In December Nabihah put out her debut full-length, ‘Weighing of the Heart’, via Ninja Tune. It’s an 11-track record full of hazy vocals, synths and undeniable 80s pop influences. Easy listening at its most interesting. The title is a reference to an ancient Egyptian ritual where the hearts of the dead are weighed against a feather. If the heart proved to be lighter than that of the feather, the deceased had led a virtuous life. For further reading please see spell 125 in Book of the Dead.
“I’m very interested in a lot of the ancient belief systems,” she answers.
“When you look at the ancient religions, whether it’s from ancient Egypt, the Samarians, or the Mayans, even South American and Mexican stuff, these sort of belief systems, there are two really important things for me in all of those. One is, since humans are in equilibrium with nature, and nature is really respected, it’s all about balance and interchangeability and the other is that there’s no hierarchy between the male and female genders. Whereas with all modern day religions, I find, it’s basically religion for men by men and women are hardly referred to at all and if they are, for example, Virgin Mary, she’s only a figurehead because she’s a virgin. That’s the importance of her.
“It’s the same in other religions where there are all these rules for women, like how to act and how to be and what to look like, and I just don’t agree with that because I feel like nobody should really tell anybody else what they should look like or what they should wear.”
Nabihah tackles big questions on ‘Weighing of the Heart’ – “Why do we want to live? What drives humans? Is there a shared common experience? Like our lives, me in London, you in Dublin, would be so different to a kid in Yemen, but we’re all here on this planet we’re all just trying to do our thing” – but it never feels overwhelming. It welcomes you to listen again and again and slips in as the backdrop to whatever activity you happen to be doing at the time, while still demanding your attention. A near perfect juxtaposition.