Award-winning multilingual and cultural behemoth Suzan Kerunen unveiled her fifth studio album From Ashes We Rise, on 29th April 2022.
From Ashes We Rise is a collaborative multilingual effort which boldly tells our African story. The stories consist of our African triumphs, battles, and more victories to come. The album is meant to inspire and give the African people a new hope despite the times. It talks about efforts that are ongoing such as decolonization, revolutions fought, the empowerment of African women, black skin movement, not forgetting the celebration of our diversity while highlighting special ceremonies like marriages, childbirths, rites of passage, food, and race.
“ From Ashes We Rise is a reflection of not only my feelings and experience during the lockdown and before but also a sense of empathy that I felt for the millions of people on the African continent and beyond. The pandemic brought out very strong emotions, inspirations but also exposed humanity for what we really are. I decided to highlight some of the vices like racism, human trafficking, anxiety but also wanted to give hope to my listeners with a reminder of African celebration. In Africa we sing at weddings, funerals, child birth, during harvest, at war and when we give thanks. All this mix makes us who we are when we go through the fire and when rise up from the Ashes. Just like the Phoenix. Afoyo” — Suzan Kerunen shares of the celebratory LP made during lockdown, that promises hope as much as it covers sensitive themes such as racism, human trafficking & more.
The album is written and carefully crafted to bring out the diversity of art through spoken word, music, chants, riddles, and proverbs, in celebration of who we are. It also addresses hard issues that are affecting our continent. Such issues include modern-day slave trade, black skin stigmatization, human trafficking, war, governance, and climate change issues that keep sucking the life and blood out of Africa by global and continental perpetrators.
The album employs African voices to tell our stories featuring some of the continent’s rising stars like Kinobe Herbert (Uganda/USA), Bernice the Bell (Burundi), Mseto Nation (Ug), WD Alzain (Sudan Khartoum). Suzan Kerunen is using this collaborative album to root for a strong spirit of collaboration among African artists while addressing continental issues to a wider audience. Such collaborations break physical borders and help build a movement of African ambassadors around the world. It is also to encourage and develop a breed of artists who will create art not just for self-sustenance but rather look at art as a reproductive tool for humanity.
1.) From Ashes We Rise
2.) Earthly Speaking
4.) Esclave (feat. Bernice the Bell)
5.) Crimson (feat. WD Alzain)
6.) Remnants (feat. Lawrence Matovu & Kieth Mugenyi)
8.) Dek Malakwang
9.) Pirepe (feat. Aloysius Migadde)
Suzan Kerunen (AlurQueen) is a Ugandan world music singer who writes and performs African Contemporary music in the local Ugandan language of Alur- Jonam (her mother tongue) as well as in English, Swahili, and French. She is also a talent manager, mentor, and co-founder of Pearl Rhythm Foundation and the brain behind the annual Pearl Rhythm Festival Uganda, plus the young music academy Stagecoach, which is a platform that was put up to celebrate, and popularize Ugandan grassroots art among young people. She is a double Kora award Nominee, A Pearl of Africa Award Winner, The National Tourism Ambassador, and an Honorary Ambassador for the Promotion of French language and culture.
Suzan Kerunen started her career as a young girl with her two sisters in an all-girl group Soul of Africa, She later went on to launch her solo career with her debut Album NIMEFIKA a Kiswahili term meaning “I have arrived” Suzan Kerunen’s music is a showcase and a rich display of beautiful African sounds featuring Njige, Agwara and Ndara drums from her Alur-Jonam (Central Luo) people of Nebbi District in the West Nile sub-region of Northern Uganda, located on the north-western shores of Lake Albert, western banks of the River Nile, and bordering north-eastern DRC.
With four albums under her belt, Suzan is currently recording a fifth album which is a celebration of Africa. Her premier album Nimefika earned her a double nomination with the Kora all African music awards in the Best East African and African Artist 2008/09 with Ngom the nominated song which talks about judgment and stigmatization in African societies. Suzan’s music and performances have earned her a great reputation in Uganda and East Africa, as she has for the past decade used her music to inspire young artists through her Pearl Rhythm Foundation activities like the annual Pearl Rhythm Festival and other youth activities, as a way to promote Ugandan grassroots sounds. As described in the press “Suzan Kerunen is musically great and arguably one of the most respected world music artists in Uganda” by the Daily Monitor Newspaper and “Kampala’s new voice” The East African Newspaper.
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