Jordanian singer/songwriter Hana Malhas releases her new album ‘Nasi’ featuring tracks in English and Arabic.
Hana Malhas is a prominent figure in the region’s alternative music scene, not only for her own original content but also as the host and founder of the platform BalaFeesh, a concert series and online video library that has showcased a number of the region’s best independent artists since 2013.
Hana is a storyteller with a voice that envelops you in nostalgia and intensity. She’s been described as “…a songstress with a 10,000-watt voice…as if the music is taking over her body, channeling through her lungs in a sort of velvet explosion, with an infectious smile, and a playful way of grooving onstage, performing with either piano or guitar.”
The Jordanian performing singer-songwriter took that live energy into the studio last year, teaming up with producer and co-composer Khaled Nimry. The result? ‘Nasi’, her new album on Universal Music MENA, released on August 3rd, 2018.
If the three pre-released singles are any indicator, this album will make its powerful mark on the regional contemporary band and electronic landscape. An expressive female voice carried by an electro-acoustic instrumental blend, highlighting both vintage and contemporary sounds that will leave you longing and hopeful. The album features tracks in English and Arabic, and lyrically each song addresses an aspect of our complicated relationship with time. Malhas is a songwriter that uniquely colors words with melodies through confident emotional expression in both composition and performance.
The title track was the first release off the album – also her first Arabic release – and was featured in Universal MENA’s complication “NOW The Best of Indie Arabia Volume II”. The waltz rhythm complements the ‘now vs then’ theme perfectly, and the impromptu accordion solo (recorded outside the studio almost accidentally), is a testament to the authenticity of the artist and producer’s vision to capture the real emotion behind the songs.
The opening track ‘A Letter to Time’ is just that: a track written by the narrator addressed to ‘Time’. It sets the tone for the rest of the album musically and thematically, showcasing stripped down piano and vocal lines that transition into full electronic choruses that transform your surroundings with the images portrayed in the lyrics.
‘Alb Maskoon’ is the album’s third single release, and possibly the most unique track on the album. The song was built on two main themes: the haunting string riff, and the concept of a pendulum. The Arabic translation of the word is also a play on words, leaving the listener free to interpret. Percussion sounds for this track were crafted in the studio using unlikely materials – snow pants, wrapped home decor, even simple hand on chest thumping – pulled together to give a solid backbone for the string quartet, performed and recorded by Jay Miles.
‘Code‘, the album’s second release, is your summer song, seemingly carefree, but with embedded commentary about cryptic communication and unhealthy patterns. Malhas pays tribute to her acoustic folk background with the tracks ‘Brand New’ and ‘Spin’. ‘Brand New’ is the ultimate new-love love song, while the more pop-rock ‘Next Sunrise’ showcases a bold vocal delivery that inspires the listener to feel somewhat invincible. ‘Bigger Heart’, featuring Layth Sidiq on violin is the album’s cinematic track, made to be featured on the big screen in a movie where you leave the theater in tears.