Sudan Archives | photo by Alex Black | courtesy of the artist
Watch Sudan Archives’ stripped-down Tiny Desk Concert
The coronavirus pandemic has forced NPR Music’s acclaimed Tiny Desk Concerts series to shift to an at-home model, but today they shared the last concert recorded in the studio. Violinist and singer-songwriter Sudan Archives dropped by on March 11 to play three songs from her debut full-length album, Athena.
Sudan Archives’ concert, recorded on March 11, was the last Tiny Desk to be recorded before stay-at-home orders went into place. NPR employees and crew kept their distance, and the desk, mics, and cameras were all thoroughly disinfected before and after the set. Audio engineer Josh Rogosin began setting up for the next show: “After the Sudan Archives concert, I optimistically went about setting up for a string quartet plus an eight-person choir and two vocal soloists, plus harp and conductor. About halfway through my set-up, our boss gathered us around the Tiny Desk and made the painful but obvious decision. No more Tiny Desks until further notice.”
Sudan Archives’ concert features performances of “Confessions,” “Glorious,” and “Not For Sale.” In lieu of the artist’s normally expansive and intricate production, laced with electronics, she performs only with three string instrumentalists: Dominic Johnson on viola, Jessica McJunkins on violin, and Khari Joyner on cello. Even with the stripped-down production, the performance showcases the epic and experimental music Sudan Archives has cultivated, fusing R&B, electronica, hip-hop, as well as traditional Irish, Cameroonian, and Sudanese music into her singular, signature sound.
Watch the performance below, and stream the Tiny Desk archives here.