ALEXANDER BISLEY asks Madeleine Sami a few quick questions ahead of upcoming WOMAD and Auckland Festival engagements.

MADELEINE SAMI’s performance of all nine roles in Toa Fraser’s 1999 play No. 2 was a dazzling tour-de-force that garnered worldwide acclaim. Now the effervescent Irish-Indian actress you may remember from Sione’s Wedding has joined forces with her sisters Anji and Priya, forming The Sami Sisters. The Onehunga trio will be singing at WOMAD 2009 and Auckland Festival 2009.

All the world’s a stage, eh?

Yup. Any opportunity I get I will take! Haha!

How does the emotional connection of live theatre and singing differ?

Singing for me is a far more revealing experience. In theatre I create a character and submerge the real me inside that character and feel quite safe and protected within that. Whereas with singing, well, it’s just me up there. Singing my words. In my real voice. Oh god! What am I doing?! Yeah, nah. Still freaks me out a bit. I love it though.

Describe The Sami Sisters’ sound, style and creative philosophy?

Oh gosh. Um... We’re a little bit country, a little bit pop, a little bit 50s, a little bit alt/rock. We’re music mongrels. There are three ever changing musical personalities expressing their little hearts out.

How much time do you spend in Onehunga?

Well, the girls have both moved back home and I am up the road so plenty of time spent in Onehunga. We’ve heard there’s a studio there as well. It would be really romantic if we could record there. I love it there. We could ride our matching bikes to the studio and go to the mall in our lunch breaks.

What do you want the WOMAD audience to take away?

Well I just hope they like us really. And remember us. And buy our CD. Or download it. Legally of course. Or illegally. If they do it illegally that means they really really like us because they’re willing to go to jail for us!

Who are you looking forward to at WOMAD?

I went last year to see Beirut but my favourite acts ended up being the things that I never would have thought to go and see. I mean how many people plan on seeing the Taiko drummers? Me and Priya (youngest Sami) chanced upon them and they ended up being our highlight. WOMAD rules! It’s the best run festival in New Zealand I reckon.

Two of your most memorable gigs performing?

We supported Rufus Wainwright at the beginning of last year. He is one of my favourite all time songwriters. It was like our fourth ever gig and I’d just flown in from France so I was jetlagged as a Muthaf#@ka! But it was awesome. He watched a bit from the side. I’m glad I didn’t see him because I might have fainted.

Two of your most memorable gigs as an audience member?

Leonard Cohen. Mesmerising. And Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Also mesmerising.