Monday, June 05, 2006

Making it better: An interview with Suzka

       29 comments


Suzka. A unique name for a unique woman. Athlete, actress, singer, writer and violin virtuoso.

Her name is Czechoslovakian, from the Egyptian Shakura, meaning "Grateful." At an early age, she began her violin training at the Vancouver Music Academy, studying and performing classical music for over ten years. During her teen years, she took up ski racing, competing first in Canada, and later spent a year on the Czechoslovakian National Ski Team. After studying at the University of Nevada, Reno, she returned to her love of the arts.

She traveled the world, learning several languages and studying many cultures. Drawn by the urge to unite people through her music, Suzka began studying blues and jazz intently, and was soon doing session work for various artists in Canada and Europe.

Suzka studied voice and theatre in London, keeping food on her own table by waitressing. On a trip to Egypt she fell in love with a Muslim African and settled in Cairo for a time. She has sung and played in Japan and Thailand, as well.

It should come as no surprise she plays "world music." You can hear the sonic influences of many lands and many cultures in her songs: haunting ambient sounds, peppy hip-hoppish beats, meditative vocals, thoughtful lyrics, all overlayed with her distinctive, mesmerizing strings. I hear influences from Spain, Egypt, India, Great Britain... American early blues and modern hip-hop... ethereal, faint shades of Jean-Luc Ponty and Kitaro... an amazing, inspired, intricately co-mingled blend that is uniquely Suzka.

Suzka has composed scores and played violin for several films, notably two Candian movies for the Sci-Fi Channel. She continues to do session work, perform live as a solo act and along with her band Tambura Rasa, and finds time to teach students to play the violin and express themselves. She opened for world guitar virtuosos Strunz and Farah a few months ago in Vancouver, and has worked with dozens of world music artists including Lily Frost, Ivan Tucakov, Annakin Slayd, and others. She and her band Tambura Rasa currently have a video for the song Anadol in rotation on Canada's Worldbeat Channel M, and in Dec., 2005, she released her solo debut album Wake-Up.

SacredFems caught up with Suzka recently, and we shared a few words.

SacredFems.com: Thanks for talking with me, Suzka. You've had an amazing life. What's next? Where do you want to be in five years, both professionally and personally?

Suzka: I really don't know but hope to be doing more of the same which is continually writing, recording, and sharing my music "live" with the world. So far I pray a lot and hope that I do things with the right intentions and for the right reasons. I have been very fortunate to have had the universe respond with wonderful opportunities and people along the journey. I would like to reach a larger audience and hopefully do a worldwide tour and get to places where maybe no one would have ever heard of us.

Personally, I would love to start a family and share my life with someone who has the same vision and desire to make the world a better place. Family is very important to me and having a strong support system from friends and family is very important to me. Fame and success mean nothing if you don't have true love.

SacredFems.com: You've lived or traveled all over the world. What was one of the best moments? What part of the world excites you the most?

Suzka: I have to say, standing in the middle of the pyramids and Sphinx in Cairo, Egypt. I read so much about them and learned the history of the land, but to be there in the sweltering heat of the desert and seeing the size of the structures and imagining how it was built, really blew me away. I never thought I would see that day; it wasn't planned.

I have to say Africa excites me most because there is so much we don't know about the land and so much natural activity and rituals that have been devoted to the preservation of the land. There is a lot of magic there and it saddens me to see her being treated so poorly. Both the people and the land. Especially the women and children.

SacredFems.com: I've listened to a good bit of your music. It's unique, complex, and yet in some ways, straightforwardly simple. Soulful, thoughtful, at times happy, sometimes somber. I especially like Wake-Up. I know an artist is never sure how she creates her art, but could you give me any insight into how your songs come to be?

Suzka: I write poetry and random thoughts constantly to express and understand myself. As soon as I had an opportunity to be in the recording studio, pages of uninteruppted thoughts came pouring out over the beat created. Most of the songs were one takes. I would then add violin over top or sometimes start with that and then add voice. It was a very natural and organic process and the actually recording process seemed effortless and blissful. I wanted to make a truthful album without thinking of being commercial or what others would want to hear. I got inspired by music I was listening to at the time and wanted to really find my own voice and be authentic with my own material.

SacredFems.com: Tell me about your acting.

Suzka: I love the intimacy and truthfulness of the moment one can have in this medium. Especially in well written pieces and good actors to work with. It is a tough business to stay true in as there are so many demands on women to be a certain way. I have had to turn down a lot of parts and opportunities earlier in life that just didn't jive with how I wanted to represent myself. It's easy to fall into the trap of more money and fame. I decided to work only with people I respected and know respect me. I hope to do a really moving feature film one day when the time is right.

Currently I am writing, acting, and directing in short films with MonSu Films which I started with another friend to try and create more interesting and less stereotypical roles for women.

