Hindi Zarah‘s second album “Homeland” is a celebration of the percussion. She asked Rhani Krija for help with all kinds of percussion instruments and decided to start all of her songs with the rhythm: “When I went to Morocco I started to think about which rhythm I wanted to work on. First decision: I’m gonna try only Moroccan rhythms. But then I said no I want to experience the Iranian rhythms as well, then also the rhythms from Cuba and Brazil. It took me there. I was listening to a lot of Miriam Makeba and Cesaria Evora. I wanted to take this approach of female singers who worked with percussion and I wanted to put it my way.”
That’s what she told me during a conversation last month in Cologne. In fact, the album starts out with a very heavy percussive and moody and mythical track: “To The Forces” is really an oriental hymn with layers of background voices and keyboards supporting the strong lyric.
So why the name “Homeland”? “I decided to go back to Morocco to do the second album to create and write and compose there. It was so natural that this name came up one, two, three times in my head that I had to keep it. And then I tried to go away from that title but still it made so much sense to me that I kept it because I started and created the album there. I thought that I would do the album in one year and then it took me two years. Why? Because I wanted more print of Moroccan music into the second album and it didn’t happen at first. Morocco pushed me outside of Morocco. And far. And also because when I went back to Morocco it would be an inner trip. I stayed alone a lot most of the time so it was really an inner trip.” That’s how intimate and deep songs like “Silence” came about.
Hindi Zahra, whose real name by the way is Zarah Hindi, has several mind-expanding tracks on her album, but also some very basic, but effective tunes with great hooks: “Can We Dance” for example is a brilliantly catchy song which can almost become obsessive. “I was into the Brazilian Bossa. I wanted music to inspire people to dance. The Brazilian know how to do it with Bossa. People from Cameroon know how to do it. I had this melody, the nostalgia of something old, the Brazilian flavor and then I thought of Marvin Gaye and so this song is half inspired by Marvin with the flutes and all these hooks and gimmicks. Marvin Gaye had something light and I wanted that. He reminds me of the crooners from Cuba and South America, of that sensuality. It’s a dedication to that. What we call la légèreté.”
Other infectious songs on the album are the dark and at the same time optimistic “Broken Ones” about two poor street children, or the light and airy breezer “Un Jour” which describes a zestful affair in Paris. Hindi really convinces with her amazing mélange of music from Cuba, Jordania, Egypt, Italy, Iran, Brazil, France, and Spain. She has really found a voice of her own. Hindi is on tour in April, March, and May in Turkey, France, and Belgium. There are additional dates coming up soon.