All-female Saudi band Sheila’s live debut showcases the inspiring power of women
RIYADH: As women continue to gain prominence in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East’s contemporary music scene, all-female rock fusion band Seera are boldly pioneering a largely untouched psychedelic sound in the local Saudi scene.
After a warm-up by DJ Hufs, the Saudi band delivered a captivating performance to an audience of more than 200 on Thursday night at their debut live show at The Warehouse in Riyadh. Guitarist Haya, bassist Meesh, drummer THING, and lead vocalist and keyboardist Nora’s quartet sound resounded throughout the venue. The audience was understandably impressed.
“Throughout the entire performance, my phone was always in my pocket. told Arab News.
“I was just focused on performing. The truth is, it doesn’t happen very often.”
But beyond their music, Sheila’s greatest influence may be in the impact they have on other Saudi women.
Meesh said: Until I met you” or “You guys inspired me”
The band hopes their live debut will inspire others to take the stage.
“Globally it’s still a male-dominated field and here too… ()as an all-female band, we really want to support women to do more and take up space,” Haya said. Told.
The band’s story began a year ago when Haya met sisters Meesh and Nora through Instagram and got together for a jam session.
“In less than a minute, we wrote the song. We were just going back and forth when Nora came and met us,” Haya told Arab News.
Nora adds: Since we are sisters, I always felt that there was something missing. We were looking for bands and people to connect with through music. we were hunting.
“When Haya reached out to Meesh, it was the perfect opportunity to form a band, especially since our musical tastes were very similar. I love.”
Drummer THING was the missing link, she said, and they met her at a music event later that summer.
Meesh said: I felt myself progressing… Playing together really helped us all grow as musicians, as people and as a band.
Combining an interest in jazz, funk, soul and Turkish psychedelic rock, the group’s sound is reminiscent of 1970s performers such as Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin, but imbued with Arabic and English influences. adds its own spin.
“When I started writing lyrics, I always wrote them in English, but I wanted to be more in touch with my own culture,” said Nora.
“So I really looked into the writing process and fell in love with it. Arabic Fusha (Classical Arabic) is beautiful and I wanted to bring that into the music more. I mixed both languages.”
Some of their lyrics also include colloquial Arabic, Ammiya, to modernize their sound while staying true to their roots and upbringing.
“We really wanted to represent the original sound,” says THING. “It was very important for us to focus on and mix the sounds of our culture, mainly the local Arabic language, because we have a lot of influences.”
Thursday night, when they played original tracks like “Woman,” “Junoon Almal” (“Money Craze or Greed”) and “Khaleek Ba’eed” (“Stay Away”), the band really played to the audience. Did. With free-flowing movements and headbanging, he often invites the audience to applaud. “I’m trying to take you to dreamland,” Nora told them between songs.
When Seera closed out the set with the track “Slapping,” the crowd went wild and called out for more.
“I was blown away by the audience and their energy and how they felt about the music,” said Nora.
“Just by looking at their faces I could see that they were connected to it and that was what the world meant to me. is.”