All pics by Mark Ulyseas

This interview was conducted in 2010. Zara passed away last week. She was too young to die. I, for one, will miss her voice, which was all about truth.  My tribute has been posted on Live Encounters Magazine – LINK .

On an island adrift in the Bay of Bengal we met, she strumming her guitar and serenading the ragtag crowd of travelers with a Baez ish version of ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ and me sucking on a panatella while rummaging in a Greek salad.

Later when the haze of iniquity blew out to sea and morning rose like a mother to warm us with her sunshine, we met again to talk the talk.

Who are you Zara Sophia? And what do you do?

I am a bohemian, a traveler, a minstrel composing, reciting and performing my songs because I am on a mission: to get the message out there to those who are conditioned by a childhood regimen of repetition, rules, uniforms and more…the insidious attempt to ensnare our inner freedom, to garrote the soul, a soul that is born from a Universe of ancient knowledge.

Who am I? An esoteric question, yes? I am an artist who puts passion and truth into words that are transformed into a harmonious blend of chords. I am a seeker, searching for sublimity in a world of cancerous consumerism and fashionable narcissism.  There is a higher self in all of us and I call upon this when I write. It is like processing a dream. It is like healing – abstraction where illusions are smashed.

How does music play a role in our lives?

Music is art and art is a social commentary that is supposed to take somebody somewhere. Look at the phenomenal success of Modern Times by Bob Dylan. Passion and truth lie within and that is probably why it has touched so many people across generations and cultures.

Where is the music now?

Most modern music sounds the same – no soul, dead for it does not bring out honesty and passion. Unfortunately it assists people in shutting down, not opening up. This is a shame. Young people do not have role models that can capture their spirit to set them free for they are too image conscious. Music has become synonymous with fickle fashion trends.

Give us a peek into your life, please?

I was born in Shaftesbury on the border of Wiltshire and Dorset to parents who are folk/blues singers and musicians. I remember our home always reverberated to live music – piano, guitar et al. It was in these surroundings that one began to appreciate live music because it gently stroked the Self with its rhythms. Whereas, recorded music has always been soulless, devoid of the thump of passion.

In the gap year (college) I travelled with friends to Spain where
I soon ran out of money and ended up performing on the streets. Some days I would earn as much as 30 Euros playing also in restaurants and private functions. I left Cataluña two years later to return to England to compose and play my music. Among other things I was also part of a support group for Pete Dougherty and other artists.

And your music career?

Career? That’s a harsh word…hahaha. Well, my first composition ‘What if I don’t want to know’ was performed live for a large audience sometime back. When I finished playing the silence was deafening. Then like a thunder clap the ovation I received was overwhelming. I knew then that I had touched the hearts and minds of my listeners.

Often I have been compared to singers like Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Dusty Springfield and Janis Joplin.

I have a demo album (3  songs) which focuses on the next generation, attempts to have a social impact and more importantly to give truth in art a chance.

I am looking for backing to get my music out there, to make a change.

What about your trip across India, any thoughts?

It has been a struggle…the lust for life, the aberration in society between the rich and poor. The beauty amidst the destitution is devastating to the senses. It inspires me to push on with my mission with renewed vigor, my mission to make a better world with my art form, music.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om