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Tuesday, September 20, 2005
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Comoran musician Nawal to perform

ATHENS, Ohio (Sept. 20, 2005) -- Comoran musician Nawal will perform at Ohio University at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6. The concert, sponsored by Ohio University's African Studies program and the International Student Union will take place in the Baker University Center Ballroom. Admission will be $5.

"Nawal's music connects with many of our interests at Ohio University--East Africa, the Muslim world, Africa's women," said Steve Howard, Director of African Studies at Ohio University. "She is gaining recognition on the world music scene and it is exciting for us to have a chance to help promote her beautiful work."

Nawal, known as the "Voice of Comoros," originally comes from the Comoros Islands, also known as the "Perfume Islands" or "Islands of the Moon," located in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa. Putumayo featured Nawal's song "Hima," recorded with Donna Africa, on the "Women of Africa" compilation released in 2004.

Born into a family with many musicians, Nawal was immersed in both popular and spiritual music from a young age, in her native islands and also in her new home in France. Between traditional and contemporary, Nawal's music weaves a rich dialog of cultures, a reflection of the diverse character of life in her native islands. Indo-Arabian-Persian music meets Bantu polyphonies, Sufi chants and the syncopated rhythms of the Indian Ocean.

Nawal sings in Comoran, Arabic, French and English. An acoustic roots-based fusion, her music is rhythmically compelling and beautifully lyrical. She is the first Comoran woman singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist to give performances in public.

Nawal has gained international praise as a self-produced artist with her powerful voice and socially progressive commentary. Nawal has performed professionally for 20 years, and as a multi-instrumentalist she plays the gambusi (Comoran banjo-like instrument, cousin to the oud), the daf (Iranian frame drum) and guitar, among others. Her first full-length album, "Kweli" (Truth), was released in 2001 and was well received by fans and the press.

In 2005, Nawal was selected as one of the four composers for the Sahel Opera, an African opera commissioned by the Prince Claus Fund in Holland. The Opera will premiere in 2006 in the Sahel region of Africa and will later tour in Europe and America.

Nawal is currently performing and touring as part of a trio. Along with Nawal, the trio includes Idriss Mlanao on contrabass and Melissa Cara Rigoli on mbira and percussion.

Tickets will be available at the door. For advance tickets please contact Acacia Nikoi in Yamada International House at 740-597-1511 or nikoi@ohio.edu.  


Media Contact: Jennifer Cochran, Assistant Director for Communication and Graduate Programming, (740) 593-1842 or cochraj1@ohio.edu

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