Shama created an immersive performance at the Southbank with dancers, live band and interactive visuals. 'Fable:Time' was recorded in support by Prokofiev's Non-Classical Studios.

"Impressively inventive...Shama Rahman's band performing quirky, intelligent tunes", Arts Desk



"Truly outstanding and original the next level" Gigs and Festivals

Festivals: Germany's 'Wassermusik, France's Fete De La Musique, Hungary's Babel Sound, Bangladesh, London Jazz Festival, Southbank's Alchemy, Barbican, Manchester Jazz Festival, The Secret Garden Party, The Green Man, Womad radio, Festival No 6, Shambhala, Supersonix, Wilderness, One Love, Global Beats, UnConvention, Wandsworth Arts, The Rollright Fayre, DSC Literary Festival, SALF, Hackney Word and a commission for Eastern Electronic Festival. 

London venues: Ronnie Scotts, The Forge, Passing Clouds, Green Note, Richmix, Proud Galleries, Floripa, Ritzy, Wilton's Music Hall, Troubadour, Luxe, Bedford, Old Queen's Head.

Under the lineage of Pt Ravi Shankar, she sings over her sitar at times passionately soaring and powerful, at others, mischievously percussive and quietly thoughtful but always beautiful with observations on life, love and time embedded in fables, illuminated in parables and electrifying dance rhythms. 

"So beautiful, that was incredible", One Taste Stage 

"That was absolutely fantastic.We have a beautiful lady sitting in our studio with a beautiful instrument-that was spectacular!"-Secret Garden Party Radio
"Audience mesmerised!" One Love Festival
"What came across was just how beautiful your voice is, I was pretty blown away to hear such a balance of delicacy and power"- SpitalFields Festival/ Guildhall School of Music and Drama


'New, creative work by Shama Rahman or soon to be Dr Rahman!' Lopa Kothari, BBC3 World Routes

Commissioned by MOJO magazine for a re-interpretation of Beatles classic Eleanor Rigby using her unique jazz-sitar style.
She starred as the lead in international bilingual BBC drama series, Bishaash, which showed to over 52 million viewers worldwide on Sky. Interviews and music appearances on BBC Radio London, BBC3 World Routes, BBC Introducing Manchester, BBC Asian Network, BBC6 Introducing with a special mention from Tom Robinson and international Turkish, Indian, Bangladeshi and Sky TV channels. As a vocalist, she has featured on Asian Dub Foundation's latest album 'Signal and the Noise' and worked with producer State of Bengal (Bjork, Talvin Singh) performing at BEast festival. As a sitarist she has featured on Guardian-acclaimed hip-hop producer Telemachus Malone's 'In the Evening' and with Bangladeshi artists Bangla producer Buno and singer-songwriter James.

Other collaborations: Kora player Jally Kebba Susso, Gembri player Simo Lagnawi, Folk singer Jamie Doe, London Sitar Ensemble, London Bulgarian Choir and The Doves at the BBC Electric Proms at the Roundhouse, sitarist/vocalist with Orchestra Elastique on Berlin tour.

BBC London Radio, 'Sunny and Shay':"Wow..that was amazing! We could have you on all day!"



Written By: Shama Rahman

Time is a great healer,
In time,
All you do is forget,
And that allows you,
Not to burn,
And sting,
And gasp for air

And you fall in love again
That sweet and chemical
And you think,
This is the reason,
Why you're not with me,
You'll forget eventually,
You'll forget eventually,
But there will be a little kernel
No matter how hidden...
...or buried.
Will know the truth
The reality,
Of our love.
And why,
it was,
And it will be there...'ll know,
when it calls.

Bolte Paro Ki

Written By: Shama Rahman

Verse 1
Bolte Paro Ki-Can you tell me
Kemone shoichi-How I've withstood it
obohela, sharabela, eto jala-with this turmoil,all the time,all this worry
Nirobei shoichi-Withstood it without complaint

Shunte paro ki-Can you hear
ei shurero monjori-the dischord of this melody
Sharbohara,Shopno chara,dukhe jara-Without dreams, those with sadness
tomare bhar boichi-have borne your burden

Chorus 1,2,3
Shonabondhu tomar lagiya-"Golden friend"/lover of mine, for you
Ontor gelo Joliya-My soul is burnt
Ami eka keno boshe achi-Why am I sitting here alone
Choker jole bhalobashi-With my love flowing in the water of my eyes

Verse 2
Mone jodi thake prem-If there is love inside
Jaina bhola kichutei-it is impossible to forget
khone khone pore mone-you're reminded around every corner
emoni jala-of this pain
behishebi joto jed-of this limitless anger
jome holo kalo meg-stored in a black cloud
obhimane,boroshone,katena bela-insultingly,the time doesnt pass

Aachole muchiya jol-Wiping tears with the corner of my sari
bondhu tahar pothe chol-my friend went on his way
shopne joto kolahol-dreams that were abundant
choker jole tolomol-were washed askance by the water of my eyes


Written By: Shama Rahman

Wind rushing by my ears,
Blood hanging in my eyes,
Lifting a strand of golden twine
As you look down on me
Bemused, loving, longing, not wanting but falling...

