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6Qs with Singer Alsarah //

byMarwa Helal

Mesmerizing, her voice slices through time and space, transporting listeners to a place we need to be reminded exists. On stage she transforms as she holds the audience’s energy in the palm of her hand, moving from deep, soulful, even somber tunes to lively, joyful ones, you can’t help but move and clap along to. Alsarah; featured on our Artists to Watch in 2011 list; we’re looking forward to her soon to be released album, but for now check the interview and track below…

Acapella or Instrumental: Both
Autotune vs. Kanye’s Soul Samples: Don’t want either
TLC vs. Destiny’s Child: “Don’t want no scrub” vs. “Say my name,”…I just can’t choose

1. If you could create or sing a soundtrack to any film, what would it be?
I would create the soundtrack to a National Geographic film about killer whales.

2. What do you do to prepare for a performance?
I stretch for 15 minutes and gargle with brandy or whiskey.

3. You have breathed new life into Arabic singing. Why the choice to sing in Arabic?
Arabic is my first language.

It felt like my voice chose to sing in Arabic as opposed to me consciously choosing to sing in Arabic. It was instinct, and I believe in following my instincts.

LISTEN: Alsarah and The Nubatones – “Rennat”

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Click here to download this track and more from Alsarah >>

4. Your Sudanese-Nubian heritage is important to you. What do you want people to know about Sudan? And how do you reflect this in your work?
I think its important to me that people understand the vast diversity of Sudan. We are not any one thing, we come in all different shapes and colors, and we speak all sorts of languages and have all sorts of religious beliefs. I try to reflect it in my work by being true to myself and singing about my truth (no such thing as THE truth) to help present my Sudanese story.

5. What is the best thing and the worst thing about music these days?
I think the global nature of music, and its accessible digitization might be the best thing about music for me today. I don’t need anyone else really to record and leave my music (at least my voice, if not the rest) behind as my legacy. No need to depend on a label or any of that to make an album. You really can do it yourself. The worst thing about music these days is…

everyone expects music to be free. People are willing to drop $50 on a night of drinking but won’t spend $15 on a live show…weird.

6. How do you collaborate with your band The Nubatones?
I bring them my ideas (original compositions or covers) and they take it, make sense out of it, and apply it to their instruments in a way that is distinctly ours…they are magical that way. We also love to eat lots of good food when we are together, I think that is an integral part of our process to be honest. Food+Music = good times

For more about Alsarah, visit >>

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