Folk music has played a central role in human societies for millennia, transmitting the stories, rhythms, and harmonies that help define a culture from past to present to future. In Kavita Shah’s imagined future, where everything familiar to us today is abandoned, music prevails.
“Folk Songs of Naboréa: a song-cycle for seven voices” is an interdisciplinary work by vocalist, composer, and ethnographer Kavita Shah that imagines the folk music of a futuristic, post-nuclear society in which humans have abandoned technology and national and racial identities have eroded. Tracing the agro-religious, celebratory, and commemorative rituals of Naboréa, this piece r incorporates elements of jazz improvisation, extended vocal techniques, “world music,” movement, and performance art. Embedded in the folk songs of Naboréa are remnants of the past—some distinguishable, some faint—and with them, the memory of collective loss and the promise of future regeneration.
“Folk Songs of Naboréa” first premiered in November 2017 at the Park Avenue Armory, and it was named by NPR as one of the Top 10 concerts of 2017.
Kavita Shah is a vocalist, composer, and lifelong New Yorker who makes work in deep engagement with the jazz idiom while addressing and advancing its global sensibilities. Hailed by NPR for possessing an “amazing dexterity for musical languages,” Kavita incorporates ethnographic work on Latin American, West African, and South Asian traditions into her music. Her 2014 debut album “Visions,” co-produced by Lionel Loueke, was released to great critical acclaim, and her 2017 Park Avenue Armory premiere “Folk Songs of Naboréa” was named a Top 10 concert of the year by Nate Chinen of the jazz radio station WBGO. In 2018, Kavita released “Interplay,” an album of standards and originals in duet with bass virtuoso François Moutin, which was nominated for a Victoire de la Musique (French Grammy Award) for Jazz Album of the Year. Kavita regularly performs her music at major concert halls, festivals, and clubs on six continents. She holds an A.B. in Latin American Studies from Harvard and an M.M. in Jazz Voice from Manhattan School of Music.