Alya Marquardt jazzes up Iraqi folk

Alya Marquardt is a classically trained singer and composer who is passionate about Iraqi folk music.

Her arrangements of popular Iraqi songs are heavily influenced by jazz, and in her performance for Middle East Beats she is accompanied by piano, cello and oud.

Alya Marquardt grew up in London. Her parents left Iraq in the 1980s to pursue their studies, and stayed in the UK when war broke out in their homeland.

"I think the diaspora who live outside Iraq tend to be more nostalgic about this music", says Marquardt.

Her debut album, Chai party, was released in February 2015.

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