Written By: Fletcher Bonin
If you feel your day or your life is missing something, anything, I can say with confidence you’ll find it in Shishani’s latest project Sessions in Poland. This 2014 release bears only eight tracks and leaves us wanting so many more. Shishani’s voice shimmers and trembles over simple acoustic and percussion arrangements on some tracks while soaring powerfully and unapologetically on others.
The first track ‘Calling You’ welcomes you with Shishani’s gentle, understanding vocals. She sings “all I want is to be with you, silently” and Shishani, that is all we want too. Her voice is unique and lighthearted in a way that belies the depth and truth of her message. She is backed up by steady percussion sets and carefully, subtly plucked guitar, her voice carrying the strength of the performance. Her lyrics are passionate and tender all at once.
The song ‘Survive’ is particularly powerful, the strongest on the album I would venture to say. She sings, “even when it’s hard, I look up to the stars and I know I’ll be fine” and you trust her as she goes into the refrain “I’m gonna survive.” Her voice has the effect of comforting the listener. Many of the themes Shishani vocalizes reflect a strong social consciousness, a sentiment that reverberates throughout the album.
Shishani’s vocals can go from hushed, breathy intonations to soaring, powerful calls to the world at a moment’s notice, Sessions in Poland encapsulating her incredible ability of range. Furthermore, both Shishani’s soul and jazz influences are more than evident on tracks like ‘Lay in the Sun’. This track, my favorite off the album, features the smooth and soulful vocals that she has built a career on. She sings whimsically “just let the wind blow me away.” As above mentioned, there is just something comforting about Shishani’s music, an intangible purity that imbues each track. I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that we have all, at one time or another, wanted to “let the wind blow me away.” There is nothing especially remarkable or original about this idea, and yet Shishani’s voice gives it new meaning and strength. Listen to Sessions in Poland, and be blown away.