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Sometimes an artist emerges with a sound so different that it’s hard to figure out where it came from. Tiki Black is such an enigma, her unique voice and expressive keyboard style having led some to compare her to the poetic, soulful sound of Nina Simone or the narrative lyricism of Leonard Cohen. When you delve a little deeper into her background you realise this was never going to be someone who fitted easily into genre labels.

Born in Paris to Cameroonian parents, family hardship required her to be self-reliant from an early age. Constantly moving around and shifting between both countries, music provided a precious haven of consistency in her life. Tiki treasured the resonance she found in Cameroonian artists such as Manu Dibango and Eboa Lotin, and opened herself to the melancholic beauty of French Chanson, an influence also on the likes of Scott Walker, Terry Hall and Elvis Costello. Furthermore, when at the age of 14 she discovered there was a piano in her new school in Paris, she immersed herself in a musical instruction book donated by a friend and discovered the work of Chopin.

While the upheaval of regularly moving around proved unsettling, it also led her to embrace and explore music as a world beyond borders or boundaries. During a period of her childhood spent in Africa in the port of Douala, she fondly recalls hearing music from far-flung places like Latin and North America and going to watch Bollywood or Chinese films in local cinemas. Later she would reverently translate and study the lyrics of artists as diverse as Caetano Veloso, Bob Marley, Herbert Grönemeyer and John Lennon. As Tiki reflects, ‘If my music starts from personal experiences, it draws more universal lessons by looking across time and place at similar situations and emotions.’

Now resident in Manchester, Tiki’s stunning debut album ‘Out Of The Black’ on NO Sugar addEd Records is a remarkable collection of songs that celebrate both the strength and fragility of the human spirit. Enhanced by a delicate blend of Western and African rhythmic and stringed instruments, the songs and arrangements convey a singer-songwriter who has the ability to frame her music and lyrics in meticulous and intricate detail without ever losing an intense, twilight intimacy with the listener.

Tiki Black is currently completing her sophomore album due for release in 2020.

* Swollen – Finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest Session I (Sep 30, 2009)

* Out Of The Black – Winner Best Album FOLK/ SINGER-SONGWRITER – The Akademia Music Awards (Nov 2013)

* Out Of The Black album – Nominated, Fatea 2013 Best debut album – Fatea Awards 2013


Verse 1. I know of a mountain as high as our fears rise
And clothed of the many golden dresses of the same lies
And its first wrinkle settles in the cell where the why died
And swiftly deeply anchors where habits abide

Verse 2. I know of a fountain as low as our faith lies
It reflects the many promises of a higher prize
And the bait is taken in the cell where the why died
And leaves us hooked and hanging high and dry

Bridge. (Instrumental)

Verse 3. Our journey is unwritten yet the signs lead our lives
And the letter of the law rules while its spirit dies
Every shortcut leads us then to the cell where the why died
So did the why die so we can merely survive?


V1. (C G F G ) x2
C C Bb Bb
Chorus (C Bb C Bb ) x 2
B. (C Bb C Bb ) x 2

Verset 1: Je connais une montagne aussi haute que nos craintes peuvent grimper
Elle est vêtue des nombreuses robes d’or dont se parent les mensonges
Et sa première ride se creuse où le pourquoi se meurt
Et s’ancre rapidement et profondément où les habitudes demeurent
Écoutez …

Verset 2: Je connais une fontaine (dont la marée est) aussi basse que tarit notre foi
Elle reflète les nombreuses promesses d’un prix plus élevé
Et l’appât se fait attraper là où le pourquoi se meurt
Et nous laisse là, suspendu et à sec Écoutez…

Bridge. (Instrumental)

Verset 3: Notre voyage n’est pas écrit (d’avance) pourtant les signes nous mènent la vie
Et la lettre de la loi règne pendant que son esprit meurt
Chaque raccourci nous conduit vers à la cellule où la raison se meurt
Laissons nous donc le pourquoi (la raison) mourir pour simplement survivre?
Écoutez …

Song Info

aka In the Cell where the Why Died
Original language: English
Lyrics and Music: Tiki Black


from The Looking For Canada Collection 2020, released February 8, 2020
Tiki Black


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Medicine Show Records Scotland, UK

The Medicine Show is run by Scots Broadcaster Promoter Rob Ellen. He tends a tour of the Highlands for touring roots musicians. He helped found Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival.
The Highland tour has become a pilgrimage with American Musicians in particular, wishing to trace the roots of the music.
Rob's particular interest, is supporting House Concerts. Rob maintains the Euro House Concert Hub
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