Tonight is the second part of our series Nisa’a/Women: Muslim Cultural Identity-Six Women on Stage and in Conversation. Nisa’a celebrates the powerful artistry of women with roots in Muslim communities in the U.S. and around the world. During extended engagements in the city, these artists will perform and participate in conversations with students at Baltimore City schools and audiences at the Creative Alliance. The dialogue will focus on challenging prevalent stereotypes and building a deeper understanding of the vast artistic identity that is part of the extraordinarily diverse Muslim cultural world.
About Alsarah & The Nubatones:
Alsarah is a Sudanese-born singer, songwriter, and ethnomusicologist. Her musical approach is enchanting and unique, informed by the hypnotic rhythms and melodies of her birthplace but not beholden to them. Alsarah embraces Sundanese tradition with the knowledge that all cultural traditions are constantly evolving based on the nature of creativity and exposure to other cultures. The Brooklyn based group Alsarah & the Nubatones was born out of many dinner conversations between Alsarah and Rami El Aasser about modern migration patterns, the cultural exchanges between Sudan and Egypt, and ‘Songs of Return’. These songs address the longing for home in Alsarah’s Nubian village community as it was before the Egyptian government forced families into exile in order to build the Aswan High Dam. Like American Blues, these songs express sorrow to bring healing – a central purpose of Alsarah’s music. A common love for the richness of pentatonic sounds, and shared migration experiences, expanded the conversation to include Armenian-American oud player Haig Manoukian and French-Togolese bass player Mawuena Kodjovi. Under the leadership of Alsarah, the group’s sound grew into what they dubbed as ‘East- African retro-pop’. After Hiag’s passing, The Nubatones welcomed brilliant oudist and former student of Hiag, Brandon Terzic, and the charismatic and talented vocalist Nahid.
Born in the capital city of Khartoum to human rights activist parents, Alsarah and her family left the ever-stifling regime of her native country and relocated to Taez, Yemen when she was 8-years-old. After trouble began in Yemen, she and her family moved to the US, where Alsarah began her musical training at 12-years-old. Later, she attended Wesleyan University where she studied music with a concentration in Ethnomusicology. Residing in Brooklyn, NY, she has toured both nationally and internationally and received critical acclaim for her Nubatones releases Slit and Manara, her solo release Aljawal, and her work in the group The Nile Project, where she was featured on their debut CD, Aswan (named by NPR as one of the top 5 must hear international albums).
About J Pope and the Hearnow:
Opening the night will be J Pope and the HearNow, a hip hop infused alt-soul group based in Baltimore, Maryland.
As one of Baltimore's best kept musical secrets, the band's reputation for eclectic composition, deft improvisation, and profound lyrical content is built on high-energy live performances. After years of questions (and threats) from their supporters and Baltimore's most renowned performers, J Pope and company have finally finished a studio recording that they're confident will leave their supporters satiated for at least a week (fingers crossed! no, seriously... it's great). Their debut album, Soul Searching, is a snapshot of a period that saw shifting band members, failed experiments, and lessons learned, but also intense moments of inspiration and clarity. The project was produced by acclaimed Baltimore artist Wendel Patrick (Professor of Hip Hop at Peabody Conservatory, Co-producer of PRX's Out of the Blocks) and is set to be released in June of 2017. J Pope and the HearNow is: Jasmine Pope (vocals), Jacob Kohlhas (guitar), Dan Samuels (drums), Andrew Freed (bass), Gabriel Pickus (percussion), Daniel Wallace (saxophone).
This project is made possible through The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts Building Bridge’s Program.
The mission of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s Building Bridges Program is to advance relationships, increase understanding and reduce bias between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.
FRI FEB 16| 8PM | $13, $10 mbrs (+$3 at the door)