ASHK! 

 Deep Roots Music Festival in Nova Scotia has just finished and it feels like the season has changed for real now. It was so wonderful to play the festival with my sister Kamila and Ken Shorley.


 This summer has been a special time of playing music with my sisters, enjoying sweet lakes, walks in the woods and watching little children grow up. Somehow slower and more introspective than past summers, still, lots has happened. The most exciting being the formation of a new band, ASHK, with a show that explores all of our collective musical experience. The four of us, Ariana, Kamila, Ken Shorley and myself have all devoted our lives to musical study and performance, and music has taken us around the world and given us so much. In ASHK, we can relive it all and share it!
We did one performance over the summer - and it was an intense experience putting it all together. Vocal harmonies, many instruments and styles, music from around the world in ten different languages...  and we will be back at Denton Hall in Wolfville on October 22nd at 8:00pm. It is wild ride, this show, and I can't wait to be part of it again.






A Summer/Fall Update! 

The summer has been busy. A new project. Two new little family members. An amazing family wedding. And now, finally after much waiting and creating... A new tour bus!!

After leaving Asia last spring, I landed at the Banff Center in the Rocky Mountains for one of the most intense musical experiences of my life (and that is saying something!). It was a three week residency in Persian and Eastern music with my teacher from Mumbai, Dhruba Ghosh, as well as Yogesh Samsi, Kiya and Zia Tabassian, Didem Basar, and Charbel Rouhana. I learned so much in a short time and I would have loved a year off to process!  But there was more to come...

Immediately after I left Banff, Ken Shorley and Heidi Kalyani met me in Victoria where we started a tour of the beautiful West Coast with Blue Lotus Trio. We played in the loveliest of spaces, yoga studios, halls, homes and community centers. It was a magical experience touring around the islands of BC and meeting such wonderful people!

Then I was joined by my long time friend, Daunt Lee. We used to hang and play music and build guitars together in Newfoundland when we were just starting out. Now after both of us have spent many years in Asia, (he lived in Japan) we are back in Canada and playing music together! And what a Joy! We toured across Canada, reconnecting with dear friends both old and new, playing in wonderful venues and creating a new show together.

On coming home to Nova Scotia, I taught a course on World Music at Acadia University with Ken Shorley. What a joy to be able to share all of these cultures of music that I have lived and worked in. Indian, Chinese, Persian, Celtic, Latin American. We listened, found connections, learned about culture through music. Another intense three weeks!

Then summer happened, my niece and nephew were born. My sister got married. I swam and jammed and spent time putting a new show together with Daunt as well as launching our new small business; Sahara Jane Collections. This is a line of Jewellery, scarves and shawls that Ji Myeng Kang and I started in India through designing and purchasing beautiful quality pieces made by our friends and communities there. Now Daunt has joined the project to help create colourful elegant pop up stores and markets around the East Coast. Every sale helps to support children in need in Varanasi though a project called DARE.

So as winter approaches, we are preparing for some upcoming tours in Asia and we will be heading out to Christmas Markets to sell these beautiful pieces that I brought from India.

Our tour bus is going to be a pop up shop for the fall, his name in Benji. I think he deserves his own post! Well, everything that has happened could have had it’s own post, but I was just way too busy to write. Soon I will introduce the lovely sweet bus.. when I have finished painting the interior!! 

Wow. Life is full and wonderful. It is a treat to be in Nova Scotia for so long. We will be back in Asia this winter and back in Canada next summer. I hope to see you all along the way! 

Cross Canada Tour  

Canada is unbelievably beautiful. We just left Lillooet where every time we would exit a building, or even close our eyes and open them again, we were amazed again at the natural beauty around us. What a magical place. In fact it has been like that everywhere we have been so far on this tour!

Here are the dates for the rest of the tour which will take Daunt Lee and myself from Vancouver to Halifax and many places in between...

