The Sheyana Band shake it up, roll it on the rocks, pour it in the groove and serve it with passion.
Influenced by the classics, drawing inspiration from their deep Tassie roots. The Sheyana Band are like a fine wine. A ripe fruity musical banquet, fusing stylistic flavours from Australian Rhythm & Soul, American Funk & Blues, English Pop/Rock & Punk with a dash of Southern Country/Folk. Delighting audiences with an exciting delivery of powerhouse vocals, brilliant musicianship & heartfelt songwriting, their captivating live shows and award winning albums have seen them share the stage with Australia’s finest. London born, Tasmanian based singer, songwriter, guitarist Sheyana has been hooked on music since early childhood. The soulful Celtic/Sri Lankan storyteller brings flavour to the table with her stellar band, featuring Wayne Rand on lead guitars/vocals, Dan Jeffrey on bass & Leigh Hill on drums/vocals, with special guests Kelly Ottaway on keys, Mahlah Wing & Sherry Rand on vocals. Having national & international recognition & airplay, the band have supported Deborah Conway, Hoodoo Gurus, Neil Finn, Meg Mac, Mojo Juju, Gang of Youths, Renee Geyer, Diesel, The Angels, Kevin Borich, Ian Moss, Bill Chambers and Fanny Lumsden.
The Sheyana Band’s new EP Ricochet came together during covid lockdown in Tasmania. Making the best of a bad situation and with plenty of time to reflect, Sheyana and the band focused on songwriting, and the the music emerged from those strange, uneasy times. The songs were the lights at the end of the tunnel, at a time when we were both separated and unified. Through the music and the artwork, this EP is a tribute to the loved ones we’ve lost along the way, and the big hearts working towards a higher love and respect for one another and our planet.
“BIG HEARTS” is the 1st Single from The Sheyana Band’s EP “Ricochet”Big Hearts is where Big Love comes from. A place where you use your Big Heart to look after your planet and each other. It’s worth it, it means something to be alive in these times. It’s not all for nothing because we make a difference. I was out of my comfort zone in unfamiliar territory when I worked on that complex riff and unusual tuning. I bunkered down in Penguin, Tasmania and wrote “Big Hearts” with a fine wine, channeling Greg Allman & Foo Fighters for inspiration, I worked relentlessly on that riff and those lyrics. That song kept me grounded and hopeful in uncertain times. With Covid Lockdown across the planet, the whole world was experiencing this, together and alone. I kept working on that song until it made sense and sent the band some raw phone recordings, the bare bones of Big Hearts. We communicated through zoom videos and worked through covid until we came out the other side and found the opportunity to record. Big Hearts is my favourite song on The Sheyana Band’s Ricochet EP. It’s a song from the heart. It’s the best track for our first single. After Covid restrictions eased, we started working the song into shape in production sessions with the band and sound engineer Russell Pilling and went from beating it out on a cardboard box at rehearsal to pouring our heart and soul into the recording. We recorded drums, bass and acoustic guitar at Red Robin Recording at Leith, Tasmania, getting that live feel down along with one of the best “no stress” recording sessions we’ve ever had. We recorded electric guitars in the loungeroom and vocals in the doorway of a tiny library at Studio 90 in Penguin. Big Hearts is more than Big Love. It’s a higher love.
Nationally they won “The Chris Wilson Award” for Emerging Act of Year” with their album Big Love in 2018. The Sheyana Band received a top ten hit in Sri Lanka in 2015 with their single” Keep the Change” along with a Best Act nomination. Sheyana scored a blues award with OzSong International Songwriting Competition in 2011 for her song “Two Birds”, which also made it to the finals in “FreshAir” ABC National Songwriting Competition.
The Sheyana Band are a favourite act at major Tassie events:
Forth Valley Blues Festival 2018
Party In The Paddock 2018-2019
Fruits of the Roots 2019
Festival of King Island 2020
Red Hot Summer after party 2021
Junction Arts Festival 2021
Riverbend Blues 2023
The Sheyana Band deliver an original home-grown array of acoustic riffs, arresting melodies and funky rhythms that meld beautifully producing an honest, warm, and strong soulful sound. Sheyana’s voice is captivating, and her rich tones coupled with deep heart-felt lyrics about love and life’s journeys are performed through authentic narratives that engage and embrace, as Sheyana interacts harmoniously with her music and her audience.
