Mehdi Bahmad releases “H.E.N.N.A.”
Moroccan-Canadian artist Mehdi Bahmad explores the challenges of growing up as a millennial in a Muslim family, and the broader generational gap in Arab societies, in this beautiful self-directed video. For his intimate track “H.E.N.N.A.”, Bahmad addresses his own difficult relationship with his father through references to henna — a plant his father used to cultivate in the Moroccan desert.
“The bush that ‘grows in paradise’ is very symbolic of the Maghreb and Middle Eastern culture, and especially of female seduction”. Mehdi tells us. “The plant is considered sacred and the flower would have been, according to the legendary stories of the Koran, the favourite 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”.
Mehdi Bahmad is a Moroccan-born Canadian-raised emerging alt-pop songwriter, performer and visual artist. Before moving to Canada at the age of 8, Mehdi and his family lived in Morocco and South of France. Through his music, he explores and expresses the rich and distinctive union between his Moroccan and Berber origins and his Canadian up-bringing. Between a poet and a pop persona, the artist formerly trained in Visual Arts proposes an idyllic and seductive narrative universe at the intersection of various sensorial disciplines. His musical sound as well as his visual journey traverses contemporary pop with foreign tones of oriental influences.
Early 2019, the music video he directed and conceived for his self-produced and home recorded debut single “Rouge à Lèvres” was listed among the 2018 must-watch music videos from Middle-Eastern artists alongside Mashrou’Leila and Issam Harris. Mehdi Bahmad’s debut EP is coming out September 2019 and is a quest for emancipation, a quest he quickly realized he was not alone in. He aims to be a voice for his generation, a generation of young women, men, and everyone in between embracing their identity and striving to be heard. He invites everyone to let themselves go with love and abandonment in his universe, a new tale of Arabian Nights in which the word haram doesn’t exist.