Fehdah has been busy reinventing her approach to songwriting during the last two years, but has stayed true to her influences of West African music and contemporary electronic sounds. This potent mix makes for a rich and often otherworldly sound, topped by her lyrics sung through English and Bambara.
Fehdah’s sound is timely in an Ireland that is producing a far more eclectic sound than ever before, but she has been developing this sound for many years. Her musical career so far has seen collaborations with other Irish talents such as Ben Bix and international slots alongside the likes of Thundercat, Hiatus Kaiyote and Kamaal Williams.
‘Saharakungoh’ is a vulnerable love song which evokes the feeling of a breathless, exciting time spent with another. Mixed and mastered by heavyweights Eric Lau and Andrei Eremin, this is the first of a forthcoming EP that we can’t wait to hear. Fehdah describes her style as “Sahelian-Electrosoul”, and it is a sound that we welcome back to the Irish music scene. Check out the track below along with a quick conversation we had with her earlier this week.
It’s been two years since you released your last EP ‘Like No Other’, how have you evolved or changed your approach since then?
My approach to writing has evolved for sure, I’m always figuring out new ways to write music. I can’t help but analyse music I like and imagine how it would look mapped out on a computer. I’ve learned a lot about production this way. The business side of things has really changed for me in the last couple of years. I’m independent so my work involves more than writing music.
Tell us a bit about this new track.
This is a love song. The kind of love that makes you feel like you’re walking with someone your leg is tethered to and you’re out of step. The intro reflects this. Not knowing where the downbeat is can be unnerving. It’s all me, written, arranged and produced. I got a big hero of mine, Eric Lau on mixing (he mixed Masego, Yussef Kamaal, DJ Jazzy Jeff) and Andrei Eremin on mastering (Hiatus Kayote, Chet Faker).
You’re continuing to mix spacey synth and electronic sounds with more traditional African instrumentation and arrangement, could you tell us a little bit more about this approach?
The instrumentation of the song is inspired by Afrofuturism. I spent a good portion of my childhood in West Africa and music is such a big part of daily life there. In the Gambia, Griot culture is massive. They have so many class musicians playing all the time. Nowadays I teach Astrophysics experiments in a university so I guess my brain is wired to these influences. I’m also a diehard Oumou Sangaré and Salif Keita fan, deeply inspired by them two for the last few years. And of course I love house and techno so I just gotta slap a donk on it.
Can you share any details about other upcoming releases? Is this the first of an album or EP?
This year is gonna be busy. I’m releasing five singles, two tracks will feature two of my favourite Irish artists. Can you guess who?
You recently remixed your sister Loah’s track ‘This Heart’. Did you enjoy the process, and what was it like to collaborate with your sister?
This was the best craic ever! I love making remixes. It was my first one, won’t be my last.
Working with my sister was a jam, as always. She gave me complete freedom and would buzz into my room while I was mixing, pumping her fists in the air with a beam on her face. So I had solid encouragement along the way. I did some vocal production on her upcoming single also, looking forward to sharing that with the world.
What are you listening to right now?
Link Up Buddy ft Kent Jamz, Bas, Guapdad 4000, J.I.D and Ari Lennox.