Inspired by her teenage experiences and the stories of others with a similar background, Bangladeshi-Australian sound artist Shoeb (Sia) Ahmad explores the blooming of one’s inner sexuality, meditations on intimacy and exploration of personal relationships in im/modesty, a 60 minute sound work that uses a text narrative for three voices to guide the listener through a psycho-geographic trip of one’s sub-continental heritage, written for and manipulated from Indian electronic instruments, harmonium and percussion as well as field sounds recorded in southern India and Bangladesh.
‘im/modesty’ was originally developed as a multi-speaker installation during a residency in Kerala, Southern India in 2016. Upon commission from the Australian Art Orchestra, the original installation work was reworked into a semi-composed/semi-improvised work for small ensemble and premiered as part of their Meeting Points series at the Arts Centre Melbourne in December 2018.
im/modesty will be released during the worldwide celebration of Transgender Awareness Week 2020 and this album highlights both Flaming Pines and Australian Art Orchestra's ongoing commitment to providing a platform for diverse voices to share their narratives through music.
About Sia Ahmad
Sia identifies as a person of Bangladeshi heritage and a transgender woman. Her music is known for exploring deeply personal experiences and vulnerabilities, in an evocative mix of acoustic and electronic indie pop. She has a rich and extensive background in Australian music, creating idiosyncratic works over the last decade, mainly as a solo artist under the name Shoeb Ahmad, a name she has continued to use for im/modesty.
Using guitar, keyboard, voice and electronics, she works both as singer/composer and improviser when performing solo and in collaboration. She has released a diverse range of original music while also working on sound design for dance/theatre, installation pieces and contemporary chamber composition.
Sia has performed throughout Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the UK and the SE Asian region as a solo artist and with groups such as Sensaround, Spartak and Tangents.
released November 16, 2020
Words and music by Sia Ahmad
Australian Art Orchestra
Aviva Endean - clarinets, percussion
Sunny Kim - voice, loops, percussion
Peter Knight - trumpet, Revox, laptop, voice, percussion
Maria Moles - drums, percussion
Tilman Robinson - four track, synths, pedals, harmonium, percussion
Recorded Dec 9, 2018 by Jem Savage in the Potter Foyer, Arts Centre Melbourne, Australia.
Design: Sia Ahmad
Mastered by Simon Scott at SPS Mastering