Wednesday, October 13, 2021 | 8:00 pm
Minneapolis-based vocalist, spoken-word poet, and actor Dua Saleh began recording music only two years ago, garnering immediate acclaim with the release of 2019’s Nūr — meaning “the light” in Arabic. Saleh (who identifies as gender non-binary and goes by they/them pronouns) followed the next year with Rosetta: a genre-bending EP whose title pays homage to pioneering rock guitarist Sister Rosetta Tharpe, blending warm vocals with raw hip-hop passages and haunting, otherworldly electronics.
For Saleh — a Sudanese native, who fled the country with their family as a child to escape civil war — these musical excursions reflect a life spent working across different kinds of divisions: borders, media, identities, and protest lines.
Dua Saleh comes to Durham as part of Duke Performances’ Building Bridges series, which since 2018 has showcased the work of US-based Muslim artists who engage with questions of personal and spiritual identity across a range of genres: from the traditional (maqam, Gnawa) to the contemporary (hip-hop, jazz, R&B, punk). At The Pinhook, Saleh brings this hybridity of perspective as a queer Muslim Sudanese-American artist to bear, in a way that acknowledges but ultimately transcends these classifications. The result is a music deeply in conversation with their African ancestry and the future possibilities of the diaspora: a sound that collapses the distance between global and local, personal and political.
NOTE: The Pinhook requires masks to be worn inside (except when actively drinking), as well as proof of COVID vaccination or a negative PCR test within 48 hours of the show.