Singer Zeshan B Takes Center Stage at Asia Society Texas
HOUSTON, August 1, 2023 — Singer and musician Zeshan B brought his gospel-inflected soul music to Asia Society Texas in a concert presented in partnership with the Aga Khan Museum and the Ismaili Council for the Southwestern United States.
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Displaying the full range of his powerful voice, influences, and style, Zeshan performed favorites from his first two albums Vetted and Melismatic. In the concert’s show-stopping second half, he presented new songs from his upcoming album Oh Say Can You See, which takes inspiration from classic studio orchestra production methods of the mid-20th century — exemplified by artists such as Frank Sinatra and Sam Cooke — and was replicated onstage with a four-piece band and standout professional backup singers from Houston.
The concert opened with Zeshan and the band establishing a sound steeped in a variety of classic music from the 1960s and 1970s while maintaining a contemporary sound, from slow jam love songs like “Stay” to the funkier grooves of “The Jungle.” Throughout these songs, he had solid backing from the rhythm section of Keith Brooks on percussion and Jeremiah Hunt on bass guitar. The lyrics, written by Zeshan and guitarist and co-songwriter Michael MacAllister, harked back to Civil Rights-era anthems while meditating on contemporary struggles against societal injustice and hopes for a more equitable future.
Mid-concert, Zeshan and keys player Aaron Kotler performed two quieter ballads, “Flight of the Butterfly” and “Nausheen,” before bringing out background singers Kendall Allen, Earl Duncan, Brandi Faye Hamilton, and Krystle McConico who elevated the call-and-response gospel leanings of “Mountaintop,” “Get Higher,” and Four Tops-influenced stylings of “Sun and Rain.” A standout collaboration had the singers tackling Urdu lyrics for the new song “Woh Zamana Yaad Hai,” capturing the cross-cultural openness and collaboration exemplified in Zeshan’s music.
The concert closed with climatic performances of Zeshan’s hit cover of George Perkin’s “Cryin’ in the Streets” and Oh Say Can You See’s title track.
This program was presented as part of Asia Society Texas’ Muslim Series, which is rooted in the educational and cultural development of the Houston community — trusting in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to combat bias and build a more inclusive society
Brandi Faye Hamilton
About Asia Society Texas
Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diverse perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating the vibrant diversity of Asia, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Spanning the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community — trusting in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to combat bias and build a more inclusive society.