Somewhere “between deliciously tactile rapping and spellbinding singing.”
By David Icke Turner
Photo by Braden Lee
Sudanese-American artist Dua Saleh has released a new EP titled ROSETTA via Against Giants. The artists debut EP Nūr record was released in January of 2019 via the Against Giants record label and was critically acclaimed. This past May 30, Saleh released the single “body cast” to address police brutality in her home state of Minnesota. The Minneapolis-based artist and producer Psymun made the record alongside Dua Saleh. The title was reportedly inspired by Gospel recording artist Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The record also sees Saleh sing in Arabic on the song “Smut”.
Saleh has a storied background which adds to the authenticity of their works. The artist was born in Kassala, Sudan to a family part of the ethnic minority Tunjur people. The artist’s family soon became refugees of the Second Sudanese Civil War in the mid 1990s. Fleeing war torn Sudan when Saleh was five years old, the family later moved several times. First to the nearby country of Eritrea and later emigrating to the U.S. via North Dakota, Maine, and Newark, New Jersey, before finally settling in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Saleh has acknowledged a keen awareness of “ danger, systemic oppression, and resistance in their upbringing as a source for their interest in community organizing.” Saleh studied at Augsburg University and double-majored in gender, women’s, and sexuality studies and sociology.
Saleh’s musical style is a complex intermingling of pop, R&B, Sudanese soundscapes, and sing-rapping. The vocal style has been described as “between deliciously tactile rapping and spellbinding singing.” There seems to be thematic syncretism between their Islamic, Sudanese roots and queer, non-binary identities. Highlights on the record include the fluttering, cryptic vocals on “windhymn” and the delicate, closing harmonies on “bankrupt”.
Check out the new EP below.