Simin Tander – vocals, composition / Björn Meyer – electric bass, effects / Samuel Rohrer – drums/ Raphael Becker Foss – sound design
The German-Afghan singer Simin Tander is hailed as one of the most remarkable vocalists in the European jazz scene today. Her current Unfading project features a whole new lineup with a sound that manages to be at once light and immensely deep. Their unconventional arrangements and intensely subtle playing underpin Tander's warm, delicate and yet powerful vocals in English and Pashto, the language of the Pashtuns of Afghanistan. The band create a poignant sense of intimacy with the aid of mutual musical inspiration and atmospheric sounds, in which Simin Tander's movingly expressive and idiosyncratic voice is a close and direct presence. This impression is largely due to the harmonic undergirding and masterful electronic effects provided by electric bassist Björn Meyers, and Samuel Rohrer’s sensitive drumming style, which gives some of the songs a dark, dry pulsing beat.
Tander's emotional connection to the poems she has set to music on this album imbues Unfading with a mesmerizing intensity. The lyrics – some of which are in Pashto, her father’s language – are by Afghan women poets from the 17th century to the present, "inspiring women who were – and in some cases still are – very strong and strong-willed personalities".
On the whole, Unfading is marked by a touching, but undeniably positive, melancholy: "The word 'unfading' expresses my desire to keep going on and on," she says, like a river that never stops flowing and telling its unending sad story.