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Shareef Ali

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Biography

Shareef Ali is a songwriter, composer and performer living in Oakland, California. The warm twang of a ’72 Telecaster or the comforting pluck of an Alvarez steel-string acoustic serve as a backdrop to poignant and revealing lyrics reminiscent of Leonard Cohen or Conor Oberst. A delicate trust is forged between artist and audience, “a feeling that he’s building fragile, intricate worlds inside a wind tunnel, fully aware that they may be caught in a gust at any moment,” Britnelle Bell writes. Shareef’s verse is set over elegant chord progressions, classical in craft and variation: though familiar forms recur in the terrain, the journey ends in quite a different place than the one in which it began.

Shareef Ali’s parents traveled from opposite corners of the globe to raise their two children in the American Midwest, landing in St. Louis, Missouri. Shareef began performing his original songs at sixteen before attending Oberlin College, where studied Music Composition with Randy Coleman, Lewis Nielson and Richard Hoffman. “Amor Combate”, Shareef’s setting of Pablo Neruda’s “Oda y germinaciones”, was featured at the 2004 Midwest Composers’ Symposium held at the University of Michigan.

Shareef Ali moved to the Bay Area in 2007, and has performed at such venues as Nomad Café in Oakland and Bazaar Café in San Francisco; he has also appeared as the featured act at the Starry Plough’s open mic, as well as open mics at the Hotel Utah, Beckett’s and the Missouri Lounge. In 2008, Shareef recorded a five-song solo acoustic demo, “Music From And Inspired By Our Doomed Love Affair”.

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