Friday May 15 - Nelson BC  at Cafe Momento, concert starting at 7:30

Saturday, May 16 - Nelson BC at Cottonwood Farmers market, the first of the year!  10am-12pm

Sunday, May 17th - Winlaw BC at Mama Sita's - we will play an evening of Indian and fusion music while they prepare a special Indian menu!

Thursday, May 21 - Kaslo BC at Blue Belle Bistro 7:30-9:30 - for an evening of original music!

Friday, May 22 - Driftwood Concert House - Kimberly BC - 7:30 - A special and intimate venue, we are so looking forward to this magical show.

Saturday, May 23 - Lethbridge, Alberta - Owl Acoustic Lounge - 9:30 pm

Sunday, May 24 - Alberta - House concert - email saharajanemusic@gmail.com for details

Tuesday, May 26th - Calgary Alberta - House Concert - email saharajanemusic@gmail.com for details

Thursday, May 28th - Saskatoon, SK - House Concert - email saharajanemusic@gmail.com for details

Sunday, May 31st - Kenora, ON - The Bijou Steakhouse - 152 Main St. S. - 8:00pm

Tuesday June 2 - Ear Falls, ON - House Concert - email saharajanemusic@gmail.com for details

Thursday June 4th - Thunder Bay, ON - Red Lion Smokehouse with Outside the Lines!! 8:30 pm

Sunday June 7th - Toronto, ON - 8:00pm at Majlis Art Garden, a beautiful venue with roses in bloom!

Tuesday, June 9th - Ottawa, ON - at Avant Garde with Tea and Bread ( Kyla Tilley and Ed Hudson) this will be a happy hour newfoundland reunion!  Can't wait! 5:30-7:30

Wednesday, June 10th - Montreal, QC - at Cabigi - with Tea and Bread again, and another bunch of East Coasters no doubt.




BC TOUR WITH BLUE LOTUS TRIO!!!!!  



 Ken and I at the Victoria Folk Music Society!




This April I am touring with my world fusion ensemble Blue Lotus Trio on Canada's West Coast!!  In May I will be joined by multi-instrumentalist Daunt Lee from Newfoundland to tour our world folk sound back across Canada!

FOR MAY/JUNE DATES SEE http://saharajanemusic.blogspot.ca/p/calendar.html

WITH BLUE LOTUS TRIO

SUNDAY APRIL 5
Concert in Victoria | 7:30 pm

FRIDAY APRIL 10
Concert on Salt Spring Island | 8pm
Please join us on Salt Spring Island at The Art Barn, Golden Tree Farm, 150 Suffolk Road.
$15 (suggested donation)

SATURDAY APRIL 11
Concert in Vancouver with NAAD | 7:30 pm (doors 7:00)
Blue Lotus Trio is excited to be sharing the stage with the Vancouver-based group Naad for an evening of world music "sonic journeys". For tickets and details:
http://caravanbc.com/2015/02/sonic-journey-blue-lotus-trio-naad-ensemble

THURSDAY APRIL 16
Concert in Steveston | 7:30 pm
I'll be playing at the Steveston Folk Guild with Ken Shorley! http://www.stevestonfolk.net/

FRIDAY APRIL 17
Concert on Hornby Island | 8pm
Blue Lotus Trio is playing on Hornby Island at Sun Door Yoga, 8120 Central Rd. Hornby Island.
$15 (suggested donation)
http://www.sundooryoga.com

SATURDAY APRIL 18
Yoga Class with Live Music on Hornby Island | 10 - 11:30am
Blue Lotus Trio is pleased to be collaborating with Sun Door Yoga for a special yoga class (taught by Eila). Renew and nourish your spirit with a beautiful, uplifting morning of yoga with Indian- and Middle Eastern-inspired music! Sun Door Yoga, 8120 Central Rd. Hornby Island. $20.
http://www.sundooryoga.com

MONDAY APRIL 20
Frame Drumming Workshop in Courtenay | 6:30pm - 8pm
This hands-on workshop will focus on exploring the beautiful resonance of the frame drum. Participants will learn basic hand and finger techniques, along with a selection of traditional, sacred and dance rhythms from the Middle East. $25 (includes evening concert). Creekside Commons, 2202 Lambert Dr, Courtenay. Produced in collaboration with Monica Hofer.

