When I think of one word to describe Brooklyn-based Sudanese soul singer Alsarah, the word that comes to mind is "force". She is a presence, a force when she takes the stage, and transports her audience to another time and place in the way only a true artist can.
Alsarah performs in quite a few different styles of traditional music from Africa's rich diasporan history. She sings aghani al banat, or "girls' music", a playful genre native to Central Sudan which is usually performed during wedding festivities.
Alsarah is also a member of The Sounds of Taraab, a group playing traditional music of Zanzibar and the coastal towns of East Africa. This genre, which is over 100 years old, is a hybrid of African, Indian, and Arabic styles of music, a blend which was fostered by the trade routes through the region.
Alsarah also counts American soul music among her many influences, and sings modern soul songs in english along with traditional songs in arabic at her shows, making for a wonderful musical journey where one can really see the roots and interconnectedness of music.
A mainstay on the New York performance circuit, Alsarah's star continues to rise, and she recently opened for Somalian rapper K'naan. In addition to performances, she is currently in the studio hard at work on a forthcoming EP, which will include songs in arabic and english.
For performance dates and more information:
Photo by Alaric Campbell