Genuinely unchained artists like Rasha Nahas are extraordinarily rare.
Having grown up in Haifa, on the shores of the Mediterranean at the foothills of the Carmel Mountain, her unmistakable sound, which blends dirty electric guitar tones and classical technique with a penchant for intimate storytelling and bold, unabashed poetry, was born out of a roaring Palestinian underground scene.
As a songwriter and classical guitar player since the age of 10, Rasha has long been fostering a sound that moves seamlessly between the resonances of early rock and roll and the reckless echoes of free jazz. Her songs, which are at once completely uninhibited and yet fiercely controlled, exist in a space where fire fights the quiet moments when silence floods in, violins wail, and her words, though delicately delivered, cut deep.
“I write feelings, observations, and sometimes monologues,” says Rasha. “I write about life and death, about home, land, and love, knowing and not knowing. Much of what I do as an artist is in pursuit of the sense of freedom that comes with writing a song and going with it, wherever it may lead you.”
Now 21, Rasha has spent the past three years traveling the world––her life and art colliding with an array of new experiences.
“In traveling you move between realities,” she says. “You are yourself but you grow differently. I feel really challenged when I write during my travels because I encounter myself filterlessly. Of course, you also meet a lot of different types of people and hear many different kinds of sounds that re-shape your musical spectrum and way of thinking. Everything you experience becomes a part of you and part of how you reflect your world––because of that I feel that I can write everything and be everybody.”
Rasha’s travels have also enabled her to perform in front of varied audiences the world over, prompting the press to describe her command of the stage as “a stormy but liberating musical experience” akin to 1920s Weimer Cabaret with a touch of rockabilly.
In 2016 Rasha has released an EP, Am I, which was produced by Mark Smulian and written and recorded between England and the Middle-East.
Rasha is currently writing and recording her debut full-length album, and is scheduled to embark on a European tour, which kicks off in June in France, Germany and the UK.
Photo Credit: Carolin Saage