It was a moment
It was just you
It was just me
One crystal clear moment

Chorus 1
Coast off the back of the mountain-top
Gotta come and fly with me
Gonna do it again and again
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow


It was one crystal clear moment
When the clamour of times gone by went silent in awe and my soul was too scared
And instead said:
I'm so glad I met you
(as one does, to a traveller, who's to carry on)
When it also meant to say:
Im so glad I found you
Stay here with me and my love for you
(as one does to finally STOP...a wanderer)

You only go on what you feel

Chorus 2
Coast off the back of the mountain-top
Gotta come and die with me
Gonna do it again and again
Tomorrow, tomorrow,tomorrow


You only go on what you feel
I didnt though
So I'm sorry
Wont you see what I see
Even for a moment

Chorus 3
Coast off the back of the mountain-top
Gotta come and fly with me
Gonna do it again and again
Tomorrow, tomorrow,tomorrow

26 Hour Baby

Written By: Shama Rahman

I always thought I was a 26 hour baby
Got a little closer to the dream,
I always thought I was a 26 hour baby
Got a little closer to the dream....
When the clocks go back!
Everything's an hour late-but thats all good with me!

People say:
I was born late
and that I would die late
Probably gonna get married...late
Today I was in the land of nod...late
Saw a lot of people I haven't seen of late...there!


I always thought I was a 26 Hour Baby
Got A little closer to the dream


Written By: Shama Rahman

I, close my eyes and find..
Behind them...
But I,
close my eyes and find..
Behind them!

My lid as I let,
the sun,
warm my face
As it makes the reflections
Inside me and out...


My lid there's you,
There's you,
There's you throughout,
A vast lake of reflections
That I have to make....

Chorus 2
As I take a look up at myself (repeated)


Written By: Shama Rahman

Verse 1
Thin sheet of water,
separates my eyes from his gaze
Has a goodbye in those eyes
As it rains all around us
As it looks upon me,
Red rimmed and swimming
Unruly curls
Like a modern day beethoven!

And the taxi awaits to take him to his plane
And they all trail him lugging out his bags in the rain
Trudging from one puddle to the other

Verse 2
Parting words of advice
To the youngest who smiles his broadest
Blue braces,glinting in the water
He runs up to him to be enfolded in a swinging bear hug
His students, his disciples, his friends!

Chorus 2
And the taxi awaits to take him to his plane
And they all trail him lugging out his bags in the rain
Trudging from one puddle to the other
As he flits in his excitement from one place unto another
and smokes the one last cigarette under the eaves
With his equals
As they watch on


Written By: Shama Rahman

Bulgarian singing
Kaval Sviri, mamo - the flute is singing, mother
Gore Dole, mamo- over the hills from the village mother

She walks the sands with a glint in her eye
The moon above her and the stars within
Guided by a force greater than her
A purpose with determination
With the safety of the universe hers to protect
With the safety of the universe hers to enclose..
...all its children in a freedom of their desires

She walks straight and held up high
By some strange puppeteers
With their message she walks

Looking upwards and ahead
To a vision of the future
Looking upwards and ahead
to the vision of a future

Forever hopeful


One day she
The strong warrior princess
could bare her neck
and not be feared by those with more vested judgements
Admired by those who one day want to be her
Hated by those who one day want to be her
But never can be

Praised for her delicate way, strong constitution and steady morality
Not be recognised for her heart from afar
One day, she
the strong warrior princess
hoped, hoped
she could bare her neck
to one who would accept her soul
and claim it as their very own
and then she does
and bears all her trust to him:
an offering like some bowl of fruit
and then she does
and the days pass
until one day:

"The knife twists deeper with a single kind leak from you than a hundred cruel arrows from the murderous world", she whispered,
" for what do I care what the rest of the world says when I know it speaks a thousand words with a look from you,the power of a hundred minds that breathe through you, a hundred compassionate leanings that bleed through you...
you,you,you who were so kind to me who appeared to understand me,
where would the wind blow me next if you were to turn your heel on me?"

And she picked up the pieces..
of her armour around her
soft as egg-shells by now
with cracks spread all the way within her heart, her delicate ways and her now unsteady morality
she looked for the leader of her world since she had rescinded the crown
as she huddled softly this way and sideways for a helping hand
Only to find a void as vast as the universe she had been meant to protect
as she tried to pick up the pieces
and huddled softly this way and sideways
only to find a void as vast as the universe she had been meant to protect...
....the punishment of the puppeteers?


Written By: Shama Rahman

Proti ti bhorer alo-every dawn's light
Notun asha -a new hope

Shishirer-In the dew drop's
booke jome thaka megh-breast that holds the gathered cloud
Ononto bhalobasha -there lies love plenteous

Tomay Dake-it calls you...

Chorus 1
Every day
You see something new
Every day
You feel something true
Someplace else
everyday you feel
Inspires you to grow

Proti ti bhorer alo-every dawn's light

Verse 2
Ekaki rater maya -a singular night's pity
Amay boron kore nei-accepts me into her fold
niche alokito poth-below the darkness is a lit path:
Ononto bhalobasha-love abounds
amay dake -it calls me

Chorus 2

Every day I feel something new
Everyday I feel something true
Everyday I feel someplace else
Inspires me to grow


Shama Rahman: 

Album 'Truth BeTold'

Album "Fable:Time", 2014

Asian Dub Foundation: Album "Signal and the Noise",2013

Telemachus Malone: LP. "In The Evening", YNR Productions, 2013

State of Bengal: E.P. "Doodh Boy",Betel Nut Records, 2014

Kid Karoshi: E.P. "We are not there", 2010