Singer/ Songrwriter/ Composer
Elaha Soroor is an award winning London-based musician, vocalist, composer, and designer originally from Afghanistan. Her works embody the complexities and nuances of society across continents, engaging and challenging audiences not only musically, but intellectually. She currently performs alongside award winning collective band Kefaya and designs socio-political wearable art.
Elaha started her musical experience as a devotional singer in a female music group in Iran, where she first learned about middle eastern traditional music. Following that experience, she began to study Afghan traditional music in Kabul, Afghanistan. During this period she was part of the Afghanistan National Orchestra during 2006-2008, as well as a singer in the Aryan band (Kabul, Afghanistan), playing in various concerts in major cities in Afghanistan. Elaha was one of the first female musicians to perform in public after the fall of Taliban.
Her early releases were influenced by Afghan and Iranian 60s and 70s pop music. She released 6 original single songs in Afghanistan, all of which were broadcast popularly in Afghan radio and TV stations.
Elaha first rose to fame through the TV show Afghan Star in 2008. This popularity, in a society known for its persecution of female performers combined with outspoken views on women’s rights, led to an environment of serious personal danger, and she was eventually forced to flee Afghanistan.
Elaha studied Indian classical singing and opera singing technique while in India 2010-2011 and has since then performed worldwide for various audiences at festivals and celebrated venues.
Elaha has led several music workshops for women, children and refugees in collaboration with Afghan and Central Asian Association UK & Dash Arts UK.
Elaha has also worked as a composer and performer for theater, dance and film projects including:
Nottingham Playhouse's The Beekeeper of Aleppo (2023) | Composer
Wales Millenium Center's The Boy With Two Hearts (2021-2022) | Co-Composer & Performer
Agudo Dance Company (Silk Road) - Singer | English National Ballet (Giselle)- Singer | Dance and music of Afghanistan (Rana Gorgani)- Singer | The Breadwinner Film OST -(Singer) | JustLike My Son Film OST (Singer).
Her latest release “Songs Of Our Mothers” is a collaborative album with the award winning collective band Kefaya, released on (Bella Union) November 2019. The album is a collection of folk songs by Afghan women that have been passed down from mothers to daughters. An organic blend meeting of traditional and contemporary sounds, the album is a bold protest against patriarchy and a joyous statement of resilience and emancipation.
Elaha was the winner of Songlines magazine “Newcomer Award 2020” and her album with
Kefaya Songs Of Our Mothers won the “Best Album” in the Fusion category and received worldwide attention.
“A thoroughly modern, multicultural masterpiece… In an era of increasing isolationism, misogyny and religious fundamentalism, this album becomes a defiant celebration of freedom and internationalism.”
Uncut – 9/10
“takes traditional Afghan folk songs and give them thoroughly modern settings… Soroor sounds as at home singing Farsi–language reggae, Indian jazz, Maghrebi pop or post–punk… Kefaya delight in tracing Elaha’s journey, crossing sonic borders into Iran, Armenia, Turkey and North Africa.”
MOJO – 4 stars
“Telling tales of the suffering and hardship endured by women but also celebrating their endurance and femininity, these songs are reworked by Soroor and Kefaya to create powerful, thought–provoking music.”
Rock’n”Reel – 4 stars
“Recorded in Oxford with international zeal, this excellent release brings together folk songs traditionally sung by Afghan women, telling stories of joy, pain and resilience… The beauty of Soroor’s mother language, and the wide-ranging culture it encompasses, is palpable throughout.”
Jazzwise – 4 stars
“An exotic genre-blend of jazz, dub and electronica… Soroor’s voice is beautifully expressive. The showstopper comes with the Radiohead-ish piano ballad, Khina Beyarin, where Soroor fully reveals her dazzling talent.”
"Powerful, thought-provoking stuff"
"One of the hottest acts on this summer's festival circuit"