“Beats of the Antonov” TIFF ’14 People’s Choice Award Winner


Last year I took a trip to the refugee camps in Maban, South Sudan to work alongside sudanese filmmaker and Refugee Club founder, Hajooj Kuka. He was working on a documentary about the war in the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains of Sudan. He had initially thought the project would merely be about the desperate state of the refugees and the situation in the camps. However when he arrived he quickly discovered a 3 dimensional person instead of the stereotypical ‘victim’ he expected to find. He found a people determined to not merely survive but to live fully and protect their culture fiercely. He found music, rich complex and innovative. After his first trip we met up in Cairo and I saw some of the footage and decided to go back out there with him to get a closer look at the music and its role in this story of displacement.
Along with finding answers about the Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains refugees, we found questions to be asked of all the Sudans, both north and south. What does it mean to be Sudanese? Why have we been in back to back civil wars since our independence? What is Sudanese music? who gets to decide all these things?

Beats of the Antonov saw its world premiere at TIFF ’14 and was selected as the winner for the prestigious People’s Choice Award.

Along with the documentary we are also planning on releasing an album of field recordings that I gathered while out there. I am currently also curating an EP of remixes by some of my favorite producers. More info on both will be coming soon, in the meantime enjoy some samples from the field recordings:

Out Today on 12″ Soukura Remix EP


Design: Maryam Parwana


Wonderwheel Recordings is proud to present the debut EP & a remix 12″ dubbed Soukura Remix EP for Alsarah & The Nubatones. Called “The New Star Of Nubian Pop” by The Guardian, the album, Silt was produced by Alsarah who describes the sound of Silt as “East African Retro Pop” – it’s music that harkens back to the hazy sounds of 1960s and 70s Nubian music with its haunting instrumentation, soaring vocal melodies, and pentatonic arrangements.

The original song “Soukura” a small taste of the upcoming album Silt (out on 3/11) gets a signature deep and entrancing Ancestral Soul remix by African house legend Boddhi Satva . Perennial Wonderwheel favorite The Spy From Cairo gives “Nuba Noutou” a dubby dancehall re-rub, and label head Nickodemus takes “Rennat” into late night house territory with his remix, letting only the slightest of vocals come through and build tension until the final moments of the tune.


Album Release: “Silt” / “طمي” out on 3/11/2014

Cover Design: Maryam Parwana || Photo: Carlos Ramirez

It’s officially time to tell you all the good news, our debut album titled Silt / طمي will be released world wide on March 11, 2014 on Wonderwheel Recordings. The Nubatones original composition Soukura (it’s late) is our first release off the album and you can enjoy listening to it below. You can also pre-order the album today on Vinyl, CD, or Cassette (yeah that’s right, I said cassette).


looking fwd, and back: 2013 recap

I am happy and grateful to say that 2013 has been the most exciting of my career so far. I travelled to places I never thought I would visit, I met inspiring musicians from so many parts of the world and made some beautiful projects along the way. I kicked off the year in Aswan, Egypt with The Nile Project in a 2 week residency bringing more than 17 musicians together from different parts of the Nile basin, followed by 2 weeks of performances around Egypt. Needless to say, it was one of the most enriching musical experiences for me and at the end of it we released a live recording from our first concert, titled appropriately after the city it all happened in, Aswan. The album went on to be named in the top 5 must-hear International albums of 2013 by NPR’s Anastasia Tisoulcas:”… the results are joyous and even raucous.

Shortly after, I travelled to Mogadishu, Somalia for the first music festival since the conflict began in the 1990s and music was officially banned in 2009. Called the Somalia Sunrise Concert Tour this open air festival fronted by the legendary somali hiphop group Waayaha Cusub and produced by Humanitarian Bazaar brought together an alliance of musicians from different parts of the world dubbed the Frontline Music Alliance. Here are some highlights:

Then I followed up with my new found friends that I met in Somalia and did a few shows in Nairobi with the band AfroSimba and Synergy Music Production (Kenya) founder Jamir Adiong, at the Blankets & Wine music series and Tree House Club

I returned home after all that travel and began finalizing the details for the release of my project Aljwal with french producer Débruit, released on 11/11 (my absolute favorite day of the year).This went on to be named one of the top ten favorite world music albums by NPR: “One of my very favorite finds this year…The album is compulsively listenable — and much of it is eminently danceable, like this track, “Sharara” (Spark).

video by Rainbowmonkey.

