Who isn’t impressed by a self-taught musician? I found it hard enough to learn an instrument with regular tuition on my side and often wonder how far I would have got if I had persisted? Maybe that’s where I went wrong, maybe I over analysed it all too much and forgot that its more about the feel? For 23 year-old Sudan Archives the feel is just what it’s all about, for she is a self-taught violinist and vocalist who not only plays her own instruments, but writes and produces her own music too! Inspired by Sudanese fiddlers, R&B and West African rhythms, Sudan also incorporates elements of R&B and experimental electronic music into her mix of unique sounds.
Growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sudan had access to numerous instruments in her house and would often play around on these, taking up the violin in fourth grade and eventually teaching herself how to play by ear. Now signed to Stones Throw Records, Sudan has described how it was the discovery of the violin playing style of Northeast Africa that opened her eyes to the new possibilities and capabilities of the instrument: “The way they played it was different from classical music. I resonated with the style, and I was like, ‘Maybe I can use this style with electronic music.'”
Her EP Sudan Archives was released in July and is an extraordinary debut statement from a singular artist. Over six tracks, Sudan Archives layers harmonies, violin figures and ethereal vocals, grounding them all with the hip-hop beats. Come Meh Way is the song that introduced me to her music and encapsulates the perfect blend of electronica and traditional sounds. It’s a stunning listen, as indeed is her whole EP which you can listen to and purchase from here.