Featured artist: SAMINA
makes her way to the stage on stilt-long, elegant legs, her lava-black
hair let out over pale shoulders, in a simple white dress that
shows some back and svelte-nervous arms, it’s not her look
-- that could bring the Sphinx back to life -- that grabs our
attention, but her delicate constitution that puts everyone in
the audience on alert. We feel and fear something unscheduled
or psychiatric might happen – as she adjusts the mike. Of
course nothing ever does happen, other than a bravura performance
that surpasses all expectations and converts everyone present
into instant fans.
wonderfully negotiated vulnerability is her edge: it both unnerves
and wins over audiences. If some singers are hardly aware of their
surroundings, Samina taps into the energy of hers and uses it
to transcend her natural reticence. And when she finds her equipoise,
there’s nothing finer to the ear than that signature, eucalyptus-cool
voice that has become her star-way to more prestigious venues
and significant peer recognition. Sharing generously the music
she loves with her top-notch band, her earthy interpretations
of the standards are anything but standard, and she’s equally
at home in the ballad box as doing songs that pop out of champagne.
which means precious and healthy in Arabic, hails from the near-hinterlands
of Quebec, where short summers are sandwiched in between ice and
sleet. She came to the city of lights (Montreal) to pursue a career
in fashion, but soon found herself sold on jazz and a life in
debut album, How I Feel, was released on March 15, 2005.
It includes “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars,” a compelling
rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Dance Me to the End
of Love,” and an unforgettable reading of “Embraceable
against a busy guitar and caffeinated percussion line, Samina’s
smokey voice and highly original but never quirky interpretation
of Ira Gershwin’s lyrics introduce just enough nuance to
make us wonder whether the ‘embraceable one’ is more
phantom than fact – the idea of which becomes the song’s
unlikely hook. With all the new crooners on the block (Rod Stewart
and kind) taking their turn at turning this Gershwin gem into
something lusterless and formulaic, Samina’s version wakes
us up and renews our interest in it. If imitation is the highest
form of flattery, you can bet her take is going to generate lots
of ‘let’s try it her way’ magic.
to say, Samina is one camina I’ll be traveling
down with great pleasure.
to Samina perform "Embraceable You"