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Shrine to a Goddess: Tash Sultana Sells Out the Shrine Expo Hall in Los Angeles

Tash Sultana
FEATURED IMAGE: RODNEY CAMPOS

I first heard about Tash Sultana a few years ago from a friend giving her high enough praise to crown them a genius, always the skeptic, I gave her a brief listen and certainly heard something special but didn’t pay it the mind I should have until this year. Tash’s first time playing Los Angeles in 2017, they had an audience of 300 people. Not bad for an artist that earned their chops the hard way, busking back home in Melbourne, Australia. This time around, after the release of 2018’s phenomenal Flow State, Tash sold out the Shrine Expo Hall to a lucky lot of Angelinos who got to see what was nothing short of a goddess in our presence.

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Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

I say this with as little hyperbole as possible, Tash Sultana embodies bliss and transcendence to a point that they vaguely have a quality that is not human or of this Earthly plain. Identifying as non-binary, Tash rejects labels like female, so perhaps goddess doesn’t serve them any better but because a God is not a he or she but rather an it, I will submit that a goddess is just as much an it as Tash Sultana is a they. Tash’s gender is closer to the wind than it is to nail-polish or dresses and high heels.

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Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

I don’t give Tash this much praise for any other reason than the music makes me feel a certain special way that connects me to something beyond the material world. The voice that comes out that body is strong, mellow, fierce, tender, spiritual, and real. It’s a voice that is so blissful it feels like Tash is singing in nature’s own voice. The various instruments Tash plays combine together and sort of form an orb of Tash’s own essence around them. They glow with talent so true you can almost visibly, tangibly, see it.

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Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

At only 23, Tash’s wisdom is beyond their years. But how does this happen? Someone so young develops talent and mystique such as this, where you got a 31 year old man, calling them a Goddess? Well, I think there are various factors that contribute to Tash’s extraordinary essence. And that essence is being an outsider that overcame their perils to emerge a hero and guide people.

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash went through a drug psychosis at the age of 17. Perhaps, this psychosis acted as a conduit that opened up the doors of perception in her mind. It’s a cycle all the shaman go through. To speak in terms of hero archetypes, this experience combined with the hard life of being a struggling street musician, put her on a “hero-journey” that rewarded Tash with a boon to give the world upon returning from her adventure. That boon was their music. You listen to Tash’s songs and you don’t hear the pain of those years so much as the wisdom that they derived from the pain. Songs like “Salvation” communicate a transcendent message by strictly dealing with the personal.

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

“Guess I’m just changing with the wind
Turning in a different direction again and again and again
No, I’m sorry, I don’t have to spell it out for you, my friend
‘Cause I just got a few things I gotta get off my chest
I know it’s hard to digest
Why don’t you come inside and pull up a chair?
Turn the music up loud and sit over there
Don’t you see I got myself into a bit of a pickle over here?
Why don’t you invite the devil inside
To dance around my living room?
Only got a table for two
I put my face inside my hands
‘Cause I fucking hate the things you do

 

I said the road is long
Keep carrying on
I don’t need your loving for my salvation
I found myself between the dirt and desperation
I don’t need you for my own validation
I said the road is long
Keep carrying on
I don’t need your loving for my salvation
I found myself between the dirt and desperation
I don’t need you for my own validation”

 

Salvation, Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Opening for Tash was Ocean Alley, an Australian rock band that incorporates plenty of reggae and 70’s rock to their approach. Their music made plenty of sonic waves that the audience glided and surfed to a chill, mellow state. Covering Player’s classic “Baby Come Back”, I understood very quickly that this was the emergence of an old sound that has found new ears to bring to the party.

The Shrine

Tash Sultana

Right from the get go, Tash played an amazing set that spanned every sort of vibe, emotion, and instrument, all placed strategically around them with a sacred Om strewn upon the main console. You see a display like this, where one person conducts so much spiritual electricity, and of course, you have to think genius at some point of the show. Trumpets, drums, keys, and guitar were just some of the instruments used. As a guitarist, Tash is able to communicate emotion through riffs and notes so purely it’s as if they’re channeling Jimi Hendrix. Again, I’m not being hyperbolic, you feel it when you see Tash live. 

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Moments of the set that stood out to me were “Salvation”, an extended, tender version of “Notion”, all the straight-jamming Tash did on the guitar, and just simply watching Tash hop between all the instruments and hearing them sync together so perfectly.

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana

Words by: Rob Shepyer

Photos by: Rodney Campos

 

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