Sahara Jane is a singer, songwriter and instrumentalist from Canada’s East Coast. Music has always been her currency as she travels the world on songs, melodies and stories.
“A good song is transformational in some way,” says Sahara Jane, “It changes your perspective, your mood, or inspires you further on your path. I’ve been on a lifelong musical journey, not just to perfect technique, but to connect to that central element that brings people and cultures together. Many roads lead to that place.”
Growing up with musical parents from both Afghanistan and Canada exposed Sahara Jane to a wide range of sounds and influences which have shaped her musical life. She toured Canada extensively in the early 2000s playing folk clubs and festivals with her sister Kamila. After years spent performing in the Canadian folk scene, Sahara Jane headed for India and became deeply immersed in Indian and Afghan classical music. She plays the sarangi, a haunting string instrument that was once popular in South Asia, but is now played by few.
Sahara Jane began her studies of South Asian music with sarangi maestro Ustad Sultan Khan in Mumbai in 2006, and later learned from master musicians Dhruba Ghosh and Tulika Ghosh in Mumbai, and musical mentor Joep Bor in Amsterdam.
Sahara Jane continues to perform, compose and connect with music scenes in India, China, Europe and Canada. She is often invited to be a panelist and guest lecturer to share her unique perspective and understanding of musical styles and cultures.
Since 2020, Sahara Jane has been back in Nova Scotia where she creates music and performs with her husband, renowned percussionist and multi-instrumentalist Ken Shorley. Their 2019 release, Between Worlds, is a fusion of Eastern and Western influences tied together with carefully crafted lyrics and deeply felt grooves. Between Worlds was very well received and has been played extensively on CBC radio.
Sahara Jane was recently nominated for an East Coast Music Award for her vocals and sarangi playing with her improv band, Quilting on their debut self-titled release on the Telephone Explosion record label.
Sahara Jane and Ken Shorley have played in festivals across Canada, including Deep Roots Music Festival, Sunfest, Mosaiq Multicultural Festival, Halifax Jazz Festival, St John’s Folk Festival, and Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival.