Amira Khier

Date:Sat 16 Feb
Time:8pm
Venue:J2
Price:£17 adv (£11.50 con)

Part of Ahbab Festival 2019 

Hailed as the ‘Diva of the Sudanese desert’ (BBC World News) Sudanese-Italian singer Amira Kheir has been enchanting audiences around the world with a sound inspired by traditional music from her homeland Sudan and anchored in experimental jazz, soul and desert blues. The result is a unique sound that gives tasters of Sudan’s rich musical heritage of distinctive Saharan blues, Nubian and Niloitic music whilst being reflective of the artist’s key jazz and soul influences, and expressing itself through improvisation and experimentation.

Described by Songlines as ‘bold and poetic… beautiful and fearless”, Amira Kheir's music is a rich setting through which all these influences come to life. Within this setting, frenzied East African polyrhythms, pentatonic scales, and ancient mystical Nubian and Niloitic melodies, blend with soulful jazz improvisation in the backdrop of electric desert blues. Kheir’s music possesses within it ancient musical traditions, yet is delivered with a contemporary vibrancy reflective of London’s multicultural music scene. 

 

 

Amira Kheir is a unique artist whose compositions are the meeting point of rivers of sound stemming from very different sources, to create new music that has a coherent identity of its own, expressing itself through improvisation, experimentation and magnetic communication between its band members. To date, she has released three albums to great critical acclaim ‘View From Somewhere (2011), ‘Alsahraa’ (2014), and ‘Mystic Dance’ (2018), all co-released by her independent label Contro Cultura Music and legendary African Music label Sterns Music. Her latest release ‘Mystic Dance’ is a triumphant summation of this, “a tour de force that builds and expands on the rich promise of her 2014 release Alsahraa” (Songlines).

Based in London and singing in Arabic, English and Italian, Kheir has performed at some of the world’s biggest festivals and stages, including Womad Charlton Park (UK), Festival Au Desert (Mali), repeated editions of the London Jazz Festival and London African Music Festival, and the London International Festival for Exploratory Music (LIFEM), as well as touring the Netherlands as part of the ‘World Sessions’ Tour by World Connections. She was commissioned to write and perform an improvised live score for Ernst Lubitsch’s seminal 1920s silent film ‘Sumurun’ by the Bird’s Eye View Film Festival two years in a row, and is repeatedly featured on world renowned magazines including Songlines, fRoots, the Evening Standard, as well as Radio France Internationale, the BBC World News, BBC World Service, BBC 3′s “World on 3 with Lopa Kothari”, BBC Arabic and BBC Persia. She has been nominated as one of the “10 Amazing Jazz Artists from the Middle East and North Africa” by Mideast Tunes, and selected as one of “13 African Artists that will mark the next Decade” by Rede Angola.

As a young singer, musician, composer and producer, Kheir draws from her own multicultural background to create music that explores themes of home, belonging, love, and human evolution. Her music is a spiritual journey, evocative of Northern Sudan’s desert landscape and celebrative of its ancient Nubian culture, but recognising of the world’s multitude realities and need to build bridges, and is rooted in an urgent call for peace, love and unity.

The 4th Ahbab Festival returns to Cambridge for Valentine's weekend 2019 to celebrate Middle Eastern and North African Culture in music, film and discussion with a broad selection of artist from an even broader geography.  

“Bold and poetic… beautiful and fearless” Songlines

“A charming performer who’s captured her live sound well on this debut album” The Independent

“An engaging presence with a lovely honey ‘n’ spice voice” fRoots

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