SacredFems.com: Your music, your lyrics, things you've said... You can't hide there's a compassionate, caring mind, heart and soul alive deep within you. You've got a vision for the world, for humanity, for making things better.... Tell me about your vision.

Suzka: I would just like to see more people being truthful and real instead of shady and manipulating. I find so many people say things they don't mean, and I don't get it. It is tough to know what someone wants from you and where they're coming from. I think we need to get back to our roots and respect the earth and ourselves more. I would like to see women taking the power back because there is so much love we can share and give to change the world, but we need to find it in ourselves first. I only recently discovered how important this is, but immeasureable. I believe disputes can be solved without war, because who really owns anything? We cannot claim what is not ours to begin with. Land and people are not something that can be owned by anyone, and we as a whole need to come to terms with that.

Greed is certainly the villain and what's yours will be, what you try and take will create war somewhere wether it is out there or and internal battle with self. I wish I had answers for any of these things I think about, however I believe only truthful expression from self can really start good things happening.

I believe good things are happening though and that humanity is becoming more aware and conscious. I'm still figuring out things myself so I just hope for the best, and give it up to the powers that be.

SacredFems.com: I'm sure I speak for all your fans and those just getting to know you, when I say that we all wish you the best and know that the Universe will surely take care of you. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me.

Suzka: Thank you so much for your interest in my life and music. I am honoured to share my thoughts with you.

Make it Better
by Suzka


Wisdom come we've come undone
earthly desires fuel this run
we've got the material ready to spun
what's the message in the bottle I've come to get one
peace in my heart and loves my word
sincere to the journey from hunger and thirst
bursting to get some questioning first
immaculate concept, reset to digest
they're firing bullets and I'm making requests
whose quest what's best or everyone let's test
cause this mess we think less and increase to destress
we can make it right, we can make it better, we can make it right, we can make it better
rewire, less tire, mind, soul, body fire
get to the mission let new world transpire
from forklore to history I learn from the misery
practice the chemistry between states of wizardry
link up to freedom and losing hypocrisy
come to the place where we are democracy
stay true to visions of bliss and community
stay true to visions of bliss and community.

You can learn more about Suzka and listen to many of her songs at her site SuzkaMusic.com and at her MySpace site.

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Comments:
this kind of attitude is not going to lead women to heaven.feminism is anti-chrristian.
And what's so wrong with being anti-Christian? Why would any woman want to go to a Heaven where some judgemental jerk like you is going to be?
I have a chance to work with Suzka here and there, with her it is easy: what you see is what you get. She's a fantastic violin player and an incredidble person. Good luck, keep at it. Great article.MJ
Pabmai, if you read what Sukza said, and had no comment other than what you wrote here, I honestly think that you don't have the faintest notion of what Christian is.

In fact, I don't think you know what feminism is either.
Heaven is where your heart is, where's yours, Pabmai?
i wasnt talking about Suzca specifically,she is certainly a good person, sensitive, intelligent ,etc. but according to the Bible that is not enough to reach heaven thats all, if you dont want to believe in the Bible , no prob, is your responsability, i have nothing against Suzca or any other person here:-/
"heaven is where your heart is", it s poetic but not necessarily truth, human heart is not trustable, is fluctuant ,is the place where the feelings are , and feelings are not a solid base , cos they constantly change . Faith is a solid base, cos is a decision you take and you follow,and faith is speacially recomended for women cos they are more sensitive than men, so they change more frequently, and get hurted more easely, and are more susceptible:/
There s nothing wrong in being anti-christian , unless you want to go to the christians heaven(the only one):-D
faith is not a feeling, it s a decision:D
I know Suzka well. I won't get into debates about religion and the semantics of all that. All I can say is that it is very obvious both from the article and from knowing her that her values are about open-mindedness and caring about people. And isn't that a positive thing - undeserving of controversy?
I am almost embarrassed that what was supposed to be a powerful and positive article about a wonderful woman has turned into a anti-feminist rant from a fundamentalist.

But such is the nature of the Internet; everyone's invited. This site seems to attract many people who don't agree with our theme "Every woman is a goddess."

For good or naught, there are 2.1 billion people on Planet Earth who identify themselves as "Christian," and unfortunately, many of them think the major commandment of Christianity is to chastise and condemn others over perceived differences.

Funny... and I thought it was the Bible where I read, "Judge not that you be not judged."

