If you’re looking for a new, exotic female vocalist, add Hindi Zahra to your next playlist.
The Moroccan born singer possesses a purity of tone and phrasing. This deluxe edition of Handmade, features the tunes from her first two EP’s (included in last years standard edition of the disc) along with six bonus tracks, recorded in an acoustic/unplugged format.
Much like her live performances, Zahra’s vocals sound almost trance-like. You can just picture her with her eyes closed, swaying gently in front of the microphone. The record begins with the single, “Beautiful Tango,” sounding wispy, almost as if the vocals were recorded from a 78 rpm disc being played back on a Victrola, with sparse percussion and mandolin gently folded into the mixture to create a unique soundscape.
Though there are a few distinct stylistic changes, shifting effortlessly from the more primitive sounding tracks (like the opener) to the playful, with “Music” almost having a pop feel, Zahra never strays that far from her Moroccan roots, with a smoky, murky vibe throughout. If that weren’t enough, the last two of the regular tracks slow to a whisper, a perfect transition to the six unplugged versions that complete the album. Filled with off kilter beats, feet stomping on the floor and twangy, sustain-laden guitars conjure up images of a speakeasy, with Zahra front and center serenading us.
If this record were a movie, it would be filmed in low light,
through a delicate layer of gauze. And perhaps it might be
better listened to that way as well. -Jeff Dorgay