Saturday, March 11: Singing Through the Prison Walls: Naima Shalhoub in concert!
Resource Center for Nonviolence
March 11, 2017 7:30 pm
612 Ocean St
Santa Cruz, CA, 95060-4006
TICKETS: $15 http://naimarcnv.brownpapertickets.com/
Naima Shalhoub is a vocalist, composer, musician, actress, and educator from Oakland, CA. Shalhoub uses music and song as vessels for freedom, advocating for social justice and inspiration for healing and feeling deeper. Her first album, Borderlands, was recorded in the San Francisco County Jail and is featured in an AJ+ video titled “Singing Through the Prison Walls.”
Bay area soul singer Naima Shalhoub will perform a mix of her own songs and music of resistance and freedom with Tarik Kazaleh – “Excentrik,” a multi-instrumentalist, on Saturday, March 11, 7:30PM at the Resource Center for Nonviolence, 612 Ocean St., Santa Cruz. Local singer/songwriter Gina René will open the evening, blending R&B and Pop melodies with wit and lyricism.
“The voice cannot be contained by metal bars. Music can break the barriers of the injustice and the pain that people go through when they are isolated and confined.” – Naima Shalhoub
Naima Shalhoub blends her African and Middle Eastern culture with improvisation and rhythm. She is ignited by a passion to use her vocal talents to uplift others. Songstress, performing artist and educator Naima Shalhoub facilitates weekly music sessions with incarcerated women. Borderlands: Live in San Francisco County Jail, Shalhoub’s debut album, merges her passion for singing with her equally deep passion for social justice and freedom.
Shalhoub is a first generation Lebanese American. Her parents were born in Sierra Leone and raised in Lebanon. Shalhoub’s vocal style has an Edie Brickell-meets-Sade sort of quality. Her music is influenced by Billie Holiday, African rhythms, Arabic songs, soul and blues.
“Being a woman of color, being an Arab American in this world, I have definitely felt what confinement feels like and what it feels like to be in the Borderlands. As a brown woman, you cannot ignore the rampant ways that violence against women shows up in the world. You cannot ignore that. You have to face that every day of your life.”
Tickets are $15 + fees. Contact us for discount rates.
Live in San Francisco County Jail, Shalhoub’s debut album, is a celebration of this mission realized, with the collection of songs showing Naima successfully merging her passion for singing with her equally deep passion for social justice. Live in San Francisco County Jail features songs with themes of freedom and borders, written by Shalhoub. 50% of profits from the CD will be donated to support incarcerated women. Recorded for Mother’s Day in front of 50 incarcerated women locked up at County, Live in San Francisco County Jail is a compelling and heart-wrenching live album, and quite beautifully engineered considering it was recorded in jail — a jail where 85 percent of the incarcerated have not even been convicted of a crime, according to the public defender’s recent figures.
“Shalhoub, whose vocal style has an Edie Brickell-meets-Sade sort of quality, and whose music is influenced by Billie Holiday, African rhythms, Arabic songs, soul and blues, was at turns wistful, haunting and powerfully growling. Within moments of her first note, the inmates were clapping in time, singing along and dancing in their seats. Her “Oh Sky” found favor with the audience: (“Oh sky, tell me what to do/ show me where’s the light/ ’cause every path I try to walk/ just don’t feel right”).
“Even though it’s not much to bring music on the inside, it’s a way to learn the day-in, day-out on the inside in the lives of women, and to intervene in their isolation and confinement,” Shalhoub said. “Dreaming about other systems that are restorative is what fuels my passion for this work.”Suzie Ferguson, 42, heard Shalhoub perform in the SF Women’s Jail : “When she talks about making a change, and taking our power back, that struck a chord,” she said. Another woman said ‘You know Naima, I’ve been here for two years, and this is the happiest I’ve felt.’ I had not experienced that depth before.” Shalhoub and her band helped blur the typically defined border between performer and audience into a participatory and empowering experience. Shalhoub said; “The music in that space creates a ‘we space’ rather than a divisiveness. That alone is a radical thing to experience.”
After watching the final cut of a documentary capturing her May, 2015 concert, Shalhoub was brought to tears. She remains mindful of her journey to utilize her talent for social change. “That simplicity of showing up and being consistent and open, just sharing what one does, can really make a difference in a small way,” she says. “A collection of those small steps can lead to something greater, and I’m seeing it slowly. I’m seeing the seeds that are planted, and it’s really changed my life and my perspective. It continues to teach me every time I go inside.”
Naima Shalhoub is ignited by a passion to use her vocal talents to uplift others. ”This is what music is: it’s about freedom, it’s about fellowship and sharing with community and places that need it most.”
BIO: Naima Shalhoub is a vocalist, composer, musician, actress, and educator. A first-generation Lebanese American, Shalhoub’s parents were born in Sierra Leone and raised in Lebanon weaving her artistic influences at a young age with a range of sounds and cultures that reflect in her music and work. After receiving her MA in 2008 in Postcolonial and Cultural Anthropology, Naima turned her focus toward music and song as vessels for freedom, advocating for social justice and inspiration for healing and feeling deeper.
Naima has been performing in the Bay Area since 2010 in nationally acclaimed venues such as The Great American Music Hall, Yoshi’s, The New Parish and Union Square, as well as community centers and fundraisers across the United States for organizations such as Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund, the National Association for Community and Restorative Justice, the Social Venture Network and others. Though mainly singing in English, Naima has also performed material in Arabic, Spanish, French, Italian and has a deep love for improvisation. Naima has been featured in festivals in San Francisco, Oakland, Tampa, was a finalist in Jazz Search West 2014, opened for artists such as Zap Mama, Nneka, and received invitations to perform internationally in cities including Beirut, Montreal, Kashmir, Delhi, and Cairo. She has been interviewed on radio stations such as Bay Area’s KPFA, KPOO, KZSU, KALW and recently has received roles in Golden Thread Productions’ The Fifth String, The African-American Shakespeare Company’s production of Xtigone, The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, and others.
Naima has had the opportunity to speak and perform on programs opening for Cornel West and Angela Davis, work with internationally accomplished artists and educators such as Rhodessa Jones and Marcus Shelby, and recently gave a TedX talk at the Lebanese American University of Beirut titled “On Making the Caged Bird Sing”. Her role as an educator also includes presenting at the 2014 San Francisco Arab Women’s Conference, facilitating ethnic studies classes at Laney College, UCSF, Sonoma State University, teaching incarcerated men with Five Keys Charter School San Francisco County Jail #5, and directing a high school choir at Cal Prep Academy in Berkeley. In 2014 Naima began facilitating weekly music sessions with incarcerated women inside San Francisco County Jail #2 and developed this work into a larger project called Borderlands that is launched by the recent release of her debut album Live in San Francisco County Jail, which has received local and national media attention. In addition, Naima also serves as a Restorative Practices Facilitator and practitioner of Restorative Justice (RJ) at Melrose Leadership Academy in Oakland, a TK-8 public school, and elsewhere.