Underpinning her personal history. Born in the UK, Sheyana’s story began when her Tasmanian Mother and Sri Lankan father met on a ship bound for England. At the age of six, Sheyana found a passion for music and a love of poetry, sparked by the sounds of famous rockers, jamming in her neighbourhood in London.
Sheyana migrated to Tasmania with her mother and grandmother and developed an ear for vocals and harmonies at the local chapel, listening to her mother’s family choir. These influences inspired Sheyana to pick up her first guitar at age eight and start writing songs in her teens in Tasmania.
In her late teens, Sheyana left Tasmania as a travelling minstrel which took her on a journey across the east coast of Australia from Tassie to Daintree and back, where she met and made music with other budding songwriters and gained a wealth of experiences along the way. After two years travelling, Sheyana returned to Tasmania and found a place of her own, amidst 50 acres of North- West Tasmanian rainforest. While living close to nature and off the grid, the singer-songwriter became a mother to four beautiful children, all home births, home-schooled and organic gardening always on the menu.
Gathering her experiences, like a fruitful harvest, this pioneering songstress became a prolific songwriter.
Juggling motherhood and working on the land, Sheyana continued songwriting and joined her first successful band “Big Dilemma” in the late ’90s. They supported Southern Sons and were the first act to record their album “Life’s like That” at Alanvale TAFE in Launceston. Sheyana’s song “Sweet Rain” from this album was selected by Wendy Matthews to be played on 7LA Radio for the opening of Alanvale TAFE.
Another track from the album – Time” by Sheyana, featured on Tasmanian Original Artists compilation CD and was chosen to be the theme song for the Targa Tasmania racing event that year.
Sheyana embarked on her solo career and success came when Sheyana’s song, Wash me in the water, was selected for the Australian Women’s Singer-Songwriters Compilation CD, Bloomers by Roadshow Warner. This success kicked off Sheyana’s career, leading to her first album, ‘Firehorse’ being recorded, in the old-style fashion on good old real to reel. However, this success was to continue.
In 2005, Sheyana teamed up with former Pale Rider’s guitarist and winner of National best Blues Act, Scott Mainwaring and created a musical partnership that led to producing the award-winning album Sweet Honesty. The single Two Birds lifted from this album won Sheyana the OzSong International Songwriting Award in 2010. In addition, Two Birds was also nominated in the finals for the ABC Songwriting FreshAir Competition.
Not only performing as a duet, Sheyana and Scott also joined forces with seasoned bassist Dan Jeffrey and the talented Beau Thomas on drums and formed The Sheyana Band. The Sheyana Band’s first EP produced an international hit – Keep the Change in 2015. While Sheyana was travelling to Sri Lanka to reunite with her father, Keep the Change hit the international charts and went to number six on the YESFM charts in Colombo Sri Lanka.
While travelling through her newly discovered second home of Sri Lanka and playing to new audiences, Sheyana’s passion for songwriting was ignited by the cultural ambience and her experiences in Sri Lanka, which led to her inspiration and completion of the award-winning album, Big Love. This album intimately reflects Sheyana’s young girl dreams of migrating out of the UK to Tasmania up until current times. Big Love sends a message to the listener…’ to live is to give, so love big.’
Sheyana has produced six studio albums – Life’s like That, Firehorse, Sweet Honesty, Keep the Change, Body of Soul, Big Love.
Sheyana continues to receive national and international recognition and airplay on playlists throughout America, France, Norway, Brazil, London, Germany and Netherlands and continues to rate in the top 5 on Sri Lankan playlists.
In between touring, performing gigs and writing songs, Sheyana is a resident “Between Ship” solo artist on the Spirit of Tasmania and takes bookings for pubs, clubs, music venue gigs, special events, weddings, corporate events and festivals
“We’re so stoked and honoured to receive The Chris Wilson Award 2018 for Emerging Act of the Year.” – The Sheyana Band.
“Winning the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society’s Victorian and Tasmanian blues award is a much deserved and earned recognition of talent and commitment for The Sheyana Band. They are the only act from Tasmania to ever receive this award – Helen Jennings OAM from Melbourne’s PBS 106.7FM’s Roots Of The Rhythm.
Band history & Sheyana reunites with Father, finds new audience in Sri Lanka