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Gig Alert: Nuriya

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nuriya (Mary Zekaria)

Nuriya
"Ya Vete"
Playing Tuesday at Le Poisson Rouge
(158 Bleecker St., Greenwich Village)
Get: Tickets ($18) | Directions 

There are those who say that on some level all music is autobiographical. The Middle-Eastern and Latin-Spanish flamenco fusion of Nuriya, a Mexico City-born singer-songwriter of Middle Eastern Jewish heritage, would lend credence to this theory.

Having grown up immersed in Latin American and Middle-Eastern culture (where tacos with hummus/tahini and Egyptian classical music and boleros were staples) as a child and then led a "gypsy existence" -- studying and performing in Cuba, Israel, and Europe -- in her late teens, it makes total sense that this chanteuse would be drawn to flamenco, the Spanish-Arabic-Romani music of southern Spain’s Andalusia region.

In Nuriya’s hands, flamenco is the malleable block of wood in which she carves the pop grooves, hip-hop edges, and more in her debut album Tanita (Little Gypsy). “Ya Vete” (“Leave Already”), for instance, flows confidently from its reggae-like opening through moments of R&B and hip-hop until culminating in a Middle-Eastern inflected flamenco-pop song. Nuriya’s music reminds us of Spanish flamenco hip-hop outfit Ojos de Brujo and (fellow Latin American chanteuse of Middle Eastern descent) Shakira.

Download “Ya Vete” above and watch a recent performance of her song “Corazon Nomado” (“Nomadic Heart”) below.

Nuriya performs at Le Poisson Rouge on Tuesday night. 

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