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Rasha
Let Me Be
Nubenegra (www.nubenegra.com)

Rasha was born in Ondurmán, in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. But due to the civil unrest in her homeland, she was forced to move to Cairo in 1991, and now resides in Spain. This sense of being an exile clearly informs her work; with songs like the standout "Blue Sudan Blues" in which she wonders when she will be able to return to her beloved Sudan, and on "Oh Sudan, I Am Sorry" where she laments the current state of this once peaceful nation. Other songs deal with the plight of refugees, the rights of women, the night and the stars.

Rasha sings in Arabic, Spanish and English. Stylistically, the songs include traditional Sudanese, reggae, blues and flamenco, all done in a contemporary jazz context. So while this is in many ways a very commercial CD, it still manages to stay in touch with its diverse roots. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to simultaneously listen to Sade and Aster Aweke while vacationing at the Alhambra with a classical Arabic orchestra (and who hasn't?) this CD is the answer. - Eric Iverson


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