Alsarah is a Sudanese born singer, songwriter and ethnomusicologist. Born in the capital city of Khartoum, where she spent the first 8 years of her life, she relocated to Taez, Yemen with her family to escape the ever-stifling regime in her native country. She abruptly moved to the US in 1994, when a brief civil war broke out in Yemen. Alsarah started her musical training at the age of 12. After attending the pioneer valley performing arts charter high school, in hadley, MA, she spent 4 years at Wesleyan University studying music with a concentration in ethnomusicology residing in Brooklyn, NY, she is a self-proclaimed practitioner of East-African retro pop. Working on various projects, she most recently has been working with the Nile project and was featured on their debut release, Aswan (named 1 of the top 5 must hear international albums of 2013 by npr). She has also collaborated with French producer Débruit on the album Aljwal, released this past November via Soundway records. She toured the release in July 2014. She released her debut album with her band Alsarah & the Nubatones in the spring of 2014. Alsarah & the Nubatones were born out of many dinner conversations between Alsarah and Rami El Aasser about Nubian ‘songs of return’, modern migration patterns and the cultural exchanges between Sudan and Egypt. A common love for the richness of pentatonic sounds, and shared migration experiences, expanded the conversation to include Armenian American oud player Haig Manouki and a French born Togo raised bass player Mawuena Kodjovi. Under the leadership of Alsarah, the Brooklyn based group’s sound grew into what they have dubbed as ‘east African retropop’. In March of 2014 the group released their debut album “silt“ via Wonderwheel recordings to international acclaim and great reviews, with the single soukura (it’s late) debuting on spin magazine’s blog. October of the same year saw the release of “silt remixed” featuring remixes by bodhisattva, nickodemus, captain planet, chancha via circuito, and many others. It also went on to be selected by the prestigious fact magazine as one of the best remix albums of 2014.
Unfortunately that year also marked the passing of founding member Hiag Manoukian from this world into the next. Taking his place is the brilliant oudist, and former student of Hiag, Brandon Terzic. In addition we have also grown to include the charismatic and talented vocalist Nahid as a full time member of the band now. Since their first show in October of 2011, the group has performed nationally and internationally at many prestigious festivals and venues. With audiences varying in age and ethnicity, the Nubatones has proven over and over that soul crosses all cultural and linguistic barriers.