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by Alya Al-Sultani

Win Ya Galob 06:42
El Hilwa Di 03:41
Kalimat 05:06
Bahlam Beek 04:34


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.

After spending a few days one winter writing and experimenting with some fragment ideas, they decided that the music needed a cello, and specifically the cello of Shirley Smart, a leading improviser and cross- genre musician who had spent a decade in Jerusalem immersed in the music of the region.

With Alya singing in Arabic and Clemens applying his love of polyrhythmic treatments along with Shirley’s synaesthetic improvising power, they found an instant musical and personal chemistry and began recording their experiments, free improvisations and treatments of folk music, partly using the Fluid Piano, a one of a kind instrument that was housed in Alya’s home for 6 months in agreement with its inventor.


released August 20, 2016

All compositions by Alya Al-Sultani, Clemens Christian Poetzsch and Shirley Smart


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Two Rivers Records London, UK

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