This week we tracked down Rahel Debebe-Dessalegne, one part of 'undefinable' band Hejira. Their new EP 'Name Surname' was released on Elgo Records in April and we have had the euphoric sound on repeat ever since. We talk friendship, unity & Einstein...
Describe your Sound/ Mostly our music is like an Idiosyncratic Dreamscape so we tend to struggle to place it in any specific genre. I guess thats because we've taken on many mixed guises over the years as we have many different influences from jazz, hip hop, classical, rock and RnB. If you find a way to describe our music, let me know ;-?. Listen here >
What is your ultimate inspiration/ My band mates Sam Beste and Alex Reeve of Hejira, I love them! They inspire me in every aspect of life and art so yeah I would say the hejira boys are my ultimate inspiration. I am so lucky to have a group of friends that I can talk to for hours about music, art, literature and our life experiences and the fact that this extends to making music at the end of it all is just an added bonus, so yeah we share so much and ultimately they inspire me.
What is your mantra/ We. are. all. one.
Describe your working environment/ I split my time in many different work spaces but The Arboretum - otherwise known as the hejira studio is one of my fave spots. It's in an unsuspected old warehouse in south london. It's small and modest and has a lot of natural light, beautiful plants, tape machines and a really old but gorgeous piano. We've made this space our own little creative box to retreat to and I love coming together with hejira to write and record in there.
Which piece of jewellery can you not live without?/ My rings. The one of my fourth finger I picked out at a music festival last year, from a tribe of Bedouins from Mali. The tribes-man who sold it too me had the best authentic headpiece and outfit on and the selection of jewellery was incredibly beautiful. Once I picked out the ring he even offered to adjust the size so that it would fit by bashing it with some tools whilst holding it in-between his feet. (quite extraordinary but bizarre). The other ring on my index finger, my boyfriend saw that I liked it when we were in an antiques shop and he brought it for me as a surprise gift a week later. I wear very little jewellery day to day but if ever i forget my rings my fingers feel naked! I love collecting vintage silver jewellery from Ethiopia, the styles are so unique and yet to be discovered by jewellery lovers here.
What is the most thought provoking thing your saw/heard/read in the last week/ I was trolling on Youtube as you do and ended up listening to one of those Tiny desk NPR live sessions and this young american Jazz musician Christian Scott was playing with his band (I think you'll appreciate his jewellery bling game actually). They totally blew my mind! Half way through his set he starts talking about a difficult experience he had being pulled over by some cops and confronted with racist and physical abuse. He talks about how he channeled his anger and frustration into one of his compositions and then they play it and I was moved. Music is so powerful, I love when art can poke and provoke. It meant a lot for me to see these young black kids playing their hearts out and owning what they do For me this is something that needs to be seen and shared it's so empowering and inspiring and the way Christian articulated his music really connected with me so yeah, I DIG THIS. Watch here >
Second thing was during my morning guided meditation. 5 mins in, the teacher quoted Einstein
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle, The other is as though everything is.”
I think this quote quantifies how I've wanted to look at the world from a very young age so having someone articulate it so beautifully was like a breath of fresh air, a wonderful reminder before you kick start your day. I find it very challenging to meditate but of late I have committed to it every morning for about 3 months. It's been an incredible tool for me, sometimes it sucks, sometimes it rocks, much like life!
What song(s) are you listening to on repeat at the moment/
PJ harvey - Let England Shake (The whole A side is on repeat on my record player)