Bio, Discography, CV…
“Ariana’s voice is a soaring, beautiful thing. Wrapped around expertly-played instruments of the Middle East, Persia, and India, her song very much takes flight. You follow it like a bird into the blue or a diver into the depths. Where Dead Can Dance brought us into the Labyrinth, Ariana Saraha offers to meet us in the Silence.” — Dan Fairchild, Concert Producer, Boulder, CO
“Ariana not only has one of the most achingly beautiful voices you have ever heard, but she writes incredible songs as well. Her songs go to depths and heights not often visited by songwriters today. Mystical, sensual, inspiring, and real; she is not afraid of the darkness, but, just as important, she is not afraid of the light.” — T.D.H., Boulder, CO
“I am utterly unprepared for her wild, mystical soul and music that transports me to faraway realms and ages. Frankly, I am blown away. I feel as if I have stumbled unknowingly upon a gypsy caravan and stepped into the circle of dancing firelight and music.” — L.R. Heartsong, Author
“Ariana really, really helped me to come into my own vocalization. Her Womensong gatherings were an intimate setting for very creative openings. Back in the days when I could barely manage a squeak, she gave me self-confidence to go farther. I thank her everyday for her expertise and assistance.” ~ M.D., Boulder, CO (Womensong participant)
“Ariana’s performances are prayerful and passionate, provocative and playful. Her beautiful voice and rhythms weave sublime strands of the sacred into a kinesthetic personal experience for the listener. Yum! Long live the gypsy heart.” – D.F., Boulder, CO
“Ariana’s voice cascades like a mountain stream, sparkles like sun on the water and soars like a bird on the wind…” – P.T., Boulder, CO
“Celestial, soul-stirring, and sometimes sultry — the perfect combination!” – J.K., Sedona, AZ
Ariana Saraha is a singer, musician, and composer from the western US with a global soul. Most often compared to Celtic singer Loreena McKennitt and alt-world artists Dead Can Dance, Saraha draws upon influences from the Mediterranean, Middle East, India, and Celtic & Eastern Europe, as well as performing a choice selection of traditional music of the same diaspora. But what really invites the listener in, beyond her vocal finesse and Old World influences, is Saraha’s rare mixture of raw wildness and heartfelt intimacy.
Saraha’s live ensemble most often includes Fernando Medina (drums, percussion), James Hoskins (cello), and Scott Bears (oud, bass, electric guitar).
These musicians have traveled the world playing and studying in the musical epicenters of India, on the islands of Greece, with classical and common musicians in Turkey and the Arab world, in the squares and back-souks of Morocco, and with folkloric percussionists and sidewalk-sitters in the old Spanish Quarters of Panama and Colombia — to name a few strands that weave into their rich artistic tapestries. What holds together this diverse collection of musicians is a shared passion for dynamically beautiful music, and Saraha’s desire to convey her love of this earth and its many human and wild creatures.
A LITTLE BACKSTORY…
It may come as a surprise that Saraha didn’t even become a singer until she was nearly finished with college (where she was studying Psychology). But one day a voice and a song suddenly flew out unannounced, and in that instance she knew this was her path in life. Though unexpected, she credits the release of her voice with her explorations in dreamwork, depth psychology, trance dance, and Authentic Movement. “I was so meek from being outcast by my peers growing up, I didn’t even know who I was at all. I was studying psychology because I was looking for meaning and purpose in this confusing, crazy world. And it was these practices that released the flow of energy that had been so long blocked by years of repression and fear. This energy apparently decided to come out as song!”
In her first three years of songwriting, the floodgates opened and Saraha wrote over 100 songs. And then life took another unexpected turn: in 1999 she was offered the opportunity to sing lead vocals for the Colorado-based Mediterranean & Middle Eastern band Sherefé. For three years she learned and performed the traditional music of the Mediterranean, Balkan and Arab worlds, singing in Turkish, Arabic, Greek, Ladino, Bulgarian, Hebrew and Armenian languages. In 2004 she went in another direction and joined the electronica ensemble Tribal Electra for another three years, singing ancient mantras and prayers in Sanskrit, Hindi, Arabic, English and Hebrew over a bed of electronic beats and electric guitar. In 2007, enriched by these diverse musical experiences she finally launched her solo career by performing her original music at festivals and venues throughout the States. In August 2010, Saraha recorded a live album in Boulder, Colorado (which was released the subsequent spring). She released her first studio album in 2015, Maiden of Midnight, which was co-produced with acclaimed dream-pop songstress Tina Malia and Mideast-music guru Jesse Manno. She is currently working on her forthcoming album, “From the Wild,” while gathering inspiration from traveling the primordial and sweeping corners of the earth.
- Ariana Saraha, “Maiden of Midnight” – 2015. Ariana’s debut studio album of mostly original world music. Buy Here
- Ariana Saraha, “Live at Immersive Studios” – 2011. A six song live CD recorded in Boulder, Colorado. Buy Here
- Lil Sum’n Sum’n, “Into the Deep” – 2010.