MONDAY APRIL 20
Mini Concert in Courtenay | 8:30 - 9:30pm
Please join us for an intimate studio concert! $10 (suggested donation). Creekside Commons, 2202 Lambert Dr, Courtenay.

TUESDAY APRIL 21
Concert at Hensbury House in Victoria 
1218 Fairfield Rd. 7:00pm
Email me at saharajanemusic@gmail.com for more details

WEDNESDAY APRIL 22
House Concert in Duncan
House concert!  Email me at saharajanemusic@gmail.com for details

FRIDAY APRIL 24
Concert on Cortes Island | 8pm
Join Blue Lotus Trio if you can on beautiful Cortes Island for a lovely evening of eastern inspired music. The Gorge Community Hall. $15 (suggested donation)

SATURDAY APRIL 25
Drumming Workshop on Cortes Island | 2 - 4pm
Learn traditional Turkish and Arab rhythms, as well as popular belly dance grooves! $25 (includes drum and dance jam following workshop). The Gorge Community Hall, Cortes Island. Bring a darbuka, frame drum, tambourine, small djembe or another fave!




The Music Lesson 

Learning music teaches us to listen, to feel, to understand the connections between things. It goes far beyond studying a method, an instrument or learning to perform. These are the tools we have to try to get to that place. The place we know but find it hard to talk about. A place without constraints of time or purpose, a place of freedom, peace, beauty and expression.


Early morning in Mumbai. The air is almost cool. The birds, the traffic, the people are all just beginning to fill the day with sound and movement. I watch as the air turns thick and warm, listen as sounds grow into a constant drone to accompany my practice. I am back in the first city that I came to in India. Somehow all this bustle, shocking, beautiful, dirty, relaxed, dangerous, calm, fills me with a familiarity. I can not help but feel that my heart rests in this city. It is here that I am greatly challenged, and here that I grow so much.

I have come back for more. To listen to amazing musicians. To learn from a great and inspiring teacher. To be still in the midst of all this chaos and find that centred place where music and joy come from.

I came here to study music. I have been playing music for as long as I can remember, and sure, I have been performing since I was very young, but I have never stopped feeling like there is so much to learn. It was after a few years on the road playing folk music that I went to University to complete a fine arts degree. In a way that was like starting over. I had to break down my sense of self in order to do that. And it was hard, but well worth it. I graduated as a different person. More engaged in the world, and less concerned with who I was. And that study opened the door to Indian music. The door I had been pressing my ear against since I was a child. But oh, it was another painful process to realize that though I felt I knew music, I knew nothing about this completely different form and aesthetic. I had to start again as a child, learning beside children. From that broken down ego, came a new joy and confidence. And a flood of creativity. And now, more years have passed, and I find myself at another beginning. This time I won't fight it. Again it is hard, but this time I know what is coming.

As a young musician, I was taught the form, though at the time I did not see it as form. I played and created my own sound. In university, I discovered how to study, and how to work hard. As a cross cultural student, I learned how to let go of myself and to surrender in order to understand a new form. Now there is something else. I am learning to feel each note on a deeper level. I am learning how to listen, not only to the subtle nuances of the music, but to my own inner filters. To see how my mind has interpreted what I hear. It is an incredibly awakening experience to become conscious of the way our minds affect what is. To more deeply understand how two perspectives can see the same thing completely differently, how two people can hear the same sound and perceive it with totally different meanings. And how even beneath that, when I try to be completely open, and to repeat what I hear precisely as it is, there is still my own accent, built from years of listening and repeating, almost imperceptible to me.. until it is pointed out. And then I see.. wow.  I am made up of layers and layers of influences, judgements, thoughts, practice, repetitions..

