BRITISH Pakistani singer Samia Malik is bringing her UK tour to Bradford.

Samia will be performing Azaadi: Freedom with songs in Urdu and English at the Kala Sangam art centre in the city tomorrow.

She will be accompanied by her sitar, dilruba, violin, harmonium, bass guitar and tabla.

The performance also features live projections of translations, films and visual art.

World class blind sitarist Baluji Shrivastav - who has worked with artists including Massive Attack, Stevie Wonder and Coldplay as well as many of India’s finest artists including Ustad Faiyaz Khan, Anindo Chatterji and Akram Khan - will be performing with Samia along with Sianed Jones and virtuoso tabla player Sukhdeep Singh.

The audience can also look forward to the live VJing of Samia’s visual art and translations from rising international moving image artist, Seemab Gul.

The tour runs until August and Samia will be performing at other locations around the country too, including London, Harwich, Cambridge, Norwich, Southburgh Festival, Night of Festivals in Leicester and Folk East Festival.

Her performance is supported by songwriting workshops with a collection of women’s organisations, charting a compelling narrative journey towards liberation through art.

For over 25 years Samia has been exploring her own experiences as a woman from a Pakistani-Muslim background living in the UK through writing, teaching, recording and touring her unique style of bilingual songs in Urdu and English, based on the Ghazal form.

Born in 1961, Samia’s life experiences have provided the foundations for her creative output as a singer songwriter and artist.

Her biography talks of her father’s academic qualifications not being recognised in Bradford.

She says similarly to many post-war immigrants, he worked in unskilled or semi-skilled jobs, on buses and on night shifts in factories.

Samia recalls the only recreation was going to see Indian films.

She also reminisces of singing film songs and Ghazals (Urdu couplets set to music) quoting them as the ‘happiest moments of my early life’.

As an adult she trained in North Indian vocal techniques with Baluji Shrivastav.

Samia’s multimedia performances now incorporate her music with translations and projections of her more recent visual art.

She has toured throughout the UK, and in Europe, with Sianed Jones, Cris Cheek and Sukhdeep Singh and across India with celebrated dancer/activist Mallika Sarabhai with Darpana’s Academy of Music and Art.

“Being a woman and being a third child defined me throughout my early life, severely limiting my opportunities and mapping a restricted possibility of action and a future for me,” she says.

“The arts saved me - I was 20 years old when I read Amrit Wilson’s Finding a Voice about the experiences of Asian women living in Britain in the 80s which made me realise that my experience was not unique; it gave me the courage to leave and find my own path.

“As a result, I have been on a life long exploration of my identity through my performances.

“Anger has certainly been a fuel, and freedom was the goal.

“Ultimately, I can only hope my words and actions save others, though I do not make art for that reason. I make it because it saved me!”

Samia will be releasing a new CD ‘Azaadi: Freedom’ as part of this national tour.

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