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Fan-Tash-tic Tash Sultana
I hope that July is a good month for you! Mine is kind of a whirlwind 🌪️ and passing by in the blink of an eye. I can't believe it's almost August already 🤯.
Anyway, it's readin' time!*
*DISCLAIMER! → it’s a long issue, so if you want to jump straight to music, here’s a link:
Tash Sultana’s concert in Warsaw, PL
This month I went with my cousin Ela to experience Tash Sultana’s concert. The event took place in Warsaw at Progresja club’s outdoor space at the back of the club, called "Progresja Summer Stage". It was a typical, hot, and sunny July day and it felt like a micro-festival with all these sandy beach spaces with sunbeds and beach umbrellas ⛱️, a few different bars here and there, and a wide picnic-like space.
The scene wasn’t huge, but big enough and felt in line with the surrounding area. The light and sound systems were decent. There were some minor f*ckups with speakers on the left side, but what’s most important - it hasn’t ruined the vibe. The atmosphere was chill from the beginning till the very end 🤙.
Everything started with a really pleasant support act of Reuben Stone, a crazy charismatic multi-instrumentalist from Australia. He soundly warmed up the crowd with his music compositions soaked with reggae, dub, and soft electronic dance rhythms. I loved how he looped this and that to finally jump out with a trombone. He was all giggly, bursting with positive energy, vibing and joking with us all from the stage. Down below, you can find video evidence of my words 👇
As it turned out, there were two Reubens on the stage that evening. Reuben Stone took his friend Reuben Hester on tour with him. And it was a good call. The other Reuben also had a cool, fiery voice and really great energy 🔥. Hear for yourself:
When Tash entered the scene, the concert crowd (including myself) went completely mad! People were screaming, shouting "Tash! Tash! Tash!", and clapping their hands so loud that I thought my ears gonna explode. From the first minutes on the stage, Tash emanated with self-confidence, authenticity, and charisma! Their free-spirited, chill vibe has spread around. With that punk rock/skate-ish/surfer look, long sandy hair, dimples in the cheeks, and a confident smirk on her face, Sultana grabbed the guitar, and started the show with a bang 💥🎸🦁
Sultana was surrounded by many different instruments. The longer you stared at the stage the more things you were able to notice - percussion, panpipes, keyboard, looping station weren’t even half of the stuff used throughout the concert. When Tash pulled out the saxophone 🎷 and started playing people went absolutely c-r-a-z-y! The same happened when they played panpipes and flute . I felt like a cobra being seduced by a widely skilled snake charmer 🐍. It’s an absolute pleasure to watch them looping all these circles of sounds in front of you.
I very much enjoyed moments when Tash joked around and interacted with us, waiting for our claps and making us jump, or suggesting moments to take a hit… if you know what I mean ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) 🤙
The animations on the screen matched the chill and psychedelic vibe with quite mind-bending views, like skeletons, cobra snakes, huge tongues of fire, giant jellyfish floating over pyramids, etc. It all had a pleasant retro vibe to it and reminded me of Windows Media Player visualizations.
Damn, I was really impressed by Sultana’s six-octave vocal range! Tash was handling all these vibratos, falsettos, and other stuff like a champ 🥇. There’s no way not to get spine-tingling feelings when listening to their music. These psychedelic melodies constructed by Tash totally blow the listener's mind.
The dynamic on stage was wild! Sultana screamed, whispered, laughed, jumped around onto stage risers and loop pedals, moved their body like in a trance, and looked like plugged into some type of cosmic flow state. I loved the moment that Tash got down on their knees during the epic guitar solos and was picking strings in a kind of behemoth way 👹🔥🎸 It looked exactly like this 👇
One of my favorites from Tash - a song called "Blackbird" was picked as the last piece of the show. Ooof… how good it was. You could feel sound waves in your body, goosebumps from head to toe, and tears in your eyes! The things Tash did with these 12 strings of acoustic Maton guitar were just mind-blowing 🤯. We were all mesmerized by their music, and how Tash was cutting loose, making all these characteristic faces, resonating with notes, chords, and sounds, looking totally badass in this process 😎.
The concert was full of goosebumps-inducing moments, and earworm melodies 👂🐛. Sultana’s singing voice enveloped us all like pure water. It was a phenomenal show and an unforgettable ride.
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Who is Tash Sultana?
Tash is a wildly passionate, self-taught multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, writer, producer, and looper... Sultana spans a broad range of genres, from psychedelic rock to reggae, soul, and R&B, to hip hop, blues, roots, and neo-soul.
What’s also worth knowing is that Tash is gender-fluid and uses the pronoun they/them.
"“I have always felt fluid,” Sultana says of their gender. “I find it really strange that we address people by Mr, Miss, and Mrs. Why does it matter about a female marital status, but not a man’s? What’s the f*cking point? I don’t get it.
I don’t care if people say they and them. I just don’t like being referred to as Miss or Ma’am or queen, or woman. Because I don’t feel that way, I just feel… ‘person’. That’s it,” they nod. “And when I look at other people, I look at them the same. That we all have the same capabilities."
