When Leonard Cohen speaks, people that know anything about music listen. So it’s little wonder that Canadian siren NEeMA is on a sharp ascent. Cohen recently had this to say about the Montreal-based, Lebanese songstress: “in the midst of all the static, a voice of true feeling arises – a rare event!” Hard to argue with, especially once the music reveals itself. An effortless blend of folk, world, jazz and pop, NEeMA’s sophomore release, Watching You Think, employs a gloriously wandering heart. Bolstered by production in association with Mr. Cohen and the universally regarded Pierre Marchand (of Sarah McLachlan, Ron Sexsmith fame), the album manages to borrow from corners of the globe and reference the annals of pop perfection, but all with a voice distinctly its own.
Contributions from Canadian luminaries abound on the album, with Howard Bilerman, Arcade Fire’s Tim Kingsbury, Rufus Wainwright cohort Tom Mennier, and Gurpreet Chana each lending their talents. But no matter the constellation of stars around Watching You Think – there is one focal point, and that’s the undeniable voice of NEeMA. Case in point: “Escape.” Carefree, buoyant folk-pop built out of a sunkissed melody and a propulsive drum beat, peppered with lilting brass, hand claps and a surprise children’s choir. Take a listen below!
NEeMA will be making the voyage to Austin, Texas later this month to take part in the yearly South By Southwest Music Festival. She’ll then spend late March and the first half of April traversing the eastern half of the United States, kicking her jaunt off with a performance at the historic Joe’s Pub in New York City.
03/30 New York, NY @ Joes Pub
04/05 Evanston, IL @ SPACE *
04/07 East Lansing, MI @ Pasant Theatre *
04/09 Traverse City, MI @ Traverse City Opera House *
04/12 Philadelphia, PA @ Tin Angel *
04/13 Washington DC @ Jammin Java *
04/15 Shelburne Falls, MA @ Mocha Maya’s Coffee, Pub, and Music Venue
04/16 Boston, MA @ Red Room at Café 939
* – w/Jesse Winchester