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Published on Feb 4, 2013
Tamar-kali is an American rock singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn, New York. The latter part of her name was taken from the Hindu goddess of war and power.
Tamar-kali was born and raised in Brooklyn where she grew up equally entranced by punk and hip-hop in New York City. She spent the summers of her childhood with her mother's family on St. Helena Island, South Carolina where she was exposed to Gullah culture, a mixture of The South and West African customs and languages. She attended Catholic School for 13 years, which she credits for her rebellious nature and sound. Her musical inspirations include PJ Harvey, Grace Jones, The Mars Volta, Deftones, Betty Davis and Quicksand.
She attended Adelphi University where she studied English Education. She teaches and has become very involved in the North African dance art form Raqs Sharqi as well as Middle Eastern Belly Dance.
After tenures as a member of Funkface and Song of Seven, Tamar-kali became a solo writer, musician and composer in 1997. She rose to prominence starring in James Spooner's award-winning documentary Afro-Punk. The indie film spotlighted her performances and made her the official face for the DVD cover artwork.
As a vocalist she has supported artists like Fishbone on tour and OutKast on the group's second album, ATLiens.