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‘I reach a trance state. I’m almost sleepwalking’: the mystical jazz of Nala Sinephro

Under a cold, moonlit sky in south London’s Horniman Museum conservatory, Nala Sinephro is cradling her pedal harp like a child softly resting on her shoulder. With her eyes closed behind her wire-rimmed glasses, she begins to delicately pull her hands along its strings, creating enveloping glissandos that fill the candlelit room. In the corner of her eye a tear glistens.

This is the first full-band gig Sinephro has played since the release of her highly acclaimed debut album Space 1.8 (“a benchmark in ambient jazz … less like a player seated at her instrument than a source of light”, rhapsodised Pitchfork). “These were tears of happiness I was trying to hide, since that was my favourite show I’ve ever done. I could feel the presence of everyone surrounding me,” Sinephro says a few days after the event. “I was crying because I couldn’t believe the record is out and that I am living the gift of being able to make my music. Playing the harp is a form of therapy for me. I close my eyes, my hands work and I process the emotions I’m feeling without needing to say anything.”

Read the interview in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 17/11/21]

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