Imagine an Arabic female voice, wandering through space and clusters of notes, distortion and pure sound, taking you on a journey through Iraqi and Arabic folk songs as you've never heard them before.
Sawa is a trio of three established soloists and bandleaders that began as a collaboration between British-Iraqi composer and vocalist Alya Al-Sultani based in East London and award- winning composer and pianist Clemens Christian Poetzsch from Leipzig.
Alya's first non-classical recording was recorded in New York with the Shamash Ensemble which she put together especially for this explorative and playful album. The album features some of New York's most exceptional world and jazz musicians. Given four stars by Songlines Magazine, each track explores musical influences, from Alya's contemporary jazz compositions to new treatments of Iraqi folk music to free improvisations.
Released in April 2015 on Two Rivers Records.
Three Ages of Woman/Mother
Three Ages of Woman / Mother is a multi-tracked vocal suite recorded during the COVID-19 lockdown, as the beginning of research and development of an opera based on the stories of my mother and father.
It is recorded by Alex Bonney at Cafe Oto. Each "layer" is recorded blind and from memory, echoing the way that memories of refugees and the diaspora are both powerful and unreliable.
Return / Exile
The next in the series of vocal multi-tracked experiments, this time playing with the concept of national anthems and Arabic poetry about exile.
Self lost / self found
The last in the series of vocal multi-tracked experiments, using extended opera techniques to describe the feeling of fracture and coming back together, the impact of trauma and the joy of reconnecting with the self.