The Platform Archiving the Vocal Heritage of Saudi Women

Introducing Sawt Asura


Folk music by female voices in Saudi Arabia has long been in the shadows, but it’s finally getting the attention it deserves. Sawt Asura, a newly-launched platform, is archiving the vocal and lyrical heritage of Saudi women, and it’s making it all available online for free.

Founded by curator Tara Aldughaither, the project celebrates the singing culture and rituals of Saudi female voices through exclusive recordings and works towards providing them with a chance to be self-represented.

Over nine months, Sawt Asura has collected audiovisual materials from folk songs and forgotten music by Saudi women to traditional performances and song recordings that have not been published or documented yet.

Laying over three types of sound; the classical, the folk and the spiritual, the recordings include everything from traditional Hijaz songs by artist Suad Al-Attas to tapes from 90s wedding concerts in and outside of Jeddah.

The archive also features sessions with artist Safia Al-Shteiwi as she shares her experience in the industry and introduces the urban zaffa genre through her old recordings. In another interview, poet Soraya talks about local music and her experience as a poetry lyricist for Saudi voices.

Sawt Asura goes well beyond recordings, also providing access to academic references as well as historical and modern articles about the study of sound for professionals and interested locals to delve into the medium.

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