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.