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When a group of five friends from prestigious musical conservatories decide to get together to form a band, the result you get is SHAKAI, a group of musicians trained in a wide variety of disciplines, differing backgrounds and personal experiences in diverse projects. Together they form a whole that creates a sound that is unique and varied. 

Even the band’s name, SHAKAI, derived from the Japanese word for “society”, perfectly defines the quintet of musicians who, whilst firmly grounded in improvisation, would rather not be bound by genre-definitions, instead preferring to allow their music to speak for itself by giving each member the freedom to define their own creativity.   

With Is it Jazz? Records set to release the band’s debut album “Fragments” on the 7th June, SHAKAI have today revealed a new single from the album. Titled “Kanskje” you can download or stream it from a variety of sources at:

SHAKAI founder and leader Eline Rafteseth had this to say about the “Kanskje”:

“Kanskje” is a song that was actually written back in 2018 but remained on the shelf until it finally found its place on this album. It was a collaborative effort between me and Gabriela Garrubo and two of my bandmates from our college days, Sondre Berg Abrahamsen and Martin Wright Thorsen.

The lyrics and content can be interpreted in various ways. For me, recently, it has become almost like a reflection or contemplation on young love. It reflects on how I used to overthink and overanalyse, yearning to be understood but struggling to articulate my emotions. It’s a sort of gentle “love-gone-sour” song, but from a somewhat naive and hopeful perspective.

The music itself spans a wide range, from playful, understated simplicity to loud, grandiose and dramatic. I didn’t really think much about the song’s structure or its deeper meaning; we just had a lot of fun during rehearsals. But looking back on it now, it actually describes me pretty well as a teenager and into my early twenties: somewhat naive, a bit confused, and experiencing a whirlwind of intense emotions across the spectrum.

As you would expect from such a group of musicians, each with their own stories and perspectives, “Fragments” is an album whose music and lyrics touch on a wide variety of subjects, from life’s big questions to the small, everyday stories. From reckonings with the past, to hopes for the future. The end result is a work that is full of unexpected elements, and which is both beautiful and raw, playful and strange. 

Recorded at Bergen’s Duper Studio with producers Jørgen Træen and Iver Sandøy, and with artwork by Tom Korsvold, track listing on “Fragments” is as follows:

1. Kanskje

2. Not Yours

3. Oh Well

4. Dandelion Child

5. Ville bare

6. Lullaby

7. Changes

Preorder “Fragments” now

“Fragments” will be released in LP and Digital formats and is now available to pre-order from our webshop or pre-order from Bandcamp.

Formed in 2016 SHAKAI’s lineup is comprised of Eline Rafteseth (NH3, SOFT NOISE ENSEMBLE, HEAVY ASTRO) on bass and vocals, Elisabeth Lid Trøen (BERGEN BIG BAND, TRØEN/ARNESEN KVARTETT) on saxophones, Gabriela Garrubo (GARRUBO, METTESON, AMAILIE HOLT KLEIVE) on vocals, Simen Walle (ATARI, NELLY, MALUM) on guitars and Kenneth Kapstad (SPIDERGAWD, COBRA KRAFT, MONOLITHIC, GOAT THE HEAD, ex-MOTORPSYCHO etc.) on drums.  

SHAKAI is an ensemble whose stage presence is one of studied ease, almost, at times, of introspection, but with a complete absence of any form navel gazing. It is a band that vibrantly brings its music to life, drawing the audience in and surprising them with unexpected turns.

SHAKAI playing live at Landmark in Bergen

More information about SHAKAI can be found on the band’s Facebook page  

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