The Key Studio Sessions: Saleka - WXPN
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Singer-songwriter Saleka caught our ear at the top of 2021 with a soul-stirring single called “Graffiti,” a vulnerable reflection on the power of words — and the impact that the words of those we love can have on us. Featuring a minimal, meditative keyboard accompaniment, the song is an arresting introduction to Saleka, but it’s only one facet of what she does.

A classically trained pianist, Saleka has been playing music since age four, and last fall released her debut single “Clarity,” a suave R&B bop reminiscent of Alicia Keys and Amy Winehouse, with a music video shot at Ortlieb’s in Philly during the industry lockdown of 2020. Subsequent tracks have made their way into projects that her filmmaking family works on — the latest from her father M. Night Shyamalan, Old, features her moving single “Remain,” while her song “The Sky Cries” shows up in the Apple+ TV series Servant, which her sister Ishana Night Shyamalan co-writes. Other songs have made an impact on their own — most recently, the racial-justice themed “How Many,” which Saleka wrote in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement following the murder of George Floyd in 2020.

Last summer, Saleka debuted her stellar band in the Philadelphia City Hall courtyard during the city’s Welcome America series of pop-up concerts, and those same players joined her for the Key Studio Sessions this week: Dai Miyazaki on guitar, Joseph Keim on drums, and Elliot Garland on bass. Their set features two as-yet unreleased songs showcasing yet more of Saleka’s range: the salsa-tinged “Séance,” a reflection on feeling disconnected from her roots, and a cover of the jazz standard “A Sunday Kind Of Love,” performed in the style of Etta James. Saleka’s voice whispers and soars, and comes in full force for performances of “The Sky Cries” and “Clarity,” as well.

Watch and listen to the entire session below, and catch Saleka live during her fall east coast residency tour, which has her playing monthly shows in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. Her remaining gigs are November 17th and December 8th at World Cafe Live in Philly; November 18th, and December 9th at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City; and November 19th, and December 10th at Songbyrd in D.C. Tickets and more information on the Philly shows can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar; tickets and info for New York and D.C. can be found at Saleka’s website.

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https://soundcloud.com/wxpnfm/sets/the-key-studio-sessions-saleka
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