Single: The Lunar Calendar – I can’t swim

“The Lunar Calendar is the project of Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter Saher Khan (they/them). Saher was born on the West Coast and raised on the Gulf Coast in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in a Pakistani-Muslim family. In college at LSU, Saher began performing original songs locally. They joined two Louisiana bands — chamber folk-punk quintet BEHN and rock-jazz quartet Black Eyed Susan — before moving to Pennsylvania in 2019 and releasing their first music as The Lunar Calendar.

Saher’s songs are simple tell-alls: honest, somber, hopeful prose-poems that reveal fractious embodiment, religious trauma, and the process of creating home. “Wendy Darling” was inspired by school-induced depression and the anxiety of growing up, while their latest single “Billie’s Song” honors the memory of their beloved dog Billie Joe. Upcoming single “”I can’t swim”” is their most ambitious song yet, a hopeful tune story-telling the time they almost drowned at the age of 2.

The Lunar Calendar has performed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Louisiana as a solo act, a duo, and a full band featuring Thomas Hagen (Sargasso, Stone Skipper), Violet James McMaster (LVNDR, Bren) and Charles Raffaele (The Galaxy Has Eyes).”

“At live shows, I always introduce this song as “”a song about how I suck at swimming,”” but it’s more than that. When I was 2 years old, I almost drowned in my cousins’ pool in California, but what I don’t mention in the song is that my cousins leaped in and saved me. There were a few moments where I was flailing underwater, and my poor eyesight could only see the rippling blue chlorinated water in front of me, and I thought I might die. Then the two of them, only a few years older than I, both carried me to the proverbial shore of their backyard bungalow. To this day, my cousins are like sisters to me.

For years after, I would struggle to learn how to swim. I took lessons as a kindergartener, then again as a teenager in Louisiana, then after college my biology teacher from high school attempted to teach me how to swim in her neighborhood pool. I still struggle with swimming confidently.

To this day, I am afraid of drowning, but every time I’ve taken lessons, every time I brave a trip to the beach, I remember little bits from my fractured training, and I get closer to the sensation of floating.

This song functions as a metaphor for the uphill climb my own mental health journey has been on. I started recording this song after the Covid-19 pandemic, and bit by bit I built the song at Shard Recording Studio in Bethlehem, PA. It took me forever to decide the song was done, and when it was, I nearly cried. It has been a deep labor of love.

The song mentioned in the text is a poignant representation of the trials and tribulations of childhood, a topic that many of us can relate to on a personal level. It is heartening to see Saher Khan bravely share this story with us. Moreover, I am delighted to introduce another talented musician of Pakistani descent (same as Zoya), whose music is a unique blend of folk and indie rock. The song is a haunting and evocative piece, with its stirring guitar riffs and powerful drum beats. There is something about it that draws one in and keeps you hooked, making it a great track to listen to on repeat.