During the long winter months, I sometimes wonder what I was thinking when I decided to move back to Regina six years’ ago. A small prairie city, Regina is decidedly flat, usually windy and, as we have just experienced, winters can be brutal.
Last night I was reminded of one of the reasons why I call Regina home – I attended a wonderful concert by the Sabir Sisters at The Exchange, a funky local venue where many a good concert is held. Besides an incredibly vibrant and active music scene, there is a special openness and warmth to prairie people. We take time for each other and pay attention to the things that matter in life … like friends, music and hugs.
Shamma, the eldest of the four performing sisters, is my fiddle teacher and a delightful friend. We were all eager to hear Shamma perform alongside her sisters and to meet them. Since the fall, Shamma has been living in BC and we fiddling people have missed her terribly.
Thankfully, she has made trips back here where we cram in lessons and always, always have a wonderful visit. Shamma has been an inspiration for our Sunday afternoon fiddle group and has kept us supplied with new tunes and imbued us with her infectious enthusiasm for fiddle and for life.
Last night, we arrived at the concert early, knowing that The Exchange would be jam packed with a boisterous audience. We were treated to a rousing show opening by several of Shamma’s talented young fiddle students, including two of my good friends’ teenage daughters, Brigid and Sarah. It was special to see them perform with such skill and confidence alongside their friends.
When the Sabir Sisters took the stage, we lost ourselves in several hours of amazing Celtic fiddle music. There is something infectious about their playing. From the first note on, it was all we could do not to get up and dance.
From jigs, reels, schottishes and waltzes to the haunting Neil Gow’s Lament for the Death of his Second Wife, it was a remarkable performance.These sisters possess incredible talent – they all have voices that can interpret Celtic songs with passion and style.
Besides the fiddle, each sister can play a variety of instruments. Shamma, for instance, played fiddle, mandolin and cello last night, while Roxanna accompanied on the piano for several sets. Laila gave us a taste of her incredible step dancing.
And throughout the concert, it was obvious from the sisters’ banter and light-hearted teasing, that there is much camaraderie and affection between them. At the same time, each sister has a distinctive style and it was a joy to see how perfectly they blend together. Guitarist Jaime White, with his easy-going manner added his style to the evening. Thankfully, Ray Bell was able to lend his guitars when Jaime’s failed to arrive in time for the concert.
It was a great homecoming for Shamma. From the crowd’s enthusiasm, it was obvious that we all have tremendous admiration and love for this special woman who has shared her talents and has opened her beautiful and generous heart to us.