Photo credit: Sabrina Santiago

Brooklyn born and bred artist Tamar-kali (she/her) is a second-generation musician with roots in the coastal Sea Islands of South Carolina. As a composer, Tamar-kali has defied boundaries to craft her own unique sound. As a performer, Tamar-kali speaks her lyrical truth with a supreme passion and a voice that will shake your foundation and shatter your expectations with its soulful intensity.

2017 marked her debut as a film score composer with Dee Rees’ Oscar-nominated “Mudbound.” Her ‘expressive and varied score’ [Variety] garnered her the World Soundtrack Academy’s 2018 Discovery of the Year Award and has been classified by Indiewire as one of the 25 Best Film Scores of the 21st Century. The soundtrack for her score to Josephine Decker’s psychological drama Shirley was named The Guardian’s Contemporary Album of the month in June 2020.

2022 saw her debut work from multiple commissions; the LA Opera digital short, “We Hold These Truths” directed by Peabody award winner dream hampton, a solo cello piece “Little Bear Awakens” for acclaimed cellist Matt Haimovitz’ THE PRIMAVERA PROJECT alongside composers Josqin des Prez and Philip Glass as well as a return to the stage to perform “Melancholy Ghosts and Other Mothers,” a Beth Morrison Projects commissioned song cycle.

2023 works included Freedom is a Constant Struggle, a concert curated and co-produced by the artist and presented by Lincoln Center featuring Sea Island Symphony: Red Rice, Cotton and Indigo; an orchestral love letter to her Gullah Geechee roots.

Watch Night, a theatrical work conceived and directed by Bill T. Jones and composed by Tamar-kali with a libretto by Marc Bamuthi Joseph made its world premiere as part of the long awaited Perelman Performing Arts Center’s inaugural season.

Spring 2024 will feature an excerpt of The Swann; a chamber opera work in progress inspired by William Dorsey Swann, the first American on record to pursue legal and political action to defend the LGBTQIA community’s right to gather. This staged concert at Harlem Stage follows the Catapult Opera commission digital short, Swann released at the start of NY Pride 2023.