Liberal arts graduates with a penchant for the intricacies of African music and a home base in Brooklyn- that describes a not insignificant percentage of present day indy rock musicians. However, regardless of the class size, few do it with the style, the historical complexity, or the sheer musicality of Alsarah and the Nubatones, whose fantastic new song, “Nuba Nouto,” we are premiering today. For Alsarah and the Nubatone’s debut album, Silt, the group recalls the sound of the Nubian ’60s and ’70s, calling this style “East African retro pop.”
In addition to being a gifted singer and songwriter, Alsarah also studied ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University. Her deep interest in the history of musical connections and changes shines through on the track. Referencing the Nubian “songs of return” of the ’70s, Alsarah also mixes influences from North African folk to the pop and soul current throughout the region. Alsarah had to leave her original home of Khartoum because of Sudan’s dangerous political situation, so she has a heartfelt connection to the “songs of return” that describe the forced migration of over 100,000 people from lower Nubia resulting from flooding induced by the construction of the Aswan High Dam. “Nuba Nouto” has a rollicking rhythm to it, sounding at once nostalgic and driven toward new musical evolutions in the here and now. The full album drops on March 11- you can pre-order it from Wonderwheel Recordings.
Check out “Nuba Nouto” below: