Gig Seeker Pro


New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Tamar-kali stands in sharp contrast..."

Tamar-kali’s performance stands in sharp contrast to her male counterparts. A twenty-piece orchestra or a single acoustic guitar could back this woman – either way the focus would be on her and her lush voice. Tamar-kali’s voice and stage presence have the kind of innate sexuality that draw all eyes to her.

—Jon Burke
- Lost At Sea Magazine

"...incendiary opening set..."

But while his [Cody ChesnuTT’s] single "Looks Good in Leather" might play with the classic rebel archetype, there's only a wink if you want there to be. To wit, he sang, "Loving America to me is nothing but rock and roll." But after the incendiary opening set by Tamar-kali, who dedicated a violent kiss-off song "to all the warmongers," Cody's old-school rock jingoism ironic or not, progressive or not felt simple and wardrobe-deep.

—Jon Caramanica - Village Voice

"...oozing black female sexuality crossed with a thundering hardcore authority..."

The image Tamar-kali has constructed for herself befits her chosen namesake of the indian goddess. She has created an image of oozing black female sexuality crossed with a thundering hardcore authority that has attracted a mishmash of fans: moshing white boys, moshing black boys, and more recently, fawning, affirmation-hungry black girls.

Though she can send the hordes to the floor with a stormy refrain, Tamar-kali’s voice commands any number of tones, from a deep blues hover to a back-of-the-neck church shout, and it’s all pretty—or pretty scary at times. But as a survivor rather than a newcomer to the scene, Tamar-kali isn’t stressed or pressed to be labeled. “There’s gonna be a lot of terrible stuff put out in the name of black rock. And I’m just glad I won’t have anything to do with it. I’m so bush, I’m so black, I’m so African, I don’t need to subscribe to anything. All I have to do is breathe.”

—Knox Robinson - The Fader Magazine

"...harder and funkier and sexier than you thought possible."

Watching Tamar-kali perform is an intense experience. Her aesthetic is a stimulating blend of skin, studded belts, cowrie shells and body piercing, wrapped up in a body that rocks harder and funkier and sexier than you thought possible.

After years of heading various hardcore groups, Tamar-kali branched out and began creating her own groups, first incorporating her written material into a straight ahead five-piece rock group. Following that up with Psychochamber Ensemble (a string project with all female instrumentalists), Tamar-kali began crafting songs for yet another project, Pseudoacoustic, which blends the powerful rock vocals of the five-piece group with the deep emotion of the Psychochamber. The full scope and evolution of her musical capabilities are on full display when all three projects are on stage together. The instrumental depth behind Tamar-kali’s voice is astonishing; a cohesive soundclash that takes place within each song.

—Anicee Gaddis - Trace Magazine


The Geechee Goddess Hardcore Warrior Soul EP was released on OyaWarrior Records in December 2003. The track 'Boot' has been featured on numerous international compilations and served as the opening sequence for the award-winning documentary Afro-Punk.

Incendiary Single - Pearl features alternate string sextet & vocals version plus remix featuring underground hip hop phenom Jean Grae from debut full length release 'Black Bottom' Released Summer 2010.



Brooklyn native and resident hardcore-soul queen, Tamar-kali, wields her pen and guitar with equal ferocity. Her hard-rocking brand of outsider art leaps from every track on her 2005 solo EP, Geechee Goddess Hardcore Warrior Soul, enchanting you with its melody, while delivering a swift kick to the gut with its incisive emotional core. Her first full-length release, Black Bottom, packs an even harder punch as audiences are invited to gaze deeper into the recesses of this urban warrior's mind. Her tales of revolution and love may seem contradictory, but the two worlds are inextricably linked by this powerful artist who grasps for the truth in both ideals.
Whether the darkness in her music can be attributed to deft handling of NYC's tough underground music scene or 13 years of Catholic school, the listeners can decide, but one thing is for sure - the dramatic intensity of Tamar-kali's music defies any traditional genre. "Some time ago, I started using the phrase 'hardcore-soul.' It appropriately described the soulfulness of my voice and the influence of hardcore. Ultimately, at its widest breadth it's rock and ranges from classical experimental to aggressive melodic rock."
Whether channeling Billie Holiday or Bad Brains, Tamar-kali's influences are secondary to the punk and soul creation borne from her seemingly endless well of ingenuity. Though she's graced stages from Brooklyn Academy of Music to Lincoln Center to pay tribute to luminaries such as Nina Simone, Betty Davis and Odetta, Tamar-kali re-invents everything that came before her, confidently answering the call for new, fresh music. She can be the silky smooth songstress in her Psychochamber Ensemble or Pseudoacoustic Siren Song outfit, using her unique vocals to weave torch songs about love lost or gained. Or she can be the bandanna-wearing, gypsy woman leading her 5-piece band of rebels to sin or salvation, depending on her mood. Through it all, whether composing the strings of a cello or strumming the strings of a guitar, Tamar-kali's unique voice and politically-tinged lyrics command attention.
The do-it-yourself ethos of punk music naturally tapped into Tamar-kali's Gullah nature. "I come from roots people who invented themselves, took what little memories were left of their pasts and forged their own destiny." After notable tenures as a member of Funkface and Song of Seven, Tamar-kali seized the roles of writer, musician and composer for her solo work, the only way for this distinctive artist to clearly announce her arrival above the din of mediocrity present in the music industry.
Tamar-kali travels a lonely road of independence that finds many artists of her caliber overworked and underappreciated. Her album title is no mere piece of alliteration, but a reflection of where she found herself after a particularly disheartening period. "I was in the 'Bottom.' I felt like a shark with no teeth." But after some soul-searching, she came to a pivotal realization, "I don't have to fight for a right to exist - I do exist." From there, the piercing Black Bottom sprang forth and each track drips with the frustration, passion and conviction of an artist on a mission. Her longevity proves that she has what it takes to appeal to hipsters, punks, hip-hop heads and soul/jazz aficionados without compromising her individuality to kowtow to anyone's expectations.
The uninitiated may have discovered Tamar-kali when she appeared in James Spooner's award-winning Afro-Punk documentary, with clips of her incendiary performances putting the world on notice to her unsung talent.
Others saw her dynamic energy support artists like Fishbone and OutKast on the group's acclaimed sophomore album, ATLiens. A whole new audience will feel her full force when Black Bottom's first single, "Pearl," hits the streets in early Fall with a remix featuring rapper Jean Grae.
The cathartic, orgasmic emotion Tamar-kali brings with every song leaves her peerless above or underground. One thing to remember with Tamar-kali's sound is, as with any good piece of drama, there's a twist. Nothing is exactly as it appears and by the time you discover the trickery, you're uncontrollably writhing your hips and pumping your fists in the air. As she says in the pulsating "Warrior Bones," "These warrior bones ache for revolution/but the people ain't ready." How can anyone be ready for the aural assault Tamar-kali brings? For warriors and lovers alike, the thrill of the unexpected makes her music all the more necessary.
- Candace L.