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From Israeli theaters and clubs, to the festival stages and concert halls of Europe and America, the soulful sounds of Sofi and the Baladis are awakening audiences to the musical richness of one of the world’s most ancient cultures.

Born into the ancient Samaritan community, an ethno-religious sect which has survived for more than 125 generations, singer and actress Sofi Tsedaka is linguistically rooted in Israel’s Hebrew and Arabic speaking communities. Her family home was filled not only with the chants of ancient Samaritan prayers, but also with the music popular in the nightclubs and cafes of Cairo and Beirut. The worlds we’re distinct and different, but in each, music was central.

While working with Israeli director Barak Heymann on "The Lone Samaritan", a documentary chronicling the challenges her family faced as she and her sisters all left the sect and were cut off from their community, Tsedaka re-connected with her deep passion for the traditions and origins of Samaritan sacred music, and began to explore new ways of performing and introducing these ancient songs to wider audiences.

In 2015, Tsedaka formed the ensemble Sofi and the Baladis—a band whose name translates, roughly, to “Sofi and the Natives”.  Their work centers on those musical traditions which Sofi carries deep in her soul: the sacred songs of the ancient Samaritan community, and the compelling work of mid-20th century Arabic composers. The group's multi-lingual concerts blur the boundaries of middle Eastern culture, and the compelling commentary Sofi provides recounts the story of the Tsedaka family, a story of Sofi's search for balance, understanding, faith, and belonging as she navigates the pathway between her Samaritan, Jewish, and Arab identities.