Bahasa Malay Set to Enchant Distant Murmurs (Interview)

Bahasa Malay, artistic moniker of Nora Karailieva, will be showcasing her eclectic mix of experimental, electronic and global folk beats tomorrow at RTRFM’s Distant Murmurs.

Karailieva’s haunting, melodic, and mysterious sounds are in part influenced by her broad geographical trajectory. Born in Bulgaria, and moving to Montreal as a young teen, she was inspired by the musical diversity of her upbringing.

“Bulgarian music is very oriental in a way which has influenced my music a lot,” she said.

Since 2013, Karailieva has been based in Perth – a move she regards as the best in her life. Originally here on exchange in the final year of her Bachelors, the warm embrace of the local music scene made it impossible to leave.

“They immediately liked it, and I was immediately welcomed as if I was from here. It was the warmest thing people have done for me ever.”

“I’ve tried to leave a few times, but the musical community and people in general have made me want to stay for as long as possible.”

Whilst still experimental, Bahasa Malay’s second album Veshti offers a more conventional song construction than her debut Balkans’ heavy concentration on experimentalism, bending beats and Bulgarian sounds.

Like all of Bahasa Malay’s work, Veshti was recorded at Karailieva’s home not in the studio, offering a raw, realness to her sound.

“I always end up doing it myself at home and recording vocals either on the microphone or on the computer because I think it sounds a lot more realistic,” she said.

“I don’t think recording at a studio represents real life.”

The work Karailieva is most proud of is a recent track “Ruby Mix” on her Soundcloud, a ten-minute, hip-hop, electronic mix, complete with enchanting, moving and lush vocals.

“I think for the first time I wrote lyrics that actually meant something about what I was going through at that particular moment,” she said.

Feeling remains central to the Bahasa Malay experience, Karailieva credits Arabic music and Bulgarian folk as her most influential genres. Whilst Kuwait-born, New York based producer Fatima Al Qadiri’s work is a constant inspiration through its subversion of Arabic and Western culture, and focus on mixing heavy drums and quieter sounds.

“It’s definitely a sound that has remained in my unconsciousness, that I’ve generalised I think, and I’m trying to recreate in a way,” Karailieva said.

“To recreate the same feeling that I received from hearing her music.”

The primacy of musical connection and feeling amongst the audience is what Bahasa Malay’s set hopes to bring tomorrow at Distant Murmurs. A live Greek Bazouki and piano will accompany Karailieva’s mesmerising sounds on stage.

“It will be my first time playing with a band which is quite special for me,” she said.

For Karailieva, she wants her audience to connect with the way she personally felt when she produced her enchanting tracks.

“I hope for people to see something different, something that they might not be able to identify, and something that they remember.”

Catch Bahasa Malay at 4:40pm as a part of RTRFM’s Distant Murmurs at the Rosemount tomorrow.

Get Tickets:

Listen toVeshti:

Bahasa Malay’s Soundcloud: