Dayna Roman’s Middle Eastern roots, Chicago house sensibilities intertwine on ‘Sahara’
In a titillating, sultry soundscape that translates the heat of the Sahara desert to house technics, Dayna Roman orchestrates the genre’s collision with Middle Eastern inflection. Their interplay has been a hallmark of her sound, through which the 24-year-old producer has paid tribute to her Middle Eastern roots since her October 2020 breakout, “My Love.” These elements meet in a fluid house flirtation on Roman’s latest, “Sahara.”
“I wanted to evoke the mirage of being in that environment,” Roman said of the single’s namesake. Roman, who was born in the Middle East and emigrated to Chicago as a child, also cites “Sahara” as a creative result of her early exposure to Chicago’s “diverse underground house scene” and influence of “legends like Frankie Knuckles.”
Both sonically and thematically, “Sahara” hits the mark. Fluid in its arrangement and sweltering in its overall feel, Roman’s answer to January’s “Inta” is sustained by agile, ear-catching beat work. Chords build at the single’s bridge in a breakdown that is unexpected yet seamless and synchronous with “Sahara” as a whole.
With each release, Roman, who cut her teeth DJing Chicago clubs and New York Fashion Week events, evidences her ear for fresh, culturally influenced sounds—and the dance/electronic music context is taking notice. Diplo, Dombresky, Ship Week, and The Chainsmokers represent a smattering of the artists who’ve supported Roman; as that tally grows, “Sahara” can be streamed below.