Russian-Algerian singer Sherazade makes her UAE debut with shows in Al Ain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (March 18-20).
Backed by five-piece French ensemble LavionRose, expect a musical mix fusing East and West, and tradition and modernity. The 26-year-old talent talks about her creative and cosmopolitan life.
She goes by three names
Chahrazed Mahia, Sacha and Sherazade Carmen – Mahia is my family name. My first name is Sherazade and it's written Chahrazed in Arabic – it has another pronunciation in Russian, which is "Shekherezada". But my mother and my Russian family call me Sacha. Carmen was my first guitar. I love this first name I am a great admirer of Bizet's opera Carmen.
She was raised by two countries
Russia and Algeria – and it was very difficult because I had a Russian education and it was not easy for me to travel to Algeria. But I love my two countries and you must know that it’s in the Algerian university that I started playing guitar and singing. My music is influenced by a lot of cultures: you can hear it through my songs.
She always knew that she would be a singer
Since my childhood, my mother was always listening to a lot of music – traditional, classical, Oriental, jazz, blues – so it formed my musical identity. Fayrouz, Maria Callas, Amy Winehouse, Pink, Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Michael Jackson, Azam Ali, Umm Kalthoum, choirs of the red army and a lot of other artists inspired me.
She sings in several languages
Russian, Arabic, French, Armenian, Azeri, Turkish, English – I think it’s a good way to reflect my roots and it’s important for me to preserve them. I sing in Russian because my mother is Russian, in Arabic because my father is Algerian, in Turkish and Azeri because my grandmother has roots from Turkey and Azerbaijan, in Armenian because I visited this country and one of my Russian aunts is married to an Armenian, and in English and French because I want to bring people closer. I really think that art can save the world and music is for me a wonderful tool to do it.
She met LavionRose two years ago
The musicians bring me a lot of affection everyday; we are like a family, we built something so solid together beyond the work we do. Musically, I love the western side they brought to my world, I really love the fusion between my voice and their music – this is world electronic music with a mix of Oriental and western sounds.
She founded a singing workshop in Algeria
It was a breath of fresh air for my vocalists, and for me too; a way for my students to liberate themselves from the chains that Algerian society imposed. The advice I gave and continue to give is to never give up and believe in our dreams. I want to live in peace and I’ll do my best to change things in Algeria, because it’s really a very beautiful country with a great history.
She moved to France two months ago
To be free as a woman, as a singer, just as a person who wants to live free without any prejudices. I want to break taboos and barriers that religion creates between people. I miss my parents and my cats, I miss them deeply every second, but I have to fight to succeed, so I have to be strong. I love France and I always say that I am from a Russian mother, an Algerian father and a French heart.
She is really excited to come to the Middle East for the first time ...
I hope to leave my mark as a singer. It’s very important for me to transmit through my songs, my messages to all humanity; which are peace, love, women’s status, and of course the freedom of expression. I hope the public will be warm; I will give my all to make it an unforgettable performance.
• Sherazade and LavionRose perform at Hilton Al Ain on Friday, March 18 at 7pm (free entry), at The Music Room, Majestic Hotel Tower, Bur Dubai, on Saturday, March 19,) at 9pm (Dh50), and at Hilton Capital Grand Abu Dhabi on Sunday, March 20, at 8pm (Dh100, students Dh50). The concerts are hosted by Alliance Française Abu Dhabi and Alliance Française Dubai