Tash Sultana: The power of a one-woman show
Tash Sultana on Stage
Since her busking days in Melbourne, Tash Sultana has become one of the most wanted artists to play at the world’s biggest festivals, selling out major theatres and arenas across the globe. It was the third time in just over a year she played in Quebec and her fan base keeps getting bigger. Since her grandfather gifted her a guitar at the age of three, the self-taught artist learned to master over 15 instruments. Her boundless musicianship and unbelievably beautiful voice made her YouTube videos go viral. The multi-instrumentalist sorceress then quickly developed a unique style inspired by reggae, R&B, calypso, and Carlos Santana-esque guitar heroism. Self-described as a drug addict, she found salvation through music and her lyrics often allude to a drug-induced psychosis she underwent at the age of 17. On stage, the Aussie one-person band delivers a hell of a performance as she cranks out distorted guitar solos, among other things.
Fashionably late, she makes us wait with Is this love? from Bob Marley. Wearing a large Montreal Canadiens hoodie, bought for the occasion, and a beany, her casual look contrasts with her guitar wizardry. As she pitches herself into the ground like she was going into a trance, her vocals keep shining with a magical quality that needs to be heard to be believed. For an artist who was recording songs from her bedroom on a go pro, she sure knows how to captivate an audience. Her loop pedal allows her to switch from a scuttle guitar to a languid flute, adding more layers to her songs without interrupting the flow. As if that was not enough, she also throws in a trumpet, a bass, keyboards, and some percussions. While the abundance of sounds and styles is one of her best assets, it sometimes borders on cumbersome. We feel some of the lengthy parts, especially between tracks, could be improved with the addition of other musicians. A drummer perhaps? It could give way to a smoother live set and better the overall rhythmic. However, she’s still sufficient unto herself and the crowd cheers for her every single note.
Full of good vibes and bad attitude, she hopped through multiple styles with a disconcerting ease. Her spacey instrumentation and psychedelic symphonies embarked us on a hypnotic journey that seemed to be conducted by an invisible orchestra. Sometimes a cappella, she showed us a certain sensitivity. The strong echo made her whispers resonate through the room as we were bewitched by her soulful, musical poetry. From all of her 23 years of age, she deeply impressed us with her immense talent and sincere personality. We’ll obviously keep following her, hoping she’ll be able to reinvent herself.
Photo Credits: Samantha Villa