New Sounds: Hanwah – I Love You Little Witch

Hanwah is a multidisciplinary artist, pianist, singer, composer and producer from the UK, based in Eswatini.

The second instalment from Hanwah, once a Brighton native but now well established in the Kingdom of eSwatini where she pursues her multi-potentialist abilities, switching up in-between visual art, tattooing, being a guide in Montessori kindergarten and fervent music maker.

Her second self released EP I Love You Little Witch is a smooth flowing trip, opening with intricate vocals with refrains harmonising into waves that build and fall with generous amounts of reverb. Meditative Udu like percussions along with synthetic wind-chimes and electronic harmonica tones echo the opening of Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden. Confessional and introverted lyrics of infatuation, continuing with the tone from her first EP of vulnerability and honesty. Despite the electronics, the whole EP sounds closer to a live ensemble than a sequencer.

Resuming with swirling riffs of hazy Rhodes and innocent and youthful vocals break into tight drum programming with the occasional bass wobble and self sampled vocals. With its soothing chords, grooves and changes, the rest of the EP touches on the trends of recent British modal jazz, dub and subtle nods to FKJ added to with the smooth sax playing of Londoner Nathaniel McKenzie-Peck.

No doubt the focus of Hanwah’s is creating space for her vocal prowess that finds its self somewhere in-between slam poetry and neo-soul with hints of rocksteady, as equally melodious than driven by lyrical content. The album continues touching topics of innocence, the catharsis of returning to ones inner child (accentuated by a sample of a child’s speech in So Nice), self-forgiveness and to the urgent need to create more dialogue and respect for the ‘other’ in light of the global movement of tackling racism, the patriarchy and the urgent deconstruction of the systems that up hold global inequality in the track Truth Bruv.

The album finishes up with a slow building groove populated with swaths of keyboard chops, vocals and Mackenzie-Pecks sax that breaks into a pulsating bass driven groove with added vocals Swati vocalist Qawwali, brining a delicious Southern African flavour to the EP that ends with her continual mantra like affirmation ‘I’m a woman’. Leaving one somewhat softer and stronger at the same time. Colourful, consoled and optimistic.

I Love You Little With is out now – buy here.
Ralph Smit

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