This is a FREE, non-ticketed event.
Doors 5pm / Show 6pm
Father of Ethio-Jazz makes his SummerStage debut with support from compelling female vocalists from Tunisia and Sudan by way of New York
Mulatu Astatke (Official Artist Page)
A strident songstress whose intensity is cloaked in melliflous vocals, Emel Mathlouthi is also known for her role as a leading artist in the Arab Spring. Born in Tunis, she was shunned from her country’s official airwaves but rose to prominence through social media. She released her first album, Kelmti Horra (my word is free) in 2012, garnering lavish praise from critics and fans for her powerful vocals laid over a unique mix of north african rhythms and modern electronic beats. Her 2015 was prolific, including work on a new album with producer valgeir siggurdson and culminating with her solo performance at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony. Called one of the top fifteen acts of 2015 by popmatters, Emel Mathlouthi is a unique artist with a powerful message and a voice beyond comparison.
Alsarah & The Nubatones
The superbly dynamic Alsarah is a Sudanese-American singer, songwriter, composer, author and ethnomusicologist. She was born in Khartoum, Sudan, to human rights activist parents. They moved to Yemen, and eventually emigrated to the United States. Alsarah immersed herself in music, listening to bootleg recordings in Yemen and learning piano. She would go on to study ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University, writing her senior thesis on Sudanese Zār music. After graduating in 2004, she moved to New York City and began singing professionally in Arabic, with the Zanzibari band Sound of Tarab. Alsarah then formed the riveting group the Nubatones in 2010, with her sister, Nahid, on backing vocals, bassist Mawuena Kodjovi, oudist Luthier Haig Manoukian, and percussionist Rami El-Aasser. Based in Brooklyn, their sound is imbued with multiculturalism, expressing elements of the modern urban landscape and those of their heritage. They released their debut, Soukura EP, in 2014, followed by the full-length album Silt later the same year. The touchingly melodic and stirring song “Soukura” appears on both albums. They have toured Hungary, Portugal, France, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Egypt, Sweden, and Lithuania. In 2010, she put out a music video called “Vote!”, featuring rapper Oddisee, prompting Sudanese citizens to vote. In 2013, she released the record Al Jawal, a collaboration with French producer Débruit. Alsarah performed at Waayaha Cusub’s Reconciliation Music Festival, was featured in the 2014 documentary Beats of the Antonov, and recently released Manara with the Nubatones in 2016.
As an NYC-transplant from Ethiopia, a nine-year-old Sirak Getachew was immediately bombarded with a whole new realm of cultural influences. Firmly preserving his heritage and identity, Sirak would later incorporate his country of origin’s authentic sounds into his DJ sets. As he established himself as a fundamental voice in the underground hip hop scene, Sirak integrated the thumping beats of these two seemingly different societies into one smooth sound. Sirak often utilizes the vocals and basslines of artists such as Notorious B.I.G. and the Dead Prezidents with the up-tempo drums and clipped breaks that stem from Africa. He is a co-founder of a pivotal company, Africology, an organization devoted to bridging the metaphorical and physical gaps between continents and their endemic cultures, with massive events dedicated to social awareness through entertainment. As he brings “all things Africa” to the forefront of the collective consciousness, Sirak’s music has pervasive implications for the world music scene. With a far-reaching circle of fans, Sirak spins his robust sets all over the globe, from NYC to Nairobi.