When We Return

Posted on in Art + Soul by Lloyd Barde


Planned for worldwide release at the completion of her fall tour, Simrit’s new When We Return expands on the mastery displayed on her first CD a decade ago. The level of craftsmanship in the conception, recording, and production is stunning. Simrit’s vocals are deeply enveloping, even otherworldly, and rise above her dazzling instrumental support here in a way they cannot in her live shows. You will surely love riding the waves of her amazing voice here, flying free throughout.

Cover Simrit When We Return

Because her band has been touring the globe together seemingly nonstop for almost four years, it’s a well-oiled force that knows how to both lead and respond at every turn. Cellist Shannon Lee Hayden often plays live on a vintage cello from the early 1800s and creates sonic effects around it with a pedalboard. Salif Bamakora plays the West African kora, a gourd whose 21 strings made from fishing line generate a sound somewhere between a harp, guitar, and piano. Multi-talented jazz bassist Jared May plays electric bass, standup bass, and Moog synthesizer, while drummer Devon Ashley plays both a kit and hand drums.

Simrit’s vast array of musical influences tells the fascinating story of her life. It begins in Athens, where a young singer from a prominent musical family had to give up her newborn daughter. That child was adopted by a
Greek American couple who took Simrit, born Stavroula (aka Stefani), as a toddler to South Carolina. Her upbringing in the Greek community there laid a dynamic foundation for later musical endeavors, as she grew up learning traditional Greek dances and the Greek language and singing and chanting in the Greek Orthodox church choir, mesmerized by the chants and hymns.

Some artists can hear the resonances that bridge continents and souls. Simrit is one. She brings a true commitment to age-old meditations, urging everyone from pop stars to theater audiences to fall in love with the words of ancient sages. Some have called her epic and cinematic, grounded in groove yet with a transcendently mystical vibe. Grammy-nominated Indian devotional singer Snatam Kaur says, “For Simrit, singing is not a performance, it is sacred worship of the Divine.” Visit When We Return for a rewarding journey into inner worlds and outer possibilities that hold and nurture us all.


—L. B.

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