Wrapping up the year was the second annual secret music salon celebrating the iconic lebanese singer Fairouz‘s birthday. This year held at the Freebrook Mansion, the night featured the music of Omnia Hegazy, DJ Ushka, and The Fairouz Tribute band (Haig Manoukian, Rami El Aasser, Marandi Hostetter, Shelley Thomas, David Buchbut, Bridget Robins, Marissa Arciola, Brian Prunka, and yours truly Alsarah) ….here are some photos:

And to make matters more euphoric, 2014 is gearing up to be no less exciting than the last one. The Nubatones is due to release our first album in March of this year on the nyc based label Wonderwheel Records (but don’t tell anyone I told you that yet); there is another Nile Project tour due to take place over the next two months and I have been making bi-costal cyber musiking with LA based producer Captain Planet. More on that to come soon.


11/11 make a wish: Débruit & Alsarah – aljawal الجوال

Hello again friends!

Remember how I said yesterday I was cooking something up for you and will tell you all about it? well now you know I keep my promises. A few years ago I met Débruit and we wrote a song together, inspired by Sudan, but a child of our global experience. Today that one song has turned into a full album called “aljawal الجوال” and will be released on November 11, 2013 on Soundway. Please keep an eye out for it, and BUY IT when it comes out, so that lil ol’ me can make another album for you guys.


that time in Aswan…

I don’t know if you guys remember or not but this past January, 2013, I along with 18 other musicians from different countries along the Nile basin joined in a wonderful new project called The Nile Project aimed at redefining our understanding of the Nile river and its culture. Needless to say it was a truly inspiring experience. We gathered, we learned, we were forever changed.

Below is a recording from our first live concert in Aswan, Egypt. Please enjoy it, then support the continuation of this project by buying the album



New Release: One Bead by The Epichorus

Late last spring I was contacted by musician and rabbi, Zach Fredman, regarding a project he was working on inspired by his studies of the Oud and Judaic spiritual scriptures. He had written a collection of songs based on text from the book ‘the song of songs’ and his musings on north and east african music and wanted me to join his band, The Epichorus. We met up for coffee to speak about the project more and what was supposed to be a 20 minute meeting about details turned into a 2.5 hour conversation covering everything from the intersection of music and spirituality to the social and religious ramifications of guilt on humanity. It was an artist to artist connection from first meeting.

Needless to say I joined his band of heretics and began showing up for rehearsals and jam sessions fueled by coffee and homemade rhubarb pie. Today, the result of those sessions is realized with the digital release of One Bead. Enjoy.

Sometime ago, in the land of San Francisco…


A few months back, while on a trip to San Francisco I got the chance to spend some time and begin building with some wonderful people. Amongst those people is Meklit Hadero who in turn introduced me to the PortoFranco Records team. They invited my sister Nahid and I to come to their living room office and give them a little sample performance of Sudanese music. The video above is the result of that lovely afternoon.


Dear Fans;

It has come to my attention that a batch of blank CDs were sold today, Sunday June 17th, at the Clearwaters Folk Festival. If you are one of the unfortunate to whom this has happened, I am so sorry for the inconvenience. Please email me here: mail@alsarah.com with you personal email address and a digital file will be emailed to you for a download of the full Alsarah & the Nubatones EP.

My apologies again for this mix up and thank you so much for supporting our music.

You can buy it here…

All you have to do is create an account (just like in itunes), click on the “buy song” button in the music player, and proceed with flexing your consumer muscles…flex it flex it…oh yeah.


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