THE SHADOW MAJLIS Presents Debut Album ‘The Departure’


The Shadow Majlis presents debut album ‘The Departure’ featuring guests from Bauhaus, The Mission, DakhaBrakha & more

“A powerful achievement… I believe that there are certain tracks and moments that act as portals into another dimension – I’m not being fanciful here!” ~ David J (Bauhaus, Love and Rockets)

“With Ali Jafri at the helm on vocals, guitars, bass, electric sitar, synths, programming, this debut offering from The Shadow Majlis is diverse and stunning, involving a dream-team – not only in terms of production, but also collaborators, ranging from true music legends of our generation and top-notch artists from around the world” ~ The Spill Magazine

The Shadow Majlis

Toronto-based artist The Shadow Majlis presents their debut album ‘The Departure’, 10 tracks that showcase genre-fluid excellence and a wealth of raw emotional experience, fusing elements of Eastern modes with post-punk and immerses listeners in an alternative neo-global style that transcends borders. Just as the album’s title suggests, this is a departure from the norm, a journey into something other, where there are no limits. 

Revolving around Ali Jafri, whose reputation as a formidable and versatile multi-instrumentalist has led to involvement in various projects over the years. Whether as a member of David J‘s live band, playing rock-sitar for Pigface (or through his other projects ARIELThe Gotham City DrugstoreSaintfield or his solo work), Ali Jafri has cultivated a multi-cultural artistic and musical vision. Now, he’s bringing that vision further to fruition via The Shadow Majlis.

Produced and mixed by three-time Grammy Award winning producer David Bottrill (Peter Gabriel, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Tool, David Sylvian, Mastodon, Smashing Pumpkins, Muse, Real World Studios), with Darren McGill engineering the album. Mastered by Noah Mintz, the cover art was created by Stephen Seto (Splintercage).

With Ali Jafri at the helm on vocals, guitars, bass, electric sitar, synths, programming, the debut album features the legendary David J (Bauhaus, Love & Rockets) on bass and drummer-percussionist Rakesh Tewari (Jaffa Road, The Special Interest Group). Adding colour and depth are various guest performers, including vocalist Olena Tsybulska (DakhaBrakha), guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite (The Mission, Peter Murphy, MGT, Tricky, Gary Numan)cellist Anne Bourne (Loreena McKennitt, Jane Siberry), Tuvan throat singer Soriah, Ravi Naimpally (Niyaz, Constantinople) on tabla, Pankaj Mishra on sarangi, Selmanpak Ayduz on ney, Kerem Koktas on kemanche, and Sasha Singer-Wilson on backing vocals.

The Shadow Majlis - The Departure (Kolyskova), ft. Olena Tsybulska of DakhaBrakha

Blending alternative music with the rich, diverse instrumentation and rhythms of world music, The Shadow Majlis leaves a distinct imprint on the ever-evolving soundscape. Recorded in Toronto, LA, Portland, Istanbul, Kyiv and Iceland, this is truly an international affair, with languages such as Urdu, Farsi, Arabic, Icelandic and Ukrainian woven with English throughout this album.

Ali Jafri of The Shadow Majlis

The most poignant and powerful artistic output stems from tragedy, and The Shadow Majlis is no exception. Amid a deluge of personal upheaval, this album has been Jafri’s means to address his grief over losing his seven-year-old son Oisín, who passed away in September 2022 after a nine-month battle with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (a highly aggressive form of brain cancer), the dissolution of his conjugal relationship, and a year-long state of temporary homelessness. Recovering from such devastation is no simple task, but The Shadow Majlis has offered Jafri medicine for his soul, while presenting us an alternative sonic reality in which we can all find solace and relief.

“With the inspiration of his son’s passing, he told me he wanted to create something to honor Oisín as well as cathartically express his experience. It was not to be traditional but experimental, incorporating his industrial sensibility, but also with an international flavor… The emotion was all Ali, and with his raw lyrics and strong melodies over the top of dark and beautifully gut-wrenching tracks, we hope we have created something both passionate and heartfelt that can reach others either suffering loss or grief, or conversely experiencing elation or euphoria as we believe it can touch either,” says David Bottrill.

Calling the album a powerful achievement, David J adds, “I believe that there are certain tracks and moments that act as portals into another dimension – I’m not being fanciful here!”

As of February 27, ‘The Departure’ album will be available exclusively from the artist via Bandcamp. That evening, Ali Jafri will be holding an album listening and viewing party at Ground Control in Toronto. The album will be released on other platforms in early March and then in physical format this spring.

Ali Jafri – vocals, guitars, bass VI, electric sitar, percussion, programming, synthesizers, electronics, solfeggio pipes
David Bottrill – backing vocals, electronics, synthesizers
David J (Bauhaus, Love and Rockets) – bass
Rakesh Tewari (Jaffa Road, The Special Interest Group) – drums, percussion
Olena Tsybulska (DakhaBrakha) – vocals
Mark Gemini Thwaite (Peter Murphy, Tricky, The Mission) – guitars
Anne Bourne (Loreena McKennit, Jane Siberry) – cello
Sasha Singer-Wilson – backing vocals
Soriah – Tuvan Throat Singing, Flute
Ravi Naimpally (Niyaz, Constantinople) – tabla
Pankaj Mishra – sarangi
Selmanpak Ayduz – ney
Kerem Koktas – kemancheh
Oisin Adams-Jafri – vocals, percussion, solfeggio pipes
Zayn Jafri – piano
Oscar Adams-Jafri – solfeggio pipes

All songs written by Ali Jafri and David Bottrill, except ‘Elliðakot’ (written by Ali Jafri) and ‘The Departure (Kolyskova)’ (written by Ali Jafri, David Bottrill and Olena Tsybulska)
Produced & Mixed by David Bottrill
Engineering by Darren McGill at Union Sound Company & David Bottrill at at Mainstatiion Music and Imagine Sound
Mastered by Noah Mintz at Lacquer Channel
Graphic Design & Illustration by Stephen Seto
Photography by Justin Minister @secondhand_daylight
For Oisín…

The Shadow Majlis album cover


  1. Intro (Elliðakot)
  2. The Way Home
  3. Love In Flames
  4. Savage Castaway
  5. Mazdur
  6. Deer In The Headlights
  7. Swallowed By The Sky
  8. I Remember
  9. Beshno Az Ney (We Come To Leave)
  10. The Departure (Kolyskova)

Dead Can Dance, Peter Gabriel, The Cure, Love and Rockets, Mercan Dede

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