Last year, surrealist Egyptian musician Nadah El Shazly released her debut album, Ahwar, which easily made our 40 Best Middle Eastern Albums of 2017 list.
El Shazly's music is bizarre, otherworldly, challenging and beautiful. Her songs conceive a sonic world of psychedelic Arabic fairy tales, inspiring and exacting…and that is precisely what is depicted in her hallucinatory new music video for "Mahmiya", animated by Marwan Elgamal, the same artist who did her album artwork. The talented painter and animator seems to understand Nadah's vision; the marriage of her music and his visuals are a match made in heaven...or some other weird place.
With the release of the video, Elgamal explained to Dangerous Minds a bit about the character narrative and world that "Mahmiya" inspired:
"In this place there is a condition of symmetry between the inner world of the girl and the outer landscape. She morphs and changes through her surroundings, and through these interactions the world is animated and energized…time becomes represented as fluctuating and dilating, and our girl breathes, plays, creates, grows, and becomes conclusively unrecognizable, then to be brought back to the beginning of a cycle."
Filled with a myriad of highly imaginative creatures, for example a flamingo with a tentacle face and human arms, the video sucks you into Nadah's voice, which lilts discordantly over minimal instrumental parts, punctuated by a slinking buzuq line. The imagery is a delirious, fantastical voyage, reminiscent of old Soviet animations, French animated film The Fantastic Planet, and the Codex Seraphinianus - but distinctly belonging to Marwan Elgamal.
Artistic collaborations like this are definitely what keep us inspired and hopeful, so we look forward to seeing more mind-boggling releases like this.
Follow Nadah El Shazly on SoundCloud.
Follow Marwan Elgamal on Facebook.