OK, hands up, who’s read Jane Eyre?
Of course, you have. So you’ll know what I mean when I talk about mad women in the attic, right?
Probably not the most sensitive term, I can imagine, but I can’t think of a better way to describe the brooding, slightly unhinged menace of the songs of Rasha Shaheen.
And if I use the word “gothic” you understand that I’m not talking about Marilyn Manson and his playmates, right? (Have to say, I don’t find myself talking about Marilyn Manson very much.)
Rasha’s songs are certainly what you’d call gothic in a Bertha Rochester, setting-fire-to-beds sort of a way, tinged with bitterness and the sense that reason hangs by a slender thread at times. They do make you feel a little uncomfortable…
“I was walking on my own, happily on my own,
And then suddenly, now I am confused by your presence,
Overcome by the whirlwind you create in my body
Oh Lord, is this what it feels like?
The beauty and the harshness combined in a moment.”
It’s not all just intense lyrics and moody atmospherics, though, the instrumental effects are pretty interesting too, most of which I believe is done by her own self.
Born in Kuwait, bought up in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and North Wales, Rasha seems to have had an eventful life before settling in Bristol, and playing in various bands there. She also has a number of other projects on the go, including a few I’ll try to include in future posts.
I’m posting a number of tracks which are available on her own site or her Myspace page, all of which are available on her own album, “Hatshepsut” (that’s the well-known ancient Egyptian warrior queen, in case you were wondering, not the household breakfast cereal…)