East meets West and pop meets soul in the latest album from Dutch international music star, Rajae El Mouhandiz, released this past Saturday.
But of all the words to describe Hand of Fatima, Sufi-inspired might be the most fitting.
The album is a musical meander through the life and times of Rajae, a 30-year-old North African Muslim woman who grew up in Amsterdam and who uses her international background to inspire her music.
Released three years after her debut album Incarnation, Rajea’s latest offering delves into everything from the heartbreak of a father’s neglect of his family, to love and self-esteem, to navigating a society obsessed with material wealth. But underlying all of her songs is a subtle reminder of the forces in her life – her belief in “compassion, the Almighty, and the afterlife” that make the struggle worth it.
Her song “Subhan Allah” is a smooth Arabic and English melody dedicated to freeing herself from “mental slavery”. It’s the musical version of a Sufi thikr circle, where participants gather to chant the attributes of God.