Moor Mother

Poet & musician

Camae Ayewa, or Moor Mother (born and based in US), is a musician, poet and visual artist whose practice incorporates musical genres as diverse as free jazz, electronic and classical.

“My work is deeply rooted in the notion that sound experimentation and sound exploration allow us to experience agency and activate self and world healing”, she says.

Ayewa is interested in “weaving together sonic futures”. By fusing archival compositions, field recordings and her own collages, she creates soundscapes - or “sonic maps” - that journey through buried histories. In doing so, she seeks to “inspire agency and empower Black communities”.

Performing as Moor Mother, she has released eight albums, including The Great Bailout (2024) and Jazz Codes (2022). She co-leads the free jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements, and, together with Rasheedah Phillips, is one half of Black Quantum Futurism, a collective which explores new ways of adjusting reality through art, writing, music and performance.

Ayewa is Assistant Professor of Composition at the USC Thornton School of Music, a Pew Fellow and the recipient of numerous accreditations including a Leeway Transformation Award in 2016, The Kitchen’s inaugural Emerging Artist Award in 2018 and the International Artist of the Year at the German Jazz Prize in 2023. Her work has been featured at the Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Carnegie Hall in New York, US, at Documenta 15, Kassel, at the Berlin Jazz Festival in Germany and at the Barbican, London, among others.

“I am pleased to have my creative work awarded, honoured and supported by leaders in the arts”, Ayewa says.

Jazz Codes, 2023. Photos by Sam Lee and Sven Harambasic. Courtesy of the artist. ​
Black Encyclopedia of the Air, 2021. Photo by Bob Sweeney.​
Woody Shaw, 2023. Courtesy of the artist. ​
Photo by Ebru Yildiz.