And underneath all that? An incredible joy. Wonderment. Huge appreciation for this amazing way of expressing that we call music. We are so blessed. And I am honoured and humbled to be able to be here. 

India, China, Canada and back again... 



An amazing summer in Nova Scotia, Canada wraps up a year of musical adventures with my bands and my solo show. I feel blessed to have been able to tour in India and China with Ask Your Sister, to have reconnected with Blue Lotus Trio for shows and workshops in Canada and to have shared the stage with so many great musicians from all over the world, including Daunt Lee (Japan/Newfoundland) who will be joining me on tour next spring!



Playing with Blue Lotus Trio always busts our hearts open. This summer, we recorded 3 new tracks, preparing for our tour in British Columbia next April and our upcoming album. 



Ask Your Sister recorded a new CD this past spring which is getting lots of play on CBC radio and we are looking forward to reuniting for festivals and to share music together again next summer.  As always, when we are apart, I am missing my sisters!



This past year I have had the incredible fortune to be touring the world, playing great stages with my loved ones. This fall, I am back in Asia for some intensive study of Indian music and to spend some time composing. I look forward to reuniting with the Canadian folk circuit next spring as I tour my own show across Canada with support from Blue Lotus and Daunt Lee!






The Music Business - The World 


Some people say that to "make it" in the business of music, you have choose one path and stick to it, perfect it, and eventually your time will come. Others say you must diversify and be able to play whatever is asked and go where ever the work is. It is funny that this conversation follows me everywhere I go, though I'm quite sure I don't bring it up. I suppose my very presence brings it up. And I appreciate that people who know me want me to do well and take an interest. Lately I am getting constant emails from CD Baby, and Radio Airplay and other online music platforms that are giving endless advice about how to get more fans, write a hit song, promote and become a mega success. This feels rather less sincere, but still sometimes can be helpful. Usually though, this discussion is the air that I breathe and the water I swim in, it is probably the same for any business. I am polite, I read the occasional article in my inbox, I agree with pretty much everyone. And still my life feels like the great unknown. We can all say after the fact what worked or didn't as far as making a living or having an effect, but business and art are always pushing and pulling each other. This is a good thing. It means that no one really knows. As soon as you know, the game changes, and advice becomes dim. The only things we can try to know as musicians, are ourselves in the midst of pressure to become otherwise, and those who really listen to the music.

So my life in music is not a plan for the future, it is embracing the moment. Every day asks something particular, and every day I try to respond fully. Today I am loving Beijing. I must practice a song in Chinese for a show with Ask Your Sister. Today I am missing my home in India. Today I am looking forward to being back at home in Canada, where soon I will have the chance to perform with Blue Lotus, my world fusion band. And always, I am writing and keeping the joys and heartbreaks with me in song form. They make the show. Today I feel both terribly diverse and completely focussed. Perhaps that is what everyone has been trying to tell me. Perhaps that is what it takes to make it. In anything. 

Ask Your Sister 


This is a momentous moment in my musical life. It has been a long time coming. Finally after years of travelling, learning, experimenting with different styles (of music and life..) everything seems to be bringing me home. Back to my roots.. as complex and varied as they are. And back to my home. These last few years I have been spending a lot more time in Nova Scotia, Canada in the amazing music scene that is there. A few months at a time even :) 

And now, after dreaming about it my whole life, I am joining up with my sisters and brother to take our new band, and our new sounds, encompassing all of our collective experiences and all that is "home" on the road!!!!

Ask Your Sister is the four of us. Ariana, Andy, Kamila and myself. They are joining me in India this January and we are making a new show. The first performances will be here in India, then a tour in China before we land back in Canada to record a new album. I could not be happier. 

