Sarah Blasko, the multi-award winning, Australian singer-songwriter successfully launched her self-produced, I Awake album and European tour with her band of talented multi-instrumentalist musicians – David Symes, David Hunt, Benjamin Fletcher and Fredrik Rundqvist.
Istanbul’s Babylon music venue provided the ideal setting for Sarah’s mesmerising performance style. Sarah’s angelic vocals accompanied with her talented four-piece band, entwined beautifully with the Byzantine-like backdrop and ‘wow-factor’ lighting.
We were treated to a mix of lyrically sublime songs of love, heartache and motivation. Starting with coveted tracks such as Explain and We Won’t Run, Sarah then launched into the new album with the title track, I Awake.
I Awake, with commanding drums and powerful lyrics, showed the determination of a woman learning from the past and taking charge of her future. The reflective Bury This, accompanied with the evocative vocals of Slavic singers, left the crowd captivated. The frustrations of love and heartache were felt throughout God-fearing and Fool and Sarah had the crowd besotted with an intimate spotlight performance of Illusory Light. Finishing with, Not Yet seemed poetic really for a crowd who, with elated applause, showed they wanted more.
Sarah proved in Istanbul – the city that is a melting pot of inter-continental influences – that her music can transcend a variety of cultures and languages. The people at Babylon who had not heard Sarah’s music before shared comments between tracks like, “Sarah is my new favourite!” and, “She’s amazing!” and, “Thank you for inviting me to hear her!” I also saw Turkish lovers embrace to Sarah’s haunting “ oooooo-ooooos” with eyes closed and smiles of satisfaction. Yes, Sarah conquered the hearts of Istanbul.
For me, I have long loved Sarah’s ability to produce honest soundtracks for life and have followed her since her first album, The Overture & the Underscore (2004). Her new album is no exception – in fact today in Istanbul is no exception too. From atop a hill of a sunny, breezy Istanbul, the tracks of I Awake are playing out across the Bosphorus from my home. The soaring violins of Here and An Arrow choreograph the birds sweeping in the Bosphorus breeze. The softness of All of Me and New Land remind me of why I am here and I Awake and An Oyster, A Pearl motivate me to overcome my fears and make the most of what’s ahead of me in this foreign land. (Thank you Sarah, you inspired me to awaken this week).
I Awake is Sarah’s 4th critically acclaimed album and was recorded in Stockholm and Bulgaria with the 52-piece Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra. To celebrate the release, Sarah will perform 14 shows in April across Europe in the UK, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Poland. Buy your tickets here.
I Awake is Sarah’s most brilliant masterpiece of lyrics and music yet. A tribute to her past and a celebration of where she is going. I Awake and her début in Istanbul is perhaps a sign that Sarah has just began …and I can’t wait to see what she produces next.