Not long ago, the music compass did not reach farther than Chicago when naming the top female Assyrian celebrities. But in the last few years, it has extended to the south pole, where a young artist has carved out what seems to be a lasting impression, both onstage and in the hearts of her fans.
Born in the village of “Berseveh,“ near the city of Zakhootha (victory, Assyrian) and into a family of seven siblings, Sonia pays a tribute to her origins in “Jwanqa Geresnaya,“ penned by Amir Younan. Forsaking her homeland, but not her ancestry, she has made Sydney her new home with her husband and son.
Jumpstarting her singing career, Sonia debuted her first album “O Yala D’Bayane” in 2009. But prior to that, she co-starred in a duet video song “Bayan Bayan” with her singer father Odisho Moshe. The album was an international success within her borderless nation, earning the young artist a spotlight throughout Europe and the Americas, and recognition among some of the best lyricists and musicians, namely Ashur Bet-Sargis and Shamon Kena.
Her uncompromised homage to Argentinean revolutionist Che Guevara in “Arayate D’Kherota,” my own personal favorite, whom she parallels with her own nation’s struggles and the daring retort of the Assyrian Democratic Movement throughout the last four decades. Then came sixth track “Hekla D’Ishtar,” in which she teamed with the late George Homeh.
Her runner-up album, “Bzamran Beyokh,” released most recently in 2012 the songstress slightly divorced herself from her ballad roots, while uniquely belting out new melodies. “Reqtha Dim Dimma“ and “Shara D’Mar Zaia“ are anything but the forte by which she has previously presented herself. In this nine-track album, Sonia joins forces with Napoleon Shimon and Chicagoans Ashoor Baba and Ashur Bandoleros.
Future aspirations for Odisho are “producing CD’s and DVD’s for Assyrian children in native Assyrian language to help preserve their mother tongue.” Sonia’s albums are available online on iTunes.com and Amazon.com
Artist: Sonia Odisho
Album: Bzamran Beyokh
~ Helen Talia, Chicago
September 9, 2012