London-based band Hejira announce their second LP Thread of Gold, released on the 22nd of February 2019 through their own Lima Limo Records.
Borne from an astonishing and acutely personal sequence of events, Thread of Gold tells the story of vocalist, bass guitarist and co-songwriter Rahel Debebe-Dessalegne’s changing relationship with her homeland of Ethiopia after the death of her father. She took the band with her on a pilgrimage to Addis Ababa, looking to reaffirm her own ancestral roots and cultural identity, and subsequently on a deeper exploration into the unique, ancient and far-flung lands, peoples and musics of Ethiopia. On this journey, the band members worked through loss and bereavement, through discovery and new experiences, through a moveable songwriting that took place across many years and many locations. The displacement, write the band, gave deeper meaning to their own identities.
The results - as documented on Thread of Gold - weave together the many ribbons of Hejira’s musical outlook. Years of performing together in jazz and big-band ensembles, and alongside such profiles as Amy Winehouse, Nitin Sawhney, Floating Points and Eric Lau has informed an instinctual and mutually inspiring compositional relationship within the band. Their intelligent, soulful, leftfield-aligned take on pop music underpins their love of the otherworldly, the mesmerising, and the unpredictable. Their time in Ethiopia eventually became the binding force around several years’ worth of songwriting and self-recording. “Ethiopia became a backbone and a point of reference,” multi-instrumentalist and producer Sam Beste offers. “The experience helped to galvanise everything we had written into a cohesive work.”
Partly dedicated to the memory of Rahel’s uncle Gashe Seleshie (“the type of person you learn so much from just by being in his company”), Thread of Gold sparkles with articulate and subtle instrumentation, earworming choruses, orchestral arrangement, emotive confession, East African field recordings and close vocal harmonies, all illuminating a profoundly moving and intimate personal expression.
Hejira formed in 2010 after Beste, Debebe-Dessalegne and fellow multi-instrumentalist Alex Reeve set up their home studio in South East London. The line-up expands to include additional musicians both in the studio and onstage. These are never hired hands, but musical ‘cousins’ to the ‘siblings’ of the core members.
In 2016, following the release of their acclaimed 2013 debut LP Prayer Before Birth on Matthew Herbert’s Accidental Records, and EPs on Accidental and Floating Points’ Eglo Records, the band set up their own Lima Limo Records. The label - named after a winding mountain path in northern Ethiopia - has become a home not only for their own releases, but also for like-minded creative souls releasing music just as strange and wonderful as Hejira’s.
released February 22, 2019
Save It For Another and Ribs recorded at Ilkatron, EMS4 and The Arboretum.
Joyful Mind recorded at XXVII Studios, EMS4 and The Arboretum.
Lima Limo, A Taxi Man, You and Gratitude recorded at The Arboretum, except lead vocal on A Taxi Man recorded at EMS4.
Empire recorded at The House of Dreams, EMS4 and The Arboretum.
All tracks written by Hejira
Produced and mixed by Hejira at The Arboretum, except A Taxi Man mixed by Alex Reeve at EMS4
Mastered by Matt Colton
Rahel Debebe-Dessalegne: Vocals on all tracks; bass on 2, 3, 7.
Alex Reeve: Guitar on 3-8; bass on 1; keys on 2, 4, 9; string arrangement on 3, 4.
Sam Beste: Vocals on 2-8; keys on all tracks; bass on 4, 5; guitar on 2; drums and programming on 7; string arrangement on 7,9.
Alexis Nunez: Drums on all tracks except 4, 7, 9.
Jonny Coote: Drums on 4.
Calum Duncan: Guitar on 1-6; backing vocals on 5.
Dave Meckin: additional keys on 1.
Francesca Ter-Berg: Cello on 1, 2, 3, 6, 9.
Flora Curzon: Violin on 1, 2, 3, 7, 9.
Tara Franks: Cello on 9.
Anisa Arslanagic: Viola on 9.
Anna Lowenstein: Violin on 9.
Tom Herbert: Double Bass on 9.
Ben Williams: Recording engineer at Ilkatron Studios.
Blue May: Recording engineer at XXVII Studios.
Photography by Olmo Cassibba
Cover Artwork by Victoria Villasana
Additional Design by Sabrina Samsoodin
Art Direction by Jack Prideaux
Graphic Design by Louie Isaaman Jones
Hejira formed in 2010 setting up their studio 'The House of Dreams' in South-East London. In 2013 they released debut album
'Prayer Before Birth' on Matthew Herbert's Accidental Records to critical acclaim. Their second album 'Thread of Gold' is out now...more