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    Seductive cappuccino with Tanita Tikaram
    "Different things are good for me" - this quotation comes from a song by Tanita Tikaram, TWIST IN MY SOBRIETY. Wonderful lyrics, spiritual music and the dark timbre of her voice - this is the typical image that people have of her. Her latest album, THE CAPPUCCINO SONGS, as hot and dark as cappuccino, is out now. The release of the new album was one of reasons for Tanita to appear at this year's London Gay Pride which unfortunately has been called off.

    She refuses to talk about social issues, as she thinks everybody should keep their convictions for themselves. Yet sometimes she takes part in such events as the show for Amnesty International, held at London's Mean Fiddler Club on 26 May. Amnesty help all the people who are victimized, including those who are persecuted for their sexual orientation.

    In 1995 Tanita was interviewed by a lesbian magazine Diva. When she was asked about her attitude towards the gay community she just laughed and asked shyly, "what is this?" No doubt Tanita attracts a large gay audience, though it is obvious that dividing people into gays and straights may seem quite artificial. Even though she appears rather reticent and moderate by nature, she really takes a tough stance on important issues. "I don't care whether people attach importance to what I write or just laugh at it. I always tell things openly and with brutal honesty." When asked what she would like to tell young people about love she said, "Just love everybody, everybody, everybody! 'Cos it is really good for you! Possessive, jealous - it doesn't mean anything. People, when they are young, they should just go out and discover every kind of love they can and that's very healthy. But always wear protection!"

    And that is the philosophy of the songs from her new album THE CAPPUCCINO SONGS that she co-wrote with Marco Sabiu. "Most of the songs are about cappuccino and seduction and people having affairs and feeling not too guilty (it's nearly the year 2000) basically, the joys of life.(...) We really wanted to write songs that were very instant and sort of sexy. I felt this freedom with Marco because he is Italian and 'understands'."

    Tanita has listened to Brazilian music a lot, I like the way they perform ballads and I used it in AMORE SI, a kitsch song about love. BACK IN YOUR ARMS and IF I EVER are examples of euro -pop. In the collection you will also find a cover of an Abba song, THE DAY BEFORE YOU CAME. For the track I DON'T WANNA LOSE AT LOVE, which was bravely remixed by Asian Dub Foundation, Tanita used a fiddle line provided by a Finnish string quartet. The album is promoted by a very catchy song STOP LISTENING. Track number nine, I LIKE THIS, is also a very interesting composition - its ending is repeated after another song. Even though the album sounds quite different from her previous outings, Tanita's music hasn't lost anything of its delicacy or deepness of style, which is proved by the exquisite song LIGHT UP THE WORLD.

    It is not only her music that attracts people but also her extraordinary beauty. Her father comes from Fiji and her mother from Borneo. She was born on 12 August 1969 in Germany. She spent her childhood there as her father, a British Army officer, was stationed in this country. When she was 12 the Tikaram family relocated to Basingstoke in England. Tanita began to read a lot because she couldn't find herself in the new place. She looked different, she felt different, she couldn't fit in. "The towns like Basingstoke does not offer you anything but boredom. The railway station, where you can be beaten, is the favourite meeting place for most of the youngsters. The town is new and soulless. You can't find love there."

    Tanita still has a close relationship with her family, "my mother (...) always said you should have choices as a woman, not in any grand feminist manner, but "You should always be independent" , (...) you should never let anyone tell you what to do, just do it".

    After finishing the secondary school she didn't apply for university and started working in London. Then she thought, "OK, I'll try and do music." She recorded a demo tape and sent it to the Mean Fiddler. She was asked to come and make a gig. Paul Charles, her future manager saw her there. She was 17 then.

    'When I recorded my first album ANCIENT HEART (1988) I began moving from city to city, living in the best hotels, I was playing and promoting my songs in more than 20 countries. It sounds wonderful and fascinating and it was true but at the time I felt very lonely. It was very difficult for me to find my place in everything that was happening around me. I had the impression I lived my life in a dream. Until you fall in love, you're never really sure you feel things like other people do. You even wonder if you have the capacity to love.' Tanita never talks about her private life to press. Sometimes she says only that now she's totally in love, and it's a very comforting feeling.

    Her debut album ANCIENT HEART proved a huge success. The song TWIST IN MY SOBRIETY has been covered a few times already, for example by Liza Minelli and Pet Shop Boys. Neil Tennant says," A friend of mine from Warner Bros gave me the tape with the song before Tanita signed to the company. I even tried to convince Warner not to include the track on Tanita's album. Liza was crazy about it. "There are lots of interesting compositions on the album, ranging from such "eternal" hits as CATHEDRAL SONG, PREYED UPON, FOR ALL THESE YEARS to a jolly country track GOOD TRADITION. In that song Tanita seems to be toying with a fashionable idea that even in hate there might be something "good".

    Tanita took the music market by storm. The sadness and melancholy of her songs became objects of both admiration and contempt. I don't think that people write sad songs, she said, They just write about common things that hurt and scare all of us. The cryptic, enigmatic lyrics of her songs were not written in a rational way and can be interpreted variously. You can search for hidden senses or memories in them, read them like poems or between the lines. Rarely does it happen that an album with such an ambitious music and lyrics steals the limelight.

    Go to Part 2

    Updated: 06.08.2005. *** Webmastering & copyright: Tanitafan.
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