We call ourselves SA. This is because in the Indian Music Scale, “Sa” is the first and last note, without which there is no beginning or end to music. It is the very origin from which the other notes are based, and without which music would not exist. “Sa” is similar to the “Do” in Western Music.
With SA we hope to combine flavors from the East and the West—keeping true to the creator Shilpa Ananth’s true roots as well as to the influences of what she currently enjoys. With a splash of Erykah Badu and James Blake, and a whole of Robert Glasper and A.R. Rahman, we hope to create a 3–dimensional aspect to listening to different genres, and to open your ears to something unheard.
Shilpa’s childhood was about Indian music, dance, and culture. It was about conforming to the mold that every Indian girl must as well, to the high expectations of society, grandparents, and, of course, parents.
From going to classical music lessons and trying to belt high aalaps at the age of 3, to singing religious bhajans at the Spiritual Community Center, to being able to cook the core dishes of South Indian cooking by age 9, she had done it all. At least, she thought so.
By the time she turned 13, and was made aware of music outside her world by her older brother, she realized that she had fallen in love with a different world of music! This world was simple, yet challenging, lyrical, and passionate. All she wanted was to sing her heart out—in English, to the bemusement of those around her. This was the core reason behind the decision to move to America and study at Berklee College of Music. Since moving to New York in early 2014, Shilpa has performed at the prestigious Blue Note Jazz Club, in the vocal group Women of the World, and at the UN Women Empowerment event at the legendary Apollo Theatre in August.
Our future sees us playing our EP release show at the Blue Note Jazz Club on February 13th, and planning an East Coast tour for the later part of this year.
As a group, SA continues to experiment with the instrumentation, featuring different sounds and playing with the vibe that we create, so that we stay dynamic and versatile with each experience.
SA is a journey, an exploration, a path that has been chosen on which we continue to move forward and meet a lot of people—whom we hope to inspire through our melodies—on the way.
In a world that is constantly disturbed by heartbreaking news, controversies, lies, global warming, and general destruction, we hope that performing our music will release some balance and good energy into the universe. The scales may be tipped too far to the dark side, but it is never too late to try and make a difference in the world. We hope to inspire fellow human beings with our melodies. Our vision is to bring to the forefront music and tradition that is slowly fading due to consumerism, radio payola, and pop culture fanaticism. Our purpose is to revive live music and independent artists, and to create opportunities for those whose voices are being ignored or unheard. The only way we can do this is to be given the chance to perform on a public platform for an audience that has come with the intention to listen.
FOR THE LOVE OF HARLEM
I work on 125th St, which means that I come out to Harlem every day of the week. I love the energy and that there is something addictive about the vibe and soul of Harlem. Everybody seems ready to do something—ready to create, ready to deliver their voice. This always puts me in a similar mindset of contributing or even being a small part of a culture that is all about reviving art and living life. I always leave Harlem feeling inspired and motivated, and wish to be closer to the community. It has shaped my vision and music into what it has evolved into today.