Youtube – Magic Carpet Music


Recording Magic Carpet • 1971• Photo by Gabriel Weissmann


From Folk On Tap magazine  

'The recent arrival at FoT Towers of a bulky CD package signified the return of Alisha Sufit, a long-lost name from the past. She originally came to prominence in the early seventies band Magic Carpet, whose only LP release was a limited pressing of just 1,000 copies. It's currently available on the secondhand market for upwards of an astonishing £100! So, Alisha, what's been happening? What's the latest? Tell us a bit about yourself.

ALISHA – 'Originally I did an art training course at Chelsea School of Art, preceded by a year in Paris. When I left art school I was already playing the guitar and I started singing. I learnt a lot of folk songs and also wrote my own compositions. A friend dared me to busk in the Portobello Road market one day, and from then on I busked for some years, which lead to gigs and radio. Soon I joined with three other musicians to form a band called Magic Carpet. The line up was Clem Alford (sitar), Jim Moyes (electric guitar), and Keshav Sathe (tabla , percussion), with partly my own songs and partly pure instrumental tunes. We made the LP Magic Carpet (Mushroom 200 MR 20) and this has since become a collector's item, selling for crazy sums of money. We played at various festivals and clubs, including Cleo Laine's place at Wavendon, the 100 Club, plus we did BBC radio's Sounds of the Seventies, but the band split up after less than a year.'



Busking in Portobello Road in the 1970s

Here for latecomers and historians is Magic Carpet's Magic Carpet (MC 1001 CD & LP) made affordable again, and re-released on the aptly named Magic Carpet Records label. The CD version includes an added bonus track, the twenty minute "Raga", whilst a limited edition on vinyl (MC 1001 LP) of just 1000 copies - 500 only numbered and signed by the band - will prove to be yet another future collector's item. The album itself is a strange fusion of Indian and Alisha's folk worlds. It was obviously a 'child of its time' and was the perfect accompaniment for a lost weekend of bon vivant dipsomania.

ALISHA– "During the eighties I became interested in jazz and learnt a wide repertoire of standards, doing gigs with guitar or piano accompaniment at various venues around London and elsewhere. After a post graduate illustration course at St .Martin's School of Art, I continued to work at both art and music. I've written hundreds of songs over the years and in 1994 I brought out a solo album.'

Alisha Through the Looking Glass (SUFIT 010 CD and MC 1000 LP) sees her joined by some fine players: Bernard O'Neill (double bass) Chris Haigh (mandolin), Mamadi Kamara (congas), Alan Dunn (accordion), Ray Warleigh (sax), and Keshav Sathe (Tabla).

Love and music are as essential to each other as are breathing and oxygen, but frequently are only represented by the sickly, overblown and sentimental, rather than the truly heart wrenching. There are moments on this recording that redress that balance and address the fact that love is almost always pain.

But in contrast Sleazy Geezer and Potato On the Side are written in a jazzy, lighter mode, with the song Tricks Like This panning into a wider view, making wry comment on the state of the world. The album ends with the One dark Night a celtic flavoured tune with tabla rhythms echoing the feel of the original Magic Carpet.

ALISHA – 'Magic Carpet Records recently issued for the first time a recording that I made in 1974, when Nick Sykes invited me to record at the famous R.G. Jones Studios, having heard me in Portobello Road market busking. My friend Davey Graham, the guitarist, has done the sleeve notes for the sixteen page booklet. It includes lyrics, archival photos and artwork from the era.'

Love and the Maiden (MC 1002 CD) is a delightful solo acoustic collection. It's not an imaginary movie soundtrack, more a soundtrack for your imagination. There's no subterfuge, no gimmickry, nothing to mark it out as anything new or radical, its pure rhythms and painfully evocative melodies, each serving the other with the grace and elegance of a choir of angels. Why is it so beautiful? Why does it seem to say so much? Perhaps it's something to do with the free reign of imagination, with the trust Alisha is prepared to place in us, the listeners, in our ability to be seduced rather than beckoned. Geoff Wall –  Folk On Tap magazine   

Alisha 1968

Dirty Linen (US magazine) – Review of Alisha Through the Looking Glass –  'She is more expressive than ever and has recruited some excellent musicians. The songs are, for the most part, quite sophisticated and some of them reveal a touch of whimsy. A few of the gems include Sleazy Geezer and Change Your Heart.'

Phil McMullen of Ptolemaic Terrascope (UK magazine) writes –  'The interesting thing is not just that Ms. Sufit seems to have weathered the intervening years extremely well, but that her voice - always a highlight and possessing an extraordinary range and timbre - is still intact. Like it's predecessor, Magic Carpet, Alisha Through the Looking Glass is engineered in glorious analogue by Vic Keary.'

ON Magazine (London)  'Alisha Sufit scored a cult success with the band Magic Carpet back in the 70s and has just released her CD Alisha Through the looking Glass. It's a quirky idiosyncratic creation, immaculately recorded and intensely personal. The haunting melody of 'Where My Heart Is' is astounding in its delivery and poignancy. If you're an admirer of the McGarriggle Sisters check this. Sufit often comes close to matching their textural qualities with her vocal double tracking.' 

Folk Roots magazine (UK)  'Aside from some Indian percussion, it's pretty much a European album . . a bit on the chanteuse side . . she has a truly superb voice variously reminiscent of Sandy Denny, Joni Mitchell, Millicent Martin (now there's a name rarely mentioned in these pages), even Marlene Dietrich and Edith Piaf (on Tu Ne M'Aime Pas, the only song not in English).'  Vol 15. No. 9

Record Collector magazine (UK)  –  'Alisha Sufit, whose impressive voice and songwriting contributed immeasurably to the fact that the Magic Carpet album is such a collector's item, returns with her own album Alisha Through the Looking Glass . .'

You can buy all the above CDs and LPs direct from Magic Carpet Records (see Shop below)

Alisha's book of poetry and pictures Moon Clippings is stocked by Waterstone's and other book stores or you can order it direct from this site's online shop below.

Falling Upwards a novel written by Alisha Sufit is available in paperback from and in digital format from Kindle and other digital book stores.


Clem Alford

Magic Carpet lyrics

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