Sculpture Garden
Alsarah. Photo: Atong Atem

Alsarah, lead vocals; Nahid, vocals; Brandon Terzic, oud; Mawuena Kodjovi, bass, trumpet, and vocals; Rami El Aasser, percussion and vocals

Alsarah is a singer, songwriter, and ethnomusicologist, born to human-rights-activist parents in Khartoum, Sudan. The family resettled first in Yemen and, when civil war broke out there, in Massachusetts, where she and her sister Nahid began their musical training. The Nubatones emerged from a common love for the richness of pentatonic sounds in Sudanese and Nubian music and the shared migration experiences of the musicians, who include the Egyptian-American Rami El Aasser, the Togo-born, French-raised bassist Mawuena Kodjovi, and the Midwestern oud player Brandon Terzic. The Brooklyn-based group’s sound soon grew into a style Alsarah dubbed “East African retro-pop.” Since its first show in October 2011, the group has performed nationally and internationally at many prestigious festivals and venues. March 2014 saw the release of the Nubatones’ debut album, Silt, and in 2016 they released their second album, Manara (Wonderwheel Recordings). With audiences of nearly every age and ethnicity, the Nubatones have proven over and over that soul crosses all cultural and linguistic barriers.

Set begins at 6:30 p.m. Regular Museum admission applies. Performances take place in the Sculpture Garden. In the event of rain, the Garden will close, and music will take place in Theater 1. Please note: Sculpture Garden and indoor seating are limited and on a first-come, first-served basis.

The musical component of Summer Thursdays 2017 features artists who embody a borderless musical vocabulary; combining sonic and lyrical traditions from around the world, they trace the contours of their multicultural backgrounds and transcend traditional ideas of citizenship, nations, and boundaries. These musicians are deeply immersed in the defining challenges of the 21st century. With roots in Africa, Asia, South America, North America, and Europe, but currently residing in New York or elsewhere in the United States, each personifies an inclusive attitude filled with heart and soul.

Organized in collaboration with PopRally and on the occasion of the digital exhibition Crossing Borders: Immigration and American Culture, the musical component of Summer Thursdays 2017 is presented in conjunction with Citizens and Borders, a series of projects at MoMA related to works in the collection that offer critical perspectives on histories of migration, territory, and displacement.

This event is part of Summer Thursdays.