Sara Alexander


Sara Alexander passed away on May 28, 2009, in Nice, France. Sara was born in Jerusalem, with roots in Turkey and in the Balkans. Since the beginning of the 70ies, she was active as a mediator and ambassador of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. She recorded ten albums and published two books during her long carreer, and left Israel right after the “war of six days”, first settling down in the South of France and finally in Paris.
Just after the riots in the Paris suburbs, she had organised concert dates in those suburbs with her musicians from many different origins, in order to try and contribute to calming the tensions between the inhabitants. She had to cancel the last part of this tour in November 2005, having been diagnosed with advanced cancer.
She died as she lived, fighting until the end, with love and courage, surrounded by family and friends, still working until the last days of her life on the Arab translation of a book of poetry by George Farah, the poet from Nazareth.

A child of Israel who first saw the light of day in Jerusalem, this daughter of immigrants from Turkey and Rumania, of jews and gypsies, who was born at the crossroads between Orient and Occident, is nourished by all of the cultures settled around the Mediterranean Sea.

After her artistic beginnings in the famous Israeli ensemble Leakat HaNachal and on the stages of Tel-Aviv, she left Israël in 1967. Ever since, this nomad’s music has been ignoring all categories and all frontiers.

She can count on the complicity of musicians that are, like her, travellers from different origins, and who master the arabesques of the oud, the saz or the ney as brilliantly as they play various electronic instruments. Her warm, deep voice, which is that of an oriental blues singer, and her sensitive and luminous accordion play walk the confines of Greece, Turkey, Spain and North Africa, melting all into an imaginary country where gypsy passion, oriental languor, klezmer humour and contemporary composition grow into something new and original.

Sara Alexander has recorded around a dozen CDs in various guises. Very much engaged in encouraging the peace making process in the Near East, she has also published, in 1999, a book of her personal experiences and involvement in the attempts of reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, entitled Shalom ! Salam !

The ensemble of her work, ethical as much as musical, have brought her many awards, such as, in May 2000 the " Ethics & Meaning Foundation Award (New York), in April 1999, the " Légion d’Honneur " (Paris) and in 1990, the title of "Laureat of the Smithsonian Institute’(Washington).


Cafe Turc

Label: CD AL SUR - CDAL 256
Distribution in France: Next Music
Release date: January 01, 1999

Sara Alexander blends different musical colours into new marriages, combining balcanic ritornelles, klezmer gigues, arabic languor, gypsy fervour and anatolian blues…
Bouziane Daoudi, Libération (2000)

What is one to keep of the dream when it becomes trapped in reality, without anybody being able to do anything about it? Bitterness? Or, like expressed in this record, desire? The sensuality of Sara Alexander’s voice, accompanied by her accordion, is a perfect illustration of the latter . Musically, this translates into a rigorous allegiance to the delicate colour scheme of the melodies and harmonies spread across all of the oriental part of the Mediterranean. Her knowledge of music, whether traditional or otherwise, easily transcends the rigid academic approach and permits her to play with the shapes without destroying any of them…a sheer delight.
Les Inrockuptibles (2000)

A beautiful example of a ” world music ” that has its roots in the East of the Mediterranean basin, but which also opens itself to the East of Europe with its pan-slavonic or gypsy influences; in a way, this approach is directly inverse to that of Bratsch, but propagates the same engaging fervour.
Bertrand Dicale, Le Monde de la Musique.

Sara Alexander - Cafe Turc