— Source: Rolling Stone Australia
Sultana is a 28 yrs old Australian of Maltese ancestry born and raised in Melbourne. Tash still lives there, but now in a quite huge 10-acre property in coastal Victoria with their wife Jaimie Englewood. They value their privacy and you won’t find much info online about them and their relationship. For that, you better listen carefully to the songs from the "Terra Firma" album (e.x. "Let the Light In"). There’s a bunch of honest, romantic, and heartwarming words in there 💖.
"The pair live together in Melbourne, admittedly neglecting the vegetable garden on the 10-acre lot but skating on the half-pipe ramp when the mood takes them; and when it’s not in need of repair, like it is now. According to Sultana, Jaimie is their polar opposite when it comes to temperament. She’s ordered and a realist, Sultana is a dreamer and “a million miles an hour”.
— Source: Rolling Stone Australia
Sultana started playing guitar as a little girl. At age 3 they received one from their granddaddy. Now, their guitar solos sound Hendrix-esque or Santana-esque! Btw, Tash plays all kinds of different instruments - over a dozen of them! They mastered not only a few kinds of guitars but a whole range of instruments, like drums, flute, oud, piano, keyboard, saxophone, trumpet, mandolin, harmonica, lap steel, and panpipes.
In the music video down below you can see adorable recordings of baby Tash playing their first instruments and dancing around the living room with their family 👇
Growing up Sultana was a troublemaker, a very confident and curious teenager that asked a lot of uncomfortable questions and acted like a nightmare for most teachers. Hanging out and partying with the bad influence type of people they started “doing every drug apart from heroin”.
At age 17 Tash went through a horrific state and sang, played, and composed their way out of drug-induced psychosis that last 7 long months! They have cured themselves by creating music.
"I taught myself through music therapy that I could develop clarity with my passion, and I literally played and played and played the pain away until I could think clearly again"
Tash didn’t go to university. They’re totally self-taught. Sultana started by street-performing, playing at open mic nights and busking on the streets of Melbourne in Australia at a quite young age and posting videos on YouTube.
Sultana’s YouTube video of a song called "Jungle" went viral in 2016. To this day the video has gathered over 164 mln views! It was recorded with an iPhone in Tash’s bedroom and supposedly earned the first million views in just five days.
And as you can read on Sultana’s official website:
“‘Jungle’ brought them international attention. Since then, it’s been nothing but a meteoric rise.” ☄️
— Source: tashsultana.com
Between 2016 and 2017 Tash released an amazing EP called "Notion", and went on a debut world tour. On Wikipedia, you can find an interesting fact - "their father resigned from his job to become their roadie".
In 2018 Sultana debuted with a brilliant album called "Flow State" with my favorite "Blackbird" song.
That album won the ARIA Award for Best Blues And Roots Album and was nominated for Australian Album Of The Year at the 2018 J Awards. Then it won Album Of The Year in 2019 at the Pop Awards, where Sultana was also named "Emerging Artist of the Year".
“In 2019 alone, Tash sold more than 500,000 concert tickets globally, and over the years they’ve notched up major international appearances at festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, and Montreal Jazz Festival.”
— Source: tashsultana.com
The 2020 pandemic gave Tash the opportunity to take a break from constantly performing, and living out of a suitcase. They took a much-needed reset.
“I’m the least rock’n’roll motherfucker that you ever see. I’m all for nine hours’ sleep and vitamin infusions and meditation and all of that type of stuff. Even a coffee can send me over the edge.”
— Source: The Guardian
The same year Tash did a cover of a hit “Through the Valley” (Ellie's Song) for the PlayStation soundtrack to the epic game “The Last of Us Part II".
On "Terra Firma", Sultana’s album released in 2021 you can find 14 soulful tracks that they describe as:
“Erykah Badu meets Bon Iver, meets John Mayer, meets whatever”
— Source: The Guardian
It was put together between 2019 and 2021, and some of the natural sounds of rain and native birds were recorded in their own backyard. It’s fresh, raw, and reflective. For the first time, Tash collaborated with other artists - Matt Corby, Dann Hume, Jerome Farah, and Josh Cashman.
"It’s brand new territory for Sultana, who single-handedly composed, arranged, performed, and executive produced every track on their debut album. “All I want to do is collabs with people,” they say, eyes lighting up. “I love it. It just opened up this can of worms that I didn’t even know was a can of worms.”"
— Source: Rolling Stone Australia
The album won a Rolling Stone Australia Award for the song “Pretty Lady”.
What changed is also the fact that before 2021 Tash Sultana was a "one-person band". Now they’re touring with three other band members.
This year Tash released 3 new songs: "James Dean", a dope "New York", and "Bitter Lovers". Each one is catchy, fresh, and fun. They definitely make you crave Sultana’s upcoming "Sugar" EP that you can of course preorder!
And that’s all for today.
Let me know if you’ve heard Tash Sultana’s music before and if you like it or not. What concert have you been to recently? It would be awesome to know.
Wishing you an amazing day!
Until the next time.
P.S. I love it when musicians share on Spotify their own playlists with songs that inspire them If you’d like to take a peek at what Tash Sultana’s currently digging, here’s a link to their own playlist: TASH SULTANA #TUNE