One of this year’s most anticipated African releases from one of the continent’s most fascinating current bands, Alsarah & the Nubatones’ “Manara” is out today with its multi-coloured beauty.
Sudanese singer-songwriter and ethnomusicologist, Alsarah drew attention of those who had a chance to see her live even before the release of her group’s debut album, “Silt”, which obviously appeared in our Best of 2014. Her powerful voice and eclectic mix of North and East African tunes as well as Arabic sounds and traditions resulted in fascinating journey of discovery into old Nubian and Sudanese music.
If “Manara” seems warmer but also more contemplative and mature than their previous effort, it naturally comes from the time and experiences the band (with new members) spent together during the last two years touring around the world. But also from the reflection on growing migration crises, when millions of people don’t know if they ever come back home and see their families.
“As the sea takes us,” Alsarah explained, “Manara” is the “lighthouse anchoring our journey, and the keeper of our secrets. Not a destination, but rather a marker along the way.”
Stream “Manara” LP on Bandcamp.
Photo: Carlos Ramirez