HomeMusicSaman Shahi’s “Another Coffee”

    Saman Shahi’s “Another Coffee”

    I have never reviewed a song quite like Saman Shahi’s imaginative composition “Another Coffee”. Shahi does not go it alone, however. He enlisted a cadre of top-flight musicians and a capable lyricist who further fleshed out his already impassioned musical vision. I am certain he did not have much difficulty convincing them. Shahi is a Toronto, Canada based Juno-nominated composer who has placed high in renowned competitions and commands respect from his musical peers. “Another Coffee” is a part of larger work, a track from one of three songs cycles released with his debut Breathing in the Shadows but works fine as a single cut. There is much here to admire and listen to again once you’ve finished. You cannot possibly digest this tune in a single pass.


    Tara Scott’s exploration of Shahi’s piano melodies is worth the price of purchase alone. Shahi’s experience as a pianist means that the song begins and ends with Scott’s ability to interpret Shahi’s intentions. We are in excellent hands. I balked a little at the outset as it is as clear as day from the beginning that buoyant, upbeat playing is missing from the piece. This is not a performance bathed in sunshine and affirmation. It has a strong theatrical leaning, instead, without ever sounding stagy or rehearsed. It makes for gripping listening to hear the obvious skill going into this song without it ever laboring with a premeditated or false feel. It’s throbbing with emotion.

    Fabian Arciniegas’ singing is essential for that. Working in a lower vocal register as he does may smack of an affectation to some listeners, but I hear it as totally honest. This is a singer who is extending himself in a meaningful way to help frame the song in a memorable light rather than thinking things through too much and the lower register locks into the lyrical mood. Jelena Ciric’s writing for the song reaches impressive heights without ever icing listeners out of the experience. Balancing the distinctly literary ambitions that we hear in the lyrics with serving up writing capable of reaching a wide audience is no small thing, but Ciric makes it sound easy.

    The song is the right length for its ambitions. It doesn’t hide those ambitions and certainly strikes a different “pose” than your customary pop song. “Another Coffee”, however, isn’t so alien to a pop fan’s listening experiences that they’ll feel baffled hearing the performance. Shahi’s composition walks the knife-edge between art and everyday entertainment without ever erring too far to one side or the other. It definitely lit a fire in me to hear both the entirety of the Orbit song cycle that it’s part of and all of Breathing in the Shadows as well. Shahi has gifts that deserve to be heard far and wide and “Another Coffee” likely does little more than scratch the surface of those talents. If so, that scratch will nonetheless leave a lasting mark on anyway who comes within the song’s reach. If not draw blood. 

    Trace Whittaker

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