Jihene E. Serkhane

Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre
Dar Brooklyn
Pronouns: she/they
Artistic Discipline: Performing Arts
Category: Brooklyn Empower Fund
Grant Year: 2023
Location: Bay Ridge

Dr. Jihene (G-”hen”) Serkhane is an Amazigh (North-African indigenous) chaabi musician, dancer and cultural activist of Algerian-Tunisian upbringing. Chaabi is North-African folk music by people of Amazigh- and Arab-descent of all faiths sung in minority languages (eg. Taqbaylit/Kabyle, Derja, Haketia). Jihene has been a student/teacher/performer of Middle-Eastern/North-African(MENA) music since 2008. Her current mentor is Paris-based Master percussionist Amar Chaoui (Tinariwen and Gnawa-Diffusion). In 2021, she founded the New York Chaabi Orchestra (NYCO) - a project that aims at promoting/preserving Chaabi music, while creating opportunities for women to learn and perform Chaabi music. She teaches Chaabi darbuka (goblet-drum), singing and dancing to women/girls in English/French/Spanish/Derja(North-African-creole) through her flagship public-program offering “Dar Brooklyn”*. Besides the darbuka, she's performed on tar/req (MENA-tambourines), bendir (frame-drum) and repique (Brazilian-drum) in various events, such as Le Festival au Desert (Mali) with Atri N'Assouf and Khaira Arby (RIP), and opening to The-Rolling-Stones (50th-Anniversary-tour, NY) with BatalaNYC. She holds a French Ph.D. in Cognitive-Science, two Masters (Ecology and Linguistics), and is an Outdoors-Educator-trainee (Appalachian-Mountain-Club). (*) Sponsored, in part, by the Greater-New-York-Arts-Development-Fund of the NYC-Department-of-Cultural-Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC), and, in part, by Balady Hallal Food Market.

Image: Jihene Serkhane & The Passion Project, 2017