In a time fraught with political turbulence and cultural unease, having a voice has never felt so important. For Habibi this comes at a crucial moment. The quintet just released ‘Cardamom Garden’ their first EP in over four years; significantly, the first one with lyrics recorded in Farsi. This new direction has been a long time coming for the band who are acutely aware of music as both a natural part of their heritage and a representation of their own identity: “Middle Eastern culture is very heavily influenced by the arts,” shares Iranian-American lead singer Rahill Jamalifard. The EP combines her culture’s flair with a finely tuned vocabulary of widely appealing tracks structured in a new pop approach: engaging and highly danceable while eschewing typical formulas.

    Featuring three original songs, and a Farsi cover of 60s classic “Green Fuz,” ‘Cardamom Garden‘ was recorded in Brooklyn and mastered by Heba Kadry (Björk, Slowdive, Future Islands). Bringing their sound even closer to its middle-eastern roots is Tehran-born Yahya Alkhansa, who contributed tonbak percussions.

    Both Jamalifard and Habibi guitarist Lenny Lynch originate from Detroit, although neither met until both were living and playing shows in the local Brooklyn scene, where they intuitively fostered a shared connection over their love of Middle Eastern psych music. The two recruited Karen Isabel (drums) and Leah Beth Fishman (bass), fellow musicians who were also friendly through the same DIY music hub, though both also had roots as far away as Puerto Rico before all landing in the common ground of New York City. They were quick to receive critical accolades, with their self-titled 2013 full-length debut heralded by The New Yorker as “stunning.”

    I see you walkin’, walkin’ down Woodward / tryin’ to catch a ride,” Jamalifard sings in live favorite “Detroit Baby,” a reference to an avenue in the Detroit of their youth that could similarly apply to the place in Ridgewood, New York where she currently resides, or any other street in America or across the globe. Habibi have proven to be capable of showcasing authentically crafted music that is both uniquely its own yet able to traverse borders in its overarching appeal. This ethos is clear even in the band’s chosen name: “Habibi” translated to English means “my love”-a universal language that makes them easy to embrace.

    HABIBI (Burger Records, 2013)

    1. Far From Right
    2. I Got The Moves
    3. Detroit Baby
    4. Sunsets
    5. Sweetest Talk
    6. She Comes Along
    7. Persepolis
    8. Let Me In
    9. Siin
    10. Tomboy
    11. Wrong To The Right People

    Recorded by Jay Heiselmann at Death By Audio, Winter 2012/2013. Vocals: Rahill Jamalifard. Guitar, Vocals: Lenny Lynch. Bass, Guitar: Erin Campbell. Guitar: Caroline Partamian. Drums: Karen Isabel

    CARDAMOM GARDEN (Modern Sky USA, 2018)

    1. Khodaya
    2. Gyspy Love
    3. Nedayeh Bahar
    4. Green Fuz

    All songs and lyrics written by Habibi except Green Fuz by Leslie Dale & Randy Alvey. All tracks recorded and mixed by Jay Heislemann in Brooklyn, NY. All tracks mastered by Heba Kadry at Timeless mastering in Brooklyn, NY. All instruments played by Erin Campbell, Karen Isabell, Leah Beth Fishman, Lenny Lynch, Rahill Jamalifard, and Yahya Alkhansa. All songs published by Songs of the Mothership/Burger Tunes (ASCAP), Music of the Mothership/Burger Hits (BMI), Except Green Fuz. Album art by Rahill Jamalifard and Bailey Robb. Graphic Design by Rahill Jamalifard and Wendy Waseige

    “The band’s newest EP, Cardamom Garden, houses lyrics that move seamlessly between English and Farsi.” NPR Weekend Edition

    “Cardamom has the rare ability to transcend culinary classification, adding a rounded depth to savory curries and roasts while also floating to the forefront of sugary desserts. The Brooklyn-based quintet Habibi’s new EP has a similar malleability: It’s full of music that blends cultures, languages, and genres, with charming and intriguing results, (…) shedding rigid definitions of what constitutes American music on the way to the band’s future.” Pitchfork (6.8/10)

    “The group combines the Colgate-white glisten of sixties-girl-group pop with an uncensored edge; its songs are soft but savvy, preened for high-profile movie soundtracks and sitcoms.” The New Yorker

    “Empowering.” Billboard

    “Habibi might have formed in New York, but the band’s roots are in Detroit — in more ways than one. Rahill Jamalifard and Lenny Lynch both from the Motor City, but the influence of Detroit’s middle eastern community and its history of girl group garage rock can be heard loud and clear in their music.” NPR’s The Guestlist

    “Like the self-titled effort that precedes it, this three-track EP is full of charged-up garage rhythms and infectious hooks. But here, they interact with elements of Middle Eastern psych. The results are unexpected, exciting, and, as always, catchy as hell.” i-D Magazine

    “There’s a million bands from Brooklyn—but only one that blends psych-rock riffs with girl group harmonies in lead singer Rahill Jamalifard’s native tongue, Farsi. Back with a third EP this March, Habibi is more polished than ever and focused on using their music to make a radical point.”  Interview Magazine

    “In the simplest words: Habibi knows how to write songs that stick. Lenny Letter

    “Habibi is taking NYC by stormMilk.xyz

    From their brief, Arabic-tinged instrumental intro through a mix of Breeders jangle, Ventures stomp and Farsi funk, they’re developing an intriguing, