When you hear Essence, the debut release from 22-year old Vancouver-based vocalist Alisha, you may not be sure whether to take off your shoes and dance, or close your eyes and sit entirely still. Essence, a collaboration with legendary Nelson-based producer Adham Shaikh, weaves a deeply meditative medicine into a sound that may be familiar to the DJ’s of London, Detroit, and elsewhere, who are bringing “world” music into the radio and digital mix space. With orchestral production, expansive lyrics, and gently driving drums, this EP sounds both ancient and of the here and right now. Opening track “Silence Shines” calls out— “we are what our ancestors could have been, we move with the guidance of our skin.” Shaikh’s twirling bassline bring’s Alisha’s mantras into a place of absolute bliss. The EP’s second track, “Vulnerability,” weaves R&B vocals with Hindustani tabla drums, shimmering accents, and a touching guitar melody by Buckman Coe. When Alisha sings, “Life is ceaselessly dancing between the yes and no… let yourself be seen,” it feels like right on time for uplifting words such as these to meet a wider audience. Essence is a stunning debut, and the essence of Alisha’s tenderly fierce and fiercely tender heart shines through.