|HINDI ZAHRA – HANDMADE out now digital / Oct 11 on CD
Moroccan-born, Paris-based Hindi Zahra can speak to mountains or whisper in your ear. She can turn rustling plastic bags into Berber beats and Parisian kitchens into soul incubators. Playfully savoring East and West, she writes infectious and hip songs, plays any instrument she can get her hands on, and records her own voice in the middle of the night to capture that perfect spark of intimacy.
Hindi’s enthralling and wonderfully self-produced debut HANDMADE (just out on digital and out on CD Oct 11) bursts with maturity and vigor, rich in jazz, soul, and Arabic sounds but with a gritty, bluesy Berber pulse. “I wanted a space where I could break all the barriers, where I could put all the music I knew and loved together. Where I could mix it all,” Hindi explains.
An improvised, handcrafted feel reverberates throughout Handmade, giving the album an open, organic, up-close quality. It shines through on tracks likeSet Me Free which sounds like Erykah Badu and early Tina Turnershimmying their way over the Atlas Mountains. The layered percussion includes a performance by Hindi’s inventive mom, who suggested they use plastic bags to get just the right sound.
The album’s first single Beautiful Tango is a smoky ballad; a whistle-along melodic tribute to love. This transfixing album pays homage to her heritage with ballads like Imik Si Mik (Little by Little) and Oursoul (Bygones) in her native Berber tongue. A chanteuse with a vibrant flare, Hindi’s sound is stripped down and warm, revealing her authenticity.
Though playfulness and sweetness abound in Hindi’s songs, she still keeps a strong sense of the spirits she felt as a young child, of the power of music itself (she even dedicates a driving, hypnotic track to it, simply titled “Music”). “Maybe it sounds a little romantic or naïve, but music has guided my life,”Hindi smiles. “It gave me energy, reflections, and meditations. It made life easier. Singing brought me peace.”
10/3 Portland, OR @ Holocene
“Zahra loves to tell stories—but only about her own lived experience—in her music. She has garnered comparisons to Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, and Patti Smith.” – Interview
“A contender for newcomer of the year” (4-stars) –The Guardian
“Hindi Zahra’s sensual vocals and intriguingly varied roots may carry just enough mystery and allure to unlock the elusive twin holy grails of crossover appeal and credibility.”- BBC