Born in Sudan, raised in Yemen, and now based in Brooklyn, Alsarah is not only a gifted musician and singer but also a self-proclaimed practitioner of East African retro-pop. Alsarah & the Nubatones was born out of many dinner conversations between Alsarah and percussionist Rami El-Aasser about Nubian “songs of return,” modern migration patterns, and the cultural exchanges between Sudan and Egypt. Soon the project expanded to include Armenian American oud player Haig Manoukian and French-born, Togo-raised bass player Mawuena Kodjovi. Since their first show in 2011, the group has performed nationally and internationally at many prestigious festivals and venues to audiences varying in age and ethnicity, proving that soul crosses all cultural and linguistic barriers.
Called “one of the wonders of world trance music” by the Los Angeles Times, Iranian singer Mamak Khadem captivates audiences by blending her roots in the ancient poetry and music of the Persian masters with a bold and revolutionary new sound. Her latest album, The Road, invites us on a journey that includes her native Iran as well as Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, and Arab-Andalusia. Always searching for threads of connection, Khadem draws upon a treasure trove of traditional melodies, rhythms, and poetry to create a lush sonic landscape that is nothing short of intoxicating.
Founded in 2009, Tribu Baharú is an Afro-Champeta music crew from Colombia’s Caribbean coast who are influenced by the “picó” (pick-up or sound system) culture present in many Caribbean countries. Champeta (originally a term that refers to a fisherman’s knife) is an infectious dance music influenced by Colombian folk music, Congolese soukous, Haitian kompa, zouk, calypso, mbaqanga, soca, rap, and reggae. The band’s mission is to convey the joy of being Afro-Colombian through exuberant dance, using music as their vehicle, and change negative perceptions of Champeta culture by sharing positive messages through music.
For her return to ArtPower—following her sold-out U.S. debut here—Thalma de Freitas joins forces with her father, Laércio to showcase beautiful Brazilian jazz music that demonstrates the power of cross-generational influences.
Father/daughter duo Laércio and Thalma have a long and rich history of writing and performing music together. Thalma credits her father for developing her musical ear and exposing her to the deep roots of jazz music in Brazilian culture.
Jesús Alemañy, founder of Latin orchestra ¡Cubanismo!, achieved fame as the brilliant 15-year-old trumpet player for the iconic Cuban son group Sierra Maestra. His all-star band performs sizzling dance tunes that recall the vintage big-band sound, traditional rumba, cha-cha, danzon, and pa’ca rhythms arranged in the descarga (jam) tradition developed by Cuban jazz players of the 1940s.