EP Review: Tara Kannangara – Extraordinary People

The artist explores fitting in across different worlds and cultures on her engrossing and creative new EP Extraordinary People

As a Sri Lankan woman based in Toronto, Tara Kannangara (prounounced Tar-uh Cannon-geh-ra) is an artist who has felt like she is caught uncomfortably between two worlds that she can’t quite call her own, not feeling entirely at home in the Western culture she lives within or the South Asian culture where he roots lie. This complicated situation forms the basis of the artist’s brand new EP Extraordinary People, an exploration of identity and longing that sees the artist yearning for the safety of “fitting in”.

The EP opens with ‘Apartment’, a dreamy fairytale of a track that sees the artist yeaning for the kind of romance and adventure that you see in romantic comedies. There is something really charming about the earnest and poppy nature of the sound that feels rewarding throughout, melding delicate and thoughtful moments with more hard-edged guitars and a sense of dynamism that feels multi-faceted and engrossing throughout.

The album’s more central theme of wanting to fit in and feel a part of something is explores on the follow up track ‘Frank’, a track that has a more experimental and off-kilter feel to it stylistically while still maintaining the artist’s distinctive appeal. The unique appeal of the track and its adventurous feel does a nice job of articulating everything that it represents, feeling weird and sonically out there and not really fitting in to any kind of conventional genre ideas or boxes, but having all of the charm and appeal in the world anyway, and often because of the way that it feels so different to anything else.

‘Name Song’ is a fun track that sees the artist again utilising breadth and scope of her creative sound to defiantly tackle the way that people often mispronounce her name or get it wrong. This track is yet another that encapsulates everything that makes the EP and project of a whole feel so exciting and fresh, with moments of heaviness and moments of dreamy levity, with hard-hitting lyrics and playful instrumentation just creating a sensory overload of sights and sounds that capture your imagination and attention with effortless ease.

The following track is ‘Lisa Turtle’, a glowing homage and love letter to the Saved By The Bell character it is named after, somebody who is one of the artist’s favourite characters from TV. The artist’s eclectic soundscape continues to make for fun and dynamic listening on the track, and makes for a fitting love letter to someone who clearly had an impact on the artist. From the fun nature of the track’s upbeat style to the call and response vocals that come towards the end, the track is packed full of interesting moments and adds more distinctive flavour to the collection of tracks.

The EP closes out with its title track ‘Extraordinary People’, a thoughtful track that sits at over six minutes long, tying together the themes of the release, exploring the individuality and value in each person and the strength in the things that both separate us and bring us together. The track has a more subdued feel to it stylistically and this provides a compelling juxtaposition to some of the busier moments that full up the EP, further cementing her expansive appeal and asserting the genius in her work.

While feeling ostracised and unsure of her standing because of her differences and feeling caught between cultures, it is all of the things that make Tara Kannangara feel different and unique that make her debut EP shine and feel so special. Whether from the unique lens and perspective that her writing comes from, to the unrestrained and daring nature of her soundscapes, the EP feels unrestricted from the shackles that so much modern music feels tied to, and whether that is due to Tara’s unique cultural background or otherwise, it feels like her differences and what makes the sound stand out are things that should be celebrated and encouraged.