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Birth name Tamara Colletta Brown
Born October 8
Origin Brooklyn, NY, United States
Genres Rock
Pop Punk
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 2005–present
Labels OyaWarrior Records
Associated acts Bad Brains, Honeychild, Fishbone, Outkast, Song of Seven, Simi
Website Tamar-kali.com

Tamar-kali is an American rock singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn, New York. The latter part of her name was taken from the Hindu goddess of war and power.[1]

Early life[edit]

Tamar-kali was born and raised in Brooklyn where she grew up equally entranced by punk and hip-hop in New York City. She spent the summers of her childhood with her mother’s family on St. Helena Island, South Carolina where she was exposed to Gullah culture, a mixture of Southern U.S. and West African customs and languages. She attended Catholic School for 13 years, which she credits for her rebellious nature and sound.[1] Her musical inspirations include PJ Harvey, Grace Jones, The Mars Volta, Deftones, Betty Davis and Quicksand.[2]

She attended Adelphi University where she studied English Education. She teaches and has become very involved in the North African dance art form Raqs Sharqi as well as Middle Eastern Belly Dance.[3]



After tenures as a member of Funkface and Song of Seven, Tamar-kali became a solo writer, musician and composer in 1997. She rose to prominence starring in James Spooner's award-winning documentary Afro-Punk. The indie film spotlighted her performances and made her the official face for the DVD cover artwork.[4]

As a vocalist she has supported artists like Fishbone on tour and OutKast on the group's second album, ATLiens.[5]

She has performed in such venues as Brooklyn Academy of Music and Lincoln Center, sometimes paying tribute to luminaries such as Nina Simone, Betty Davis and Odetta, In August 2009 She performed at the BRC Orchestra's "Four Women: A Salute to Miriam Makeba, Eartha Kitt, Abbey Lincoln and Odetta" at Damrosch Park in Lincoln Center.[6] She was the Musical Director for the Black Rock Coalition's Tribute to Nina Simone which held concerts in NYC (2003, 2009 and 2010) as well as Paris and the South of France (2009).[7] She has shared the stage with Paramore, Fishbone, Dubwar, Joi, Cassandra Wilson, Saul Williams, The Dirtbombs, Jean Grae and Earl Greyhound.

According to MTV.com she is well known and considered a “favorite” on the NYC underground punk rock music scene.[8] She often performs with her Psychochamber Ensemble of Strings and has been featured in VIBE, Village Voice, Trace, The Fader and Arise Magazine.[9]

In 2006 she released her first music video for the single “Boot” off her debut EP Geechee Goddess Hardcore Warrior Soul. The theme dealt with a young black girl lacking awareness of her own beauty, being left vulnerable to sexual exploitation.[10]

Her debut studio album, Black Bottom, was released in Fall 2010 on the OyaWarrior label.




  • "Boot" (2006)


  • "Pearl" remix f/ Jean Grae (2010)



  1. ^ a b "Tamar-kali's hard-rocking brand of outsider art | Snipsly". Snipsly.com. 2010-04-13. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  2. ^ "Raw Power". Alex-barnes.com. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  3. ^ Comments (0) By Deborah Jowitt Tuesday, Jun 20 2006 (2006-06-20). "What Does It All Mean? - Page 1 - Dance - New York". Village Voice. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  4. ^ "afropunkstore — Afro-Punk Movie DVD - Special Offer!". Afropunkstore.bigcartel.com. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  5. ^ "Tamar-kali - Punk Rock Band Biography and Punk Rock mp3s/songs, free Punk Rock mp3 downloads". Stereokiller.com. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  6. ^ Running time: 03:29. "Tamar-kali, Timber, Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center 8-23-09 - Video - Shockwaves NME Awards 2010 - Tickets, Previous Winners, Pictures, Images". Nme.com. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  7. ^ "Calendar - Nina Simone Tribute/ Black Rock Coalition Orchestra". Harlem Stage. 2010-03-26. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  8. ^ Capistrano, Daniela (2008-12-15). "Afro-Punk Scene, Inspired By Santogold, TV On The Radio And More, Explodes Into A Multi-Genre Movement - News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News". Mtv.com. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  9. ^ MVRemix (2010-04-13). "Brooklyn Underground Femme Fatale | Mvremix Urban". Mvremix.com. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  10. ^ "Tamar-kali "Boot" music video, 2006". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 

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