by Cindy Ly Rozas
Sevdaliza, the Iranian born Dutch musician, dancer and visual artist that’s mesmerizing the music world with her unique avante gard glitch pop, performed her first U.S. show to a sold-out crowd at the Echoplex in Los Angeles this past Monday night. Originally scheduled for an earlier March date, Sevdaliza’s imminent L.A. debut was delayed by the administration’s travel ban, which directly affected nationals of seven muslim majority countries, including Sevda Alizadeh’s native Iran. The travel ban, which went on to inspire the track Bevin, was one way for Sevdaliza to transform her frustrations and disappointments with our current state of affairs into art.
Sevdaliza is actually really great at transforming. She transformed from child refugee to star basketball player on the Dutch national team. From then, only 4 years ago, Sevdaliza transformed herself into a producer and musician, DIY’ing every aspect of her career so far. Just this past April, she transformed the release of her first full length album, into a surreal visual experience; “ISON” manifested in physical form.
It’s hard for any international artist to tour the U.S. without a full length album behind them, but Sevdaliza could have totally done it solely based on the strength of her singles and EPs she’s been steadily dropping since 2014. Industrial R&B with a futuristic aesthetic.
Saying her show was slightly anticipated would be an understatement. As soon as the lights dimmed, the crowd started cheering loudly, cells phones at the ready for the appearance of this mythical creature. A full instrumental intro by the band later and she was still nowhere to be found. But we weren’t ready for what was about to happen. No one came prepared to pick up their jaws off the floor. On stage, Sevdaliza transforms into her music. She closes her eyes and feels every note in her body. She dances, glides, twitches, contorts, and sways with each tempo change. Live music manifested through her dance.
The whole room couldn’t take their eyes off of her. I go to shows often, and always see tons of phones recording a Snapchat and Instagram story, but I believe I didn’t see as many phones up as usual. Not because the crowd didn’t want to share what was happening, but because everyone was too transfixed by what was going on stage to even pull out their phones. She transformed us social media addicted people into actual human beings stepping away from our screens and enjoying an actual human connection.
Sevdaliza has discussed concerns about the relationship between technology and humans before, and she sees herself as an artist with a mission. [Technology] “truly enables us to change public discourse on critical issues. It is my responsibility, and the least I can do, to create art that can promote or support transformational change.”
And transformed we were.
Cindy Ly Rozas is an LA-based live show music aficionado. Her earliest memories of live music include cumbia dancing with her parents at El Chipi Chipi, and sitting on her uncle’s shoulders at La Quinta Vergara for an Illapu concert. You can catch Cindy singing or dancing or simply watching one of the many shows coming up the Southern California area.