Guitar, Acoustic; Oud; Percussion
Oct 3, 2022
Described as “refined, imaginative, and gorgeous” by Beehive Candy, vocalist, percussionist, oud player and composer Shelley Thomas blends Balkan, Arabic, Hindustani, Classical, Pop-Soul and African music styles in her compositions to create the emergence of a new genre: World Chamber Pop. With cinematic arrangements and inspired emotive power, she interlaces diverse threads of culture through a rhythmic, poignant examination into the human condition.
Recognized for her extensive multicultural experience and attention to musical nuance, her depth of study and sensitivity have allowed her a rare breadth of styles including folk, pop, classical, traditional and improvisational world vocal arts. She has been featured in Audio Femme, Women in Music, Elephant Journal, and KCRW’s Rhythm Planet among other press outlets, blogs and podcasts. Her work pushes the boundaries of musical archetypes in a reverent, poetic and progressive aesthetic.
She has crafted her own unique style by syncretizing methods absorbed from different world musics which she studied extensively for sixteen years with nearly forty teachers. She has taught workshops, recorded, performed and toured internationally with world-class artists including Yo-Yo Ma and the Silkroad Ensemble, The Knights, Kronos Quartet, Simon Shaheen, Hassan Hakmoun, Bassam Saba and the New York Arabic Orchestra, Bulgarian Voices Trio, Brooklyn Raga Massive, AlSarah and the Nubatones, Yael Deckelbaum, Adam Maalouf, Jebebara Unity Drum, Innov Gnawa, Mayssa Karaa, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. She has performed at venues and festivals such as the Moscow Conservatory, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, MIT, Pioneer Works, National Sawdust, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Vancouver Island Music Festival, and Abu Dhabi Festival at Emirates Palace.
Past highlights include being featured on Yo-Yo Ma and the Silkroad Ensemble’s GRAMMY® Winning album, Sing Me Home, with vocal ensemble Black Sea Hotel; Sweden and East Coast tours; interview on MJ Dorian’s Creative Codex Podcast; and soundscape vocals for Panorama Festival’s 360 ARK Dome. Performances include the Mediterranean Jazz Fest, Rockwood Music Hall, Brooklyn Maqam Hang, Toronto’s Drom Taberna and Small World Music Center, The Sonic Jungle, Ecstatic Dance NYC, Alex Grey’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, ARTERY showcase, Ragas Live Festival, Lund Choral Festival, Stallet Stockholm, Santa Fe’s San Miguel Mission, BRIC, Le Poisson Rouge, Jalopy, SoFar Sounds, Alwan for the Arts, Yale Repertory Theater, Havana World Music Festival, Mexico’s Cumbre Tajin Festival, Prototype Festival, Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, and Fete de la Musique Beirut.
Shelley released her critically-acclaimed singles and videos, “Mirror” and "Cancer Moon" with Symphonic Distribution in 2020.
Her debut a cappella album of Bulgarian songs, JOY, was released in 2016. She recieved a performance degree in World Music from CalArts and studied Mixing & Mastering with 343 Labs and Music Production for Women. She has taught with Canada’s FolkCamp, One World Brooklyn Kids Chorus, MUSE Academy, Music To Your Home and Gowanus Music Club, in addition to private coaching. She has attended Artist Residencies at Canada’s BANFF Centre (Persian & Eastern Traditions Program) and Vermont’s Avaloch Farm Music Institute. She was a recipient of the ACTA's Traditional Arts Development Grant, and has won grants from Musicares and Redline Contemporary Arts Center among other organizations.
Current highlights include the new release of her self-produced EP, “Free” under Symphonic; signing with Assemble Sound for sync representation; receiving a scholarship for MusicCares’ Key of C Workshop in Nashville, TN; and completion of The Music District's Sync Workout, a ten-week sync workshop for select Northern Colorado artists. She is producing her upcoming album for 10-piece microtonal world chamber pop ensemble. www.shelleythomasmusic.com
“Lush orchestral arrangements guide you through a sonic journey to the beautifully haunted side of yourself...world music magic”
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