Sarya AKA swoo is a Taiwanese-American singer-songwriter and poet who performed at the Edinburgh Anarchist Feminist Bookfair in the Augustine United Church on Saturday July 21.
I found Sarya’s songs a little too intense at times, as she was just accompanying herself on the guitar and at times the songs were very personal. An early song ‘I Don’t Know’ opened with; “Every little thing puts me in a state of complete anxiety / undeniably / I want to leave, living is such a chore.” The song captured a sense of millennial ennui and, possibly, an insight into living with depression and other mental health issues. It reminded me of ‘(There’s Gotta Be) More To Life’ by Christian one-hit-wonder Stacie Orrico from the mid-2000s, but while that song had an implicit solution to the sense of emptiness ‘I Don’t Know’ left the listener and Sarya herself with no real answers.
While I must confess I took a time-out for most of her set, what filtered through was a style reminiscent of Terra Naomi, Laura Marling, Emmy The Great and Dar Williams. Intimate, personal, and with a vocal range that made even the simplest lyrics sound profound.
I look forward to seeing her perform in the future. In the meantime you can listen to her work on Soundcloud @swoopoetry.
Bitch Theme, garage punk band from Brighton, also performed. Click the images below to see a slideshow of photographs from their set.
Photographer and Words: Ana Hine