Based in London but universal in scope and expression, Hejira are a group that belie much of their own appearance. A band with deeply immersive textures; moonlighting session musicians with a mastery of the subtle and experimental; recipients of effuse critical and creative praise who self-sufficiently record and release their own music.
The band comprises Sam Beste, Alex Reeve and Rahel Debebe-Dessalegne, alongside a close circle of additional musicians and collaborators. They have received commissions to compose, arrange and perform original works from the London Sinfonia, BBC’s Nick Luscombe, Spitalfields Music, Help Refugees, the V&A and the British Council.
The group formed over the late 2000’s, having met through performing in big band and jazz ensembles, playing alongside such musicians as Amy Winehouse, Nitin Sawhney, Floating Points and Eric Lau. As the three core members came together to explore the meeting point of their musical skills and interests, a unique magic began to emerge from unassuming jam sessions.
These recordings, and the surrounding creative exploration caught the attention of renowned UK composer / DJ Matthew Herbert, who co-produced their debut album Prayer Before Birth ahead of its release through his label Accidental Records in 2013. The record was rapturously received and praised across press and radio, generating a sizeable spotlight on Hejira as they began to build a spellbound fanbase, touring the UK with Mercury-nominated supergroup The Invisible.
The band launched their own label, Lima Limo Records in 2016, releasing 7” EP The Lima Limo Ceremony including breakthrough single I Don’t Belong to Anyone. The label was formed following a period of acute personal change and loss in which singer, bass guitar player and co-songwriter Rahel Debebe-Dessalegne’s father passed away, a heartbreak that drew her to a hugely significant pilgrimage to her homeland of Ethiopia in search of stories of her father and a deeper connection with her heritage. The rest of the band joined her in Addis Ababa, and through this journey into an unknown land of ancient cultures, peoples and musics, they began to write the songs that would eventually make up their second LP Thread of Gold.
Informed by, and infused with Ethiopia, Thread of Gold explores loss and grief, but also life and living. The songs were written and recorded across a multitude of locations over a broad span of time, but all contribute to a single wider story. Due for release in February through Lima Limo, the album connects Hejira’s many musical anchor points - articulate songwriting, soulful arrangements, a love of the unpredictable, and a global and highly humanist outlook.
Thread of Gold is released on 22nd February 2019
Pre-Order is available at hyperurl.co/ThreadOfGold-Hejira
Official website hejira.info