Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Poetry to Our Ears: Rasha and "Azara Alhai"

Today's song is called Azara Alhai and is performed by Rasha, a Sudanese singer who vocalizes everything from Arabic poetry to Sufi music and even underscores with hints of reggae. Rasha worked in theater, television and radio at the start of her career but was always interested in making music her primary vocation. To gain greater opportunities, she moved to Cairo in 1991 and then went to Spain where she began working on her debut album. That album centers around oud and percussion, enhanced by bass and backing guitar, also throwing in at times violins, accordions and a Sudanese big band. Topping it all are Rasha's vocals. The album, Sudaniyat, was subsequently named by Folk Roots magazine as one of the 10 best of 1997, and is where you will find Azara Alhai. You can also find it on the compilation CD Putumayo Presents: Acoustic Arabia (2008)