- Ariana Saraha, “Vocal Warmups” – 2009. A self-produced studio album of Classical Indian vocal practices. Buy Here
- Khamsa Khala, “All Rites Reversed” – 2009. Lead vocals on Auliya
- Tribal Electra, “Trance.Mantric.Groove” – 2008. 5 song EP, released by White Swan Records on iTunes. Buy Here
- Ariana Saraha, “Sampler CD” – 2008. 108-print Limited Edition historical sampler of compositions from 2003-2008.
- Scott Medina, “Enchanted” – 2004. Lead vocals on “Durga Ma”
- Saffire – 2003. Lead vocals on “Spirit Song”
- Angels of Alchemy, “Chrysalis” – 2002. A 16 minute ceremonial music vignette, plus remix by Ariana
- Ariana Saraha, “Angel Songs” – 2001. Unreleased 5-song solo acoustic demo.
EXPERTISE & AREAS OF INTEREST
- Performance – as a lead artist and collaborator – vocals, percussion, instrumentation, dance
- Frame drums, mideast doumbek, vocals, santoor, live looping, tanpura, soundscapes
- Various Middle Eastern and Mediterranean music forms – percussion & vocal
- Sacred chants from around the world, including mantras from India
- Improvised music for ecstatic dance (solo or collaboratively)
- Medicine songs and improvised music for ceremony
- Sacred & improvised music for yoga classes
- Body-based expressive-arts Soulwork
- Music for Unity & CSL services
- Ceremony Facilitation
- Authentic Movement
- 2007-Present: Performing and touring solo and with band/accompaniment throughout the western states (primarily California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah)
- 2004-7: Lead singer for Tribal Electra, Boulder-based electronica mantra rock band.
- 2002-Present: Live music accompaniment for dance and ceremony
- 2001-2: Founder of Angels of Alchemy, a collaboration with three other singers: Meagan Chandler, Commander Dazzle (aka Mara Powers), and Marta Aarli
- 1999-2002: Singer for Sherefe, the Boulder-based Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean ensemble, along with such luminaries as James Hoskins (cello), Jesse Manno (drums, lutes, flutes…), Cameron Powers (oud, guitar, bouzouki), and Meagan Chandler (vox).
- 1996-9: Ariana begins her career by writing over a hundred songs
- 1996: Ariana discovers her voice…
- Has played the Boulder Theater, Denver’s Gothic and Oriental Theaters, Immersive Studios, Esalen Institute, Breitenbush and Harbin Retreats, Mishawaka Amphitheater, Planet Bluegrass, Vail’s Ford Amphitheater…
- Festivals she has played: Topanga EarthDay (SoCal), ARISE (CO), OneLove Festival (SoCal), Mystic Garden (OR), Dreamtime (CO), Tribal Vision (NM), Drawing on the Moon (SoCal), SisterWinds (CO), YogaRocks! (CO), Beltania (CO)
- Has sung with Lunar Fire, master flautist Manose, Dave Stringer, Momo Loudiyi, Bhagavan Das, Girish…
- Has opened for Tina Malia, Lunar Fire
TEACHING & FACILITATION EXPERIENCE
- 2013: Founded “The Moving Soul:” a shamanic, embodied, and expressive-arts teaching practice, which includes a diverse array of multi-disciplinary workshops.
- 2010-Present: Live improvisational music for dance for Melissa Michael/Golden Bridge’s “Shakti Sisterhood,” Ecstatic Dance Live Oakland, Santa Barbara Dance Tribe, Sacred Dance Live Santa Monica, Maureen Freehill of Butopia, and Sharing Weight Boulder.
- 2005-Present: Womensong facilitator
- 2004-Present: Has co-taught and played live music for ceremony, dance, and workshops with Ixeeya Beacher, founder of Women’s Tent
- 2004-7: Kirtan and sacred chant leader
- 2003-Present: Vocal Improvisation facilitator
- 2003-Present: Established her Embodied Voice private teaching practice
- 2000-4: Taught Ashtanga & Hatha Yoga
- 1998-Present: Live music accompaniment and facilitation of shamanic and expressive-arts based ceremony within various community contexts
- 2009: Yoga Teacher Training with Richard Freeman
- 2008-9: Vocal studies in the Estille technique
- 2005-Present: Studies of Classical Indian Music (raga), most notably with Chaitanya Mahmud Kabir, Dhrupad singer Shanti Shivani, and Hindustani sarod player Rajeev Taranath.
- 2005-Present: Study of South Indian Bharatanatyam dance with Laurissa Vibhuti.
- 2005-6: Sanskrit Studies
- 2003-6: In-depth study of Kirtan, Sanskrit and Bhakti
- 2003-2011: Study of Peruvian shamanism, icaros, and ceremony
- 1999-2003: Extensive studies of Arabic, Turkish, and Balkan music (songs, melody, vocal stylings, and rhythm)
- 1999-Present: Studies of yoga, pranayama, and dharma with Richard Freeman
- 1998-Present: Ceremony apprenticeship within various community contexts.
- 1997: Graduates from CU Boulder with a Bachelors in Psychology, with emphases in Women’s Studies and Dance
- 1995-6: Yearlong study of Authentic Movement
- 1993-8: Dreamwork group and woodswalk apprenticeship to her father, Dr. Eugene Marks, PhD
- 1992-Present: Study of various trance-dance modalities