British born Suki Osman's music is unique. It's simple, yet imbued with tunes of different musical genres

From performing in Berlin to learning Turkish-Kurdish music and singing styles in Istanbul and Carnatic music in Chennai, Suki Osman's journey as a musician has been varied and fascinating. I meet her at the hip Tap-house and bistro Sixty Four in the city, where Suki had performed to a young, music-savvy crowd.

After exchanging customary hellos, how-do-you dos and my name is thus and thus, I sit comfortably next to Suki, eager to know more about the singer. Listening to Suki talk about her travels is like cruising down a world you'd long to inhabit. The conversation begins with her performance at Berlin's squat bars. “These bars are occupied houses that are legal but, at the same time, not quite considered so. Through my music, I wanted to give a voice to this sub culture,” explains Suki who is of Malaysian-Tamil and British-Jewish descent. The name of the debut album of her electro-pop band (which she founded with her friend Daphney Owers) is “Late Night at Squat Bars”. Suki's other band, “Halves” — a serious, long-term project started in 2007 with another friend, pianist Maya Dalinsky — is close to her heart. “Halves” alludes to the multiplicity of the self. Our lyrics are tongue-in-cheek and clever.”

Suki's musical companions are only her melodious voice and guitar that come together to create magic. “I learned the guitar to facilitate my song writing. I define my music as soul with a small ‘S' as it comes straight from heart.”

Suki had an interest and talent in music from when she was a child. “Music has always been a part of me. I gave my first performance at Nottingham, along with a friend, when I was 15 or 16,” says the British born, Berlin-based Suki. She learnt Carnatic music to test the range of her voice.

Suki's openness to learn different musical traditions is one of her most admirable qualities. “I feel I have an open mind that allows itself an opinion. You should take yourself seriously, but ultimately not.” Her eyes light up when she speaks of Berlin. “I settled here five years ago. The city's relaxed and a great place to explore different ideas.” Suki next plans to visit Israel to immerse herself in its musical tradition.

Keywords: Suki Osman


Fascinating fusionFebruary 9, 2011

Words are his worldMarch 9, 2011

Men behind musicDecember 8, 2010