We made a video of the first song that we have written together. "Take a Little Step"

Go to AskYourSisterMusic.com and see the video!

Himalayan Hand Weaving 

I am back in India, this time in the Himalayas.. Manali to be specific. What a beautiful world. It has been too long since I wrote.. so for one post, there is too much to write about. Life here, life before I left canada... working with Blue Lotus and the way that feels like coming home... and ooh oohh  I haven't even mentioned the big new project that is brewing and is almost ready to be fully realized... you will have to ask your sister what that is. I will reveal it in a post very soon. Before that let's talk about Manali. Sheep. Mountains. Hand looms and weaving.


Some may have noticed that I am wearing this green woollen stole in a number of photos taken over this past year in a bunch different places. I have travelled too much this year perhaps, and this stole has come with me everywhere. It is so soft, and so warm and so light, I always love having it with me. Well, this is the where it was made, the Kullu region in the Himalayas. The hand weaving and traditional designs from here are famous for the craftsmanship and quality. I love this stole so much that when Ji Myeng asked if I wanted to work with him to send some back to canada, I was all in. Sometimes I sell jewellery that my friends make, or scarves that Ji and I have designed at shows in Canada, so those who come to my shows or blue lotus shows will have a chance to see them and buy them. There is also another opportunity, Heidi Kalyani from Blue Lotus is organizing TAZA, Indian Gift Bazaar in Wolfville, NS. If you can make it, there is going to be amazing stuff there.. Check it out:
www.tazabazaar.tumblr.com



Blue Lotus 

This month I have been hiding away in a magical music house working on the concert that we will present this Sunday, July 28th at the Horton Community Centre. It will be the debut of our group Blue Lotus, consisting of Ken Shorely, Heidi Kalyani and I. 

We will present an intimate concert of songs and grooves, inspired by our passion for the sounds of India, Afghanistan, Persia and Turkey! We are so excited to finally be putting this project together as we have been talking about it for years and finally, it is the perfect moment!  Please come and join us after the days workshops mentioned below. The concert is at 7:30!


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Previous events

ASHK - An evening of World Music

Denton Hall, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS

ASHK is the latest project from the Nasr sisters and Ken Shorley. Ariana, Sahara, and Kamila Nasr, together with Ken Shorley are Wolfville locals who have all devoted their lives to music. Their curiosity and passion have taken them all over the world. They have learned from great teachers in many countries, and they now perform music in multiple languages and styles, playing a variety of instruments. The name of the group, ASHK, means “love” in Turkish and “tear” in Persian.

The show takes us on an international tour as we follow Ariana to France, Eastern Europe and beyond, hearing the sounds of Edith Piaf, the Roma, Israel, and Russia. We will join Sahara as she explores the music of India and Pakistan, the Sufi poetry of Rumi and as she crafts her own blend by mixing these styles with English folk music. Kamila will bring us to Portugal through the Fado style, to Brazil with hip hop and treat us to Chinese pop and Afghan-Celtic fusion. The versatile Ken Shorley will transport us to the Middle East, South Asia and Turkey as he flows effortlessly among instruments and styles.

The joy of the musicians is contagious as they share with the audience and each other the experience of learning music around the world. It is both enriching and uplifting to be part of this journey with them. ASHK is re-uniting for one last show this year at Acadia University’s Denton Hall on October 22 at 8:00pm. Tickets are $20 or $10 for students or underwaged. They are available in advance at The Box of Delights in Wolfville and online at www.ashk.ca

Ariana, Sahara and Kamila Nasr with Ken Shorley

Al Whittle Theatre, Main St. , Wolfville, NS

Join us for an evening of World Music as we come together to share the music that most inspires us!

House Concert with Sahara Jane

Wolfville, NS

This intimate matinee concert with start at 3:00pm and tickets will be by donation. It is a fund raiser for the children of DARE Varanasi who have asked me to come and see them and teach them music at the end of March.

It is my last show in Nova Scotia as I am leaving soon for India.

