Shapla Salique: A soulful and powerful vocalist
Dhaka: A lyricist, musician and arranger, British-Bangladeshi Shapla Salique is known for combining the Baul tradition in Bangla folk music with her warm and distinctive touchy voice and English vocals. She has performed at the Hammersmith Apollo, Royal Ascot, the Barbican and in London’s South Bank as well as at events in the Houses of Parliament.
Salique has been inclined to music from both East and West. She incorporates global mainstream music and poetic melodies and stories from the time-honoured heritage of Bangladesh. She is known for her unique soulful voice and powerful vocals. Her music arrangement is a fusion of Bengali folk, combined with jazz, pop, funk and soul.
Farzana Salique, better known as Shapla Salique, is one of Britain’s most flourishing artists, and is famed for her widespread emotionally charged performances and has enthralled and stirred audiences throughout the world, reaching backgrounds of all ages and colour, making her music widely pleasing and esteemed.
Shapla was invited to speak and perform at a TEDX event — in front of a star-studded audience at the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Hall in Westminster in 2014. Shapla is also promoting arts and culture throughout the UK and has inspired the next generation. She is in the top 100 most inspirational figures as listed by BBPI (British Bangladeshi Power & Inspiration) and Who’s Who magazine.
Salique was born on December 8, 1975 in Bangladesh and grew up at Tajpur of Balaganj in Sylhet District, where she would often go to watch her father, uncle and grandparents perform in functions who were celebrated folk singers in Sylhet. Her grandfather, Azfar Ali, was immeasurably into music and passed his curiosity onto the family. Her brother Uchchall plays tabla.
In 1981, at the age of five, Salique came to the United Kingdom to join her father. She came with her mother, Hasna Salique, and two brothers, Uchchall and Shochall. They settled in London’s East End, where Salique was bought up. Her father first worked as a waiter, then opened up a tailoring workshop before running a restaurant.
Flourishing life journey
Salique attended Raine’s Foundation School and has three A-levels in Music, English and Arts. She enrolled at the University of Leeds to pursue a degree in music and concentrated on her singing career.
In 1985, she became the lead singer of the first UK Bangladeshi musical group, Dishari Shilpi Ghosthi, a group originally founded in 1979 by her father — Abdus Salique.
Shapla’s first mainstream Bengali song ‘Ziola’ was released in the UK in 1996, under the music label ‘Journeys by DJ’. 'Ziola’ was remixed by Judge Jules for his album ‘Dance Wars. ‘Ziola’ was followed by two diverse but equally well received solo albums; ‘Siyono na Siyona’ in 1997, a traditional folk oriented Bengali album, and in 2002, the Hindi pop album ‘Lai Lai’, produced and composed by Bappi Lahiri.
Shapla performed at many exalted venues including, the Royal Albert Hall, Hammersmith Apollo, Royal Ascot, the Barbican, and most recently at BBC Radio London, Houses of Parliament, Hackney Empire and at London’s South Bank.
Shapla is currently sharing her native folk songs with a new audience and opening her music to contemporary interpretations, with a combination of jazz and soul.
Salique is the singer, songwriter and harmonium player for her band. Other members of the band are Alok Verma (tabla and percussion), Dion Palumbo (acoustic guitar), Mak Murtic (saxophone), Suroj Sureshbabu (electric and acoustic guitar) and Sam Bailey (double bass).
Shapla released her third album, No Boundaries in April 2016. Her new album has been well received all over the world.