Hindi Zahra

Subscribe to Forte Magazine

Hindi Zahra

English is commonplace for many of us living in Australia. It’s a language we shorten, use incorrectly and take for granted. For Franco-Moroccan singer Hindi Zahra, it became a means for her to utilise her best instrument: her voice.

“As a vocalist I love to be an instrument, and the language that would let me do that most is the one I like,” she says of why she sings in English.

“I like the idea of being understood everywhere you go. I have something in common with them in English but also another identity.”

Rather, Hindi has multiple identities. After growing up in Morocco (where she was born) speaking Berber and living in a country with French, Arabic, African, Spanish and Portuguese influences, she soon moved to France with her father when she was 11.

The loss of the familiar was a shock to the youngster who had previously thrived off the connection she had with her homeland of Morocco. A love for music and art carried her through, with a job working at the Louvre further strengthening the latter.

“I am also a painter and art is very important for me,” she says.

“Painting for me I call it active meditation, because you’re not thinking about problems, you’re thinking about forms and colours. So your spirit is free from what is only material and everyday worries – it is only concentrating on beauty and movement.”

Inspired by the likes of Frida Kahlo and colours, her art made the final bootleg of her first album, Homemade, which was released in 2010.

For having such a creative life filled with culture, art and music, it wasn’t until Hindi was 31 when she released her first album – about 20 years after she began writing her first songs. Much has changed from the young budding musician who would write and translate songs into English, but there’s always been on constant.

“It’s still instinctive; I love to be simple in my lyrics and give the most place to the emotions,” she says.

“For me it’s always being inspired by nature, but now the source of inspiration is different from before. Before I liked solitude and being in a little room to write, now I like to be in nature to be inspired. I like also to listen to certain music to write.”

With such a strong connection to nature herself, Hindi loves the culture of Australians and the connection we share with the land. Something she’ll get to see a lot more of when she heads to So Frency So Chic this month.

Written by Amanda Sherring

When & Where: So Frenchy So Chic, Werribee Park Mansion – January 10