The Swagger of Saidah Baba Talibah
Published Aug 22, 2011"I'm a woman. I'm speaking from experience" says Saidah Baba Talibah about her confident, carnal debut (S)cream. "I'm coming into my own." (S)cream swaggers from nuanced jazz phrasing to mighty power ballads. You can't ignore its strongly sexual vibe; it's key to Talibah's work right down to the title of the album. Her passion comes from experience, blowing away a million shallow teenage dreams that constitute sexuality in pop music today.
She also cuts a unique presence in Canadian music. The daughter of jazz legend Salome Bey, Talibah has spent more than a dozen years refining her blend of funk, soul, rock and blues with a sense theatricality derived from extensive acting experience. (S)cream had a long gestation, starting as a collection of demos recorded on a cell phone (seeing release as The Phone Demos almost two years ago), which led to a gradual recording process funded by a Kickstarter-like loyalty program, a a deliberate approach that won true fans one by one.
Her kick-ass band, featuring unusual but essential elements of strings and sousaphone, sculpted and polished the songs in the studio and on stage. It all adds up to a potent combination for consideration in Toronto's initial Harbourfront SoundClash Award for live, independent music, whose winner will be decided in early September. "Myself and the band, one of our greatest assets is putting on a show, so being in a contest for best live band I'm like 'Okay, let's just do what we do.'" Talibah's live shows also got Last Gang Records on board to help guide her towards the next level she's long prepared for. "Just the kind busy that I want" is how she describes her current situation. "But I want to get busier" she says, laughing at the double entendre. "Bring it on!"