Natural from Lisbon, the Portuguese Sara Serpa is a singer, compositor and improviser who, from her practice and performance, explores the use of voice as an instrument.
Serpa has been working in the field of jazz, improvision and experimental music since she moved to New York in 2008. Literature, movies, and visual arts, nature and history, inspire Serpa in her creative process and in the development of her music.
Classified by the New York Times as a “singer of a silvery posture and cosmopolitan appearance” and from JazzTimes magazine as a “ master of the silent landscapes”, Serpa started her career with prestigious jazz musicians like the pianist, Grammy-nominated, Danilo Perez, Guggenheim and MacArthur, Ran Black and Greg Osby. As a leader, she produced and released ten albums, being the last one called Recognition, released in june 2020. A multidisciplinary and singular work that traces the historic legacy of the Portuguese colonialism in Africa, through the image of sound and movement, Recognition presents Zeena Parkins (harp), Mark Turner (saxophone) and David Virelles (piano).
In 2018, Serpa debuted Intimate Strangers, a collaboration with the Nigerian writer Emmanuel Iduma, an interdisciplinary musical performance that portrays the trips of the writer through various African countries.
Serpa was selected Rising Star – Female Vocalist 2019 by Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll, and she teaches at The New School and at New Jersey City Univerisity. Nowadays, Serpa is a resident artist at Park Avenue Armory, in New York City, and received the New York City Women’s Fund in the year 2020, the aid to New Jazz Works of Chamber Music America. Serpa has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, including Ingrid Laubrock, Erik Friedlander, John Zorn, Nicole Mitchell, André Matos, Guillermo Klein, Okkyung Lee, Linda May Han Oh, Kris Davis, Okkyung Lee, Sofía Rei, Matt Mitchell, Zeena Parkins, Mark Turner, Davis Virelles, Tyshawn Sorey, Nicole Mitchell, Leo Genovese, Demian Cabaud, Fabian Almazan, Ava Nishina, Ashley Fure, Andreia Pinto Correia, Derek Bermel, Joseph C., Phillips Jr, amongst others.
She has already played in Europe, Australia, North and South America, singing in international festivals as Bergamo Jazz Festival, Festa do Jazz, Panama Jazz Festival, Festival de Jazz of Montevidéu, Wangaratta Jazz Festival, Adelaide Festival, Sopot Jazz Festival, or in spaces such as Bimhuis, Casa da Música, Village Vanguard, Jazz Standard, The Stone, Brooklyn
Academy of Music, Metropolitam Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, Met Breuer and Kennedy Center for the Arts, amongst others