Moroccan-Canadian artist Mehdi Bahmad releases a sensitive and intimate self-directed visual for his new single "H.E.N.N.A.".
ABOUT THE SONG
Bahmad released in June his second single "H.E.N.N.A." (Hands Exhibition's Not Native Art), a dramatic song addressing Arab daddy issues and the challenges he had to overcome while growing up as a millennial in a Muslim family.
The song's intimacy is enhanced by Mehdi's warm timber of voice. With "H.E.N.N.A.", he shares the difficult relationship he has long maintained with his Muslim entourage, especially with his father. He uses the henna, a plant formerly cultivated by his father in the Moroccan desert, as a distraction.
The bush that ''grows in paradise'' is very symbolic of the Maghreb and Middle Eastern cultures, and especially of female seduction. The plant is considered sacred and the flower would have been, according to the legendary stories of the Koran, the favorite of the prophet Mohammed. By using this strong cultural symbol, Mehdi draws attention away from what his hand discovers, explores and touches. We focus only on the tattoo and forget what he holds. Thus, his family, Muslim society or Arab society in general, can easily find satisfaction and somehow recognize themselves with pride in an action that ultimately may be against their beliefs and values. This is the way found by Mehdi to succeed in living, in fragile balance, with his own believes and his Muslim identity, full of confrontations.
THE MUSIC VIDEO
The narrative visual depicts Mehdi in a soft passive role. He is innocently sitting alone, his hands covered in henna. He discovers his hands and all their grace. At a certain moment, a male hand violently grabs his and throw it back on his thigh, back in his initial position, far from the flighty delicate moves he explored earlier.
The male hands begin a common child game called 'Deb el far' (in Moroccan Arabic), folding Mehdi's fingers one after the other to the rhythm of the music. Then the hands begin to climb along Mehdi's forearm. Suddenly, the male fingers brutally press Mehdi's forearm and begin to slide towards his wrist, as if they were pulled back. They begin to climb again along the forearm, then the arm. Other male hands enter the march, one after the other.
The main hand sensually reaches to Mehdi's neck and firmly grabs it. In the final frame, all the other hands reappear from behind and surround Mehdi’s neck.
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