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Shaparoa – Stay


“Music is the language of emotions,” Emmanuel Kant said. At the same time though, music seems less capable of describing rapid changes in emotions. Other art forms, like movies or paintings, can more easily portray different emotions – sometimes even on the same canvas or image. But my perception of what music can do changed when I heard Shaparoa’s debut single “Stay”. First it is a sad, almost desperate piece – and then, like magic, the atmosphere turns in less than five seconds. Shaparoa has delivered a different and thought-provoking single, which seems to answer one of the biggest questions in rock history: “Should I stay or should I go?”

Shaparoa is a German artist, guitarist, bassist, and composer living in Berne, Switzerland, and Madrid, Spain. After a long musical journey through jazz, pop, funk, and soul, Shaparoa now produces tracks based on acoustic guitar somewhere between electro, ambient, and film music.

Shaparoa ha just released a new EP  called “Pelarte”. Listen to it here

“Stay” starts with an in medias res effect. When you push play, you are suddenly in the middle of something. Based on the title, it is natural to think that it is a painful goodbye. There’s an utter sadness to the piano melody. It has the structure of improvisation, while the strings are dark and surprisingly sharp. We also understand the gray cover artwork, which is very in tune with the overall atmosphere at this stage. Also, notice the textures; Is it rain? Or tears dripping?

Then out of nothing comes the sound of a guitar. It cuts thought and drives away the darkness. From one moment to the next, the whole atmosphere shifts effortlessly. The guitar is easygoing and light – and there is even a gentle rhythm, underlining the new vibe. Intuitively we understand that the staying part has been settled. Now there is not a cloud in the sky, and happiness is restored. I like how the piece develops while at the same time staying true to the ambient guitar vibe. It has a lovely meditative atmosphere.

Don Marquis said that “Happiness is the interval between periods of unhappiness.” That is very true when talking about “Stay” too. Nearer the end, the guitar melody changes a bit before the sad piano and strings from the beginning are back in force. Complete darkness seems to swallow the melody, drowning the guitar and everything else. Spoiler alert; “Stay” does not end on a high note.

Shaparoa has delivered a well-made, interesting, and bold first single. It is not easy listening, mainly due to the beginning and end. But in this is something existential; beginnings and endings are rarely happy. Is “Stay” about asking someone to stay, or is it about life and death? You decide. Shaparoa’s music makes you think. That is, I’m sorry to say, quite rare these days.

For more information and music samples, visit shaparoa.com