Event 6 of Series 1.0 (Letting the Light in) by @sygigs welcomes internationally recognised ambient composer Shida Shahabi to the beautiful space of St Alkmunds Church Shrewsbury.
Born in the Swedish capital in 1989, composer SHIDA SHAHABI’s home was filled with both ‘70s Persian pop and long-established classical works, but, she insists, “it was the environment – my parents finding joy in listening and singing – that shaped my long-term relationship to music, not the genres or my family’s CD collection.” She was eleven when she first started experimenting with her own compositions, and in 2009, when she began studying at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Art, she chose to integrate this creative urge with another, her passion for art. By the time she left, she was already freelancing as a musician with countless local artists and bands, and she soon found herself writing for dance, cinema, theatre and fine art contexts.
In 2018, she released her debut album, Homes, which was championed by BBC Radio’s Mary Anne Hobbs and Gilles Peterson, not to mention Mojo magazine, who praised it as “half-submerged music that rewards the attentive ear”. Over the following five years, she recorded a five track EP of her own, Shifts, as well as tracks for a split EP, The Sea at The End of Her String, with 130701 labelmates Resina and Emilie Levienaise- Farrouch, not to mention a reworking of Beethoven’s ‘Piano Sonata No. 26’ for Deezer’s ‘Beethoven Recomposed’ project.
SHAHABI also scored the short films Lake on Fire (2020) and Alvaret (2021), as well as the feature films Lovely, Dark and Deep (2023) and the award-winning Falcon Lake (2022). In addition, she has taken part in carefully selected live performances at prestigious events like Max Richter and Yulia Mahr’s Reflektor festival at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie and Film Four’s inaugural Summer Screen season at London’s Somerset House.
In 2023, SHAHABI releases her second album, Living Circle, a carefully calibrated blend of classical and electronic elements. Combining ambient and drone techniques with traditional structures, its emotional resonance floats elusively within profoundly atmospheric, uncluttered compositions rich in textural detail and pervaded by a low-end warmth. An unusually immersive style, this provides a refuge which invites a reaction as cerebral as it is sentimental. In fact, according to SHAHABI, “I don’t see any necessity in making a distinction. We need both to experience art.”