Blessed be,

Mary
mary and son..., i didn t judge anyone , and if you read the bible you will find that "every woman is aa godess" is not there.
monica, i didnt say suzca is not caring etc. all i said that you wont make to heaven that way thats all, you both are free to believe in what you want.but i dont like feminism thats true.we can discuss for ever so we better stop, here.goodbye and good will.
Pabmai, you did judge, the word feminism itself carries judgemental load, and saying that it is anti-christian is making a judgement about it.
Meanwhile, it doesn't matter after all, it seems to me that you have mixed up the concept of being 'feminist' with being 'individual' which is something that a lot of people are uncomfortable about when it comes to women..
And speaking of heaven, I am sure that the heaven that she chooses for herself is much much more beautiful than some heaven that some institution shows down our throats and we choose to believe it.. I am sure you believe that yours will be beautiful too, so there is no point to arguea about that.
It made me very sad to hear such judgemental words about a person who comes so much from the heart.
I play with Suzka and have produced her music, she is not a feminist and I would have never even associated her with something like that.. I guess that might be because I don't think in a Christian way.. maybe that's one of the topics that christianity likes to target and talk about. I don't think in those terms.
Anyways, as Mary suggested, it is sad that such an article turned into a conversation about Christ, Suzka was talking about music, about loving people around you and I will now stop wasting my time writing about things that are irrelevant in my life. There is much more than that for me.
I'm getting back to music...
Ivan
p.s. I gather I am being anti-christian with all these comments ;)
Suzka rocks. Plain and simple. Stay Stalwart girl.
first of all Suzca is wonderful, marvelous,she probably plays like Paganini etc.
second having and opinion about somenthing is not wrong , thats not the kind of judgement the Bible condemns, you too have your own opinions about whats wright or wrong,and i have already expressed my opinion about feminism.thats all, nothing personal, nothing against anyone.You can use those "hard feelings" to compose, see the positive side?
pd:you said it.
So, you're saying misogyny is a cornerstone of Judeo-Christian-Islamic belief?
no.
Where in the article did Suzka talk about 'getting into heaven'? Stay on the topic, hear the music!
So, you're saying misogyny isn't a cornerstone of Judeo-Christian-Islamic belief?
you are the expert in misogyny, i have nothing to do with misogyny, women have their role and men a different one, anyway many things we read in the bible about women are part of the middle east asiatic culture, and are not biblic "dogma".
By "Biblic dogma", you mean the stuff a bunch of d00ds in robes just made up out-of-thin-air after the FACT?

That dogma?
im not catholic; when i say biblic dogma im talking about the bases of faith, transcendental things , not irrelevant ones, things that dont change , history is written after the facts, unless you are a prophet, the dogma is explicit in the bible and some times implicit, its truth some religions "made up" dogmas according to their worldly needs..anyway u have the wrong attittude , u r not making it to heaven that way..
Enlighten us all on how to get to heaven please, Pabmai?! It seems like none of us get to go....damn..I mean.
According to the bible the ONLY way to go to heaven is to believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior, there s no other way , no matter how honest, decent, or excelent musician you can be,if u have problem with this go to the bible.
According to the Bible, the only person who can or will go to Heaven is "the Son of Man," so it'll probably be a lonely place, unless "son of Man" means everyone, since we're all sons (and daughters) of men.

John 3:13 — "No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven — the Son of Man."

This of course contradicts Genesis 5:24, "Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away," which has long been taken to mean that Enoch never died but was taken bodily into Heaven.

Which, of course, contradicts Pabmai's contention that to get into Heaven you must believe in Jesus as Savior, something Enoch obviously could not logically do.

But all that is meaningless, anyway, since the Bible also says, in Matthew, Mark and Luke (three times must mean it should be taken seriously), that "Heaven and earth will pass away...."

If Heaven is going to "pass away" then who wants to be there anyway?


— Mary, Queen of Heaven (how's that title for a contradiction?)
Exactly how old do you think the Earth is, exactly?
Mary and..,if you take a biblic verse out of its context , you can make the bible say what you want,thats the origin of many false religions, you are confusing Heaven with the visible sky and the stars, the old Pact and the new Pact,john 3:13 doesnt say we will not go, the prophet Elijah didnt die, not only enoch, and i dont think there is a "queen" of heaven, and the world is probably 6 thousand years.tomorrow i will explain it, today the im enjoying world cup .remember you are free to believe in what you want even in feminism.
Whatever happened to good old "heaven on earth"? You want to spend your life believing in one thing so that you could go to something you've never been to and someone is promising you will go to? Of course you do, you are free to believe what you want to believe.
Btw pabmai, I thought you said "better stop, here.goodbye and good will." Why do you keep coming back to this blog? Are you that desparate to keep the attention to yourself?
That hurts, what kind of sacred anonymous are you? anyway im just answering your questions, enoch didnt go to heaven by himself, he was taken, Jesus did it by himself, to talk about heaven is not wasted time if you consider the human lifetime compared with eternity, heaven is eternity and so is hell.goobye to all,eternally, unless you go to heaven.
Does it not hurt to call someone a feminist or and anti-christ?
it hurts less than the eternal fire of hell, btw the feminists call themselves feminists.
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