I will also have my mobile shop, Sahara Jane Collections, set up at 2:00pm so people can purchase beautiful woolen and silk shawls and brass jewellery with part of the proceeds going to support DARE.

For more info, call 902 993 0558

Kirtan singing and chanting

 —  —

Bishop Hall, Hwy #1 , Greenwich, NS

Please join us for an evening of uplifting and heart-opening kirtan-style singing and chanting

with Sahara Jane, Ken Shorley, Heidi Kalyani and others!

gentle yoga from 7:15 - 7:45 with Jenn Boutilier

Wednesday Jan 27th 7:15pm - 9:15pm Bishop Hall, Hwy #1 Greenwich

donations welcome (to help cover hall rental)

Contemplative Concert with Sahara Jane, Ken Shorley and Heidi Kalyani

Manning Memorial Chapel, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS

A one-hour late-night meditative improvisation presented in the beautiful resonance of Acadia University's Manning Chapel. This concert will feature Sahara Nasr on voice and sarangi, Heidi Kalyani on drones and percussion, and Ken Shorley on hand drums and percussion. This second concert (in a series of three) will be inspired by a shared love and passion for Indian and Middle Eastern music.

relax - restore - revitalize

The musicians will be intentionally hidden from view, in order to create a more immersive listening experience. Please join us for a journey of musical exploration - close your eyes, listen and enjoy!

admission is by free will offering

Yoga Mantra Workshop with Jenn Boutilier and Sahara Jane

 —  —

Bishop Hall, 10032 Highway #1, Greenwich, NS

Join us for a weekend of yoga, meditation, chanting, and silent reflection.

If you can't join us for the whole weekend, choose a 2 hour workshop (or a few) that fits into your schedule. There are 6 workshops in total. Each workshop consists of a yoga class and a mantra. Each yoga class has a theme that reflects the meaning of the mantra. For example, Lokah Samastah Sukino Bhavantu means "May all beings be happy, May all beings be peaceful". The yoga class for that workshop will focus on heart openers and we will dedicate that practice to other people.

Throughout the weekend, we will not be chanting to any particular deities (with the exception of Aum Namah Shivaya, which Jenn was originally taught meant "I bow to the Divine teacher within and without"). We tried to choose mantras that people from all religious and spiritual backgrounds could feel comfortable chanting. Jenn will provide a booklet with the Sanskrit words and the English translations.

For those that are interested in chanting, but not so interested in yoga, there will be a Kirtan on Sunday from 3:30-4:30. All are welcome to attend.

There is something for EVERYONE! :)

With the exception of chanting (and the teachers' guidance), we will be observing silence for the duration of the weekend. Please be mindful of this when you enter the hall.

If you have any questions or you wish to register, please contact Jenn at jennergy2012@gmail.com

Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti

Sahara Jane with Blue Lotus Trio

Tea North, 2606 Agricola St., Halifax

Blue Lotus Trio Live in Concert & A Tea Tasting.

This world fusion ensemble will take you on a musical journey inspired by a passion for Indian music, Sufi poetry and Turkish rhythms.

Tea North will provide a selection of teas chosen especially for the evening and served throughout the concert.

Blue Lotus Trio is Sahara Jane Nasr (voice, sarangi, guitar, frame drum) Ken Shorley (tabla, darabuka, riq, frame drums, saz, voice) Heidi Kalyani (shruti box, tamboura, frame drum) www.bluelotustrio.com

Hosted at Tea North 2606 Agricola St. (inside FRED. Salon). http://www.teanorth.ca/ https://www.facebook.com/TeaNorth

Doors open at 7:30pm Concert will begin at 8:00pm

Tickets are available as of Wednesday November 4th. To purchase, pop into Tea North, 2606 Agricola St, or send an email to info@teanorth.ca and tell us you want a ticket, we will figure it out! :)

Advance $10, $12 at the door.