Nawal. Music of the Comoros. Featuring Samhey Band
23 November 2016, Wednesday 20:00
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Nawal, the world known singer and song writer from the Comoro Islands, will play at Erarta Stage on 23 November.


The breath of the Indian Ocean. Music of the Comoros. 

In these chilly November days welcome to the remote Comoros, also known as "The Perfume Islands" or "The Islands of the Moon", located in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Africa. This is a country where life is going on leisurely and it does not attempt to make technical progress, preserving their own course of nature and cultural heritage.

Nawal is a singer and a song writer; today she is recognized as being a key figure from her native islands: the ever rising star of Comoros. As well she is an Ambassador of Goodwill of UN in Comoros. Mixing her ancestral Afro Sufi roots with her global passion, she creates a unique sound. Not infrequently her music is inspired by dhikr — the traditional Sufi Chants. Between traditional and contemporary, Nawal’s compositions are an acoustic roots-based fusion, a reflection of the diverse character of the Comoros and beyond. Nawal sings mostly in Shikomor, the Bantu language of Comoros, and mixes in French, English and Arabic. Beyond music, she communicates a universal message of spirituality and peace.

In this concert Nawal’s music finds a new sound through kind involvement of Petersburg musicians from SAMHEY band.


In concert:

Nawal — vocals, guitar, gambussi, daf.

Denis Kucherov — tabla, hang, pakhawaj, tambourine, kanjira.

Nastya Saraswati — 13-string Indian violin, flute, ethnic flutes (bansuri, whistle, hulusi, shakuhachi), sarangi and vocals.



About the musicians:

Nawal was born in a sufi family, so Nawal was bathed in spiritual music from a young age. She had started playing guitar when she was 7, and after she had learned such traditional African instruments as gambusi, daf, mbir, the Nigerian drum, halo, flute, etc. She moved to France, which is considered to be her adoptive country. Nawal was educated at the Berlin Conservatory, and she was studying psychology in Paris as well. Nawal states “My main instrument, before anything, is the voice”. It’s such a deep mesmeric voice with a wide range. Nawal communicates something bigger than music — she has the capacity to touch people’s hearts with her powerful voice and message. Nawal sings in favor of all humans, for peace and union. 

Nawal has performed professionally for over 25 years, with concerts internationally in Europe, North America, Africa, the Indian Ocean and the Middle East. She performed in Sakifo Festival, Reunion Island; Sauti za Busara, Zanzibar, Tanzania;  The Kennedy Center, Washington DC USA;  Berlin Philharmonic, Germany; Arab Institute, Paris; Musée de Quai Branly, Paris and many other places.

Her first album “Kweli” (The Truth) was released in 2001. In 2007 Nawal released her second album “Aman” (Peace of the Soul) which was awarded stunning reviews from the international press. In 2011 Nawal celebrated the release of her solo album “Embrace the Spirit” (Jade/Universal). Nawal has toured solo, in a trio, a quartet and with the “Femmes de la Lune”, a group of 6 women from Mayotte who sing and dance the tradition of the islands. Today she is celebrating the release of the documentary film, “Nawal et les Femmes de la Lune” which follows Nawal during her quest exploring the ancient feminine Sufi musical traditions of the Indian Ocean, and the creation of the group. 

Denis Kucherov — the creator of SAMHEY music band, plays Indian percussion instruments, as well as African and Arabian percussion, and also the electronic percussion. He graduated from the Institute of Prayag Sangeet Samiti (master's degree). He was the pupil of Ustad Rafi-ud-din Sabri from Delhi Gharana school — the oldest school of tabla. He has performed at the head stages in India.

Nastya Saraswati — singer of Indian classical music, plays a unique violin (13 strings). She continues to study in India at the legendary musicians L. Subramaniam, S. and J. Ghosh Akkar.

SAMHEY performs regularly together with Russian and foreign stars, such as Tony Levin (King Crimson), Ustad Shahid Parvez, Boris Grebenshchikov, Virgo Premana, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Deva Premal.


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