Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial


Nuriya’s story is rooted three generations ago, in her family of Middle-Eastern Jews who fled their countries, Iraq and Syria, between the 1920’s and 1940’s, due to religious persecution. All were bound for the U.S. However, the majority were re-routed and sent to Mexico, as U.S. immigration quotas were filled. Some managed to land in New York, where they remain, and others moved to L.A.

Born in Mexico City and growing up between Mexico, L.A., and New York, Nuriya’s most formative years were abundant with music from the Middle East, Mexico and other parts of Latin America, the Caribbean, Spanish flamenco, and European classical. These deeply ingrained musical traditions along with their visual arts, instilled by her mother, determined how her soul would communicate for the rest of her life. Nuriya’s elders also made their mark with their perpetual playing of old Arabic records and singing of Pismonim (prayers sung to melodies of secular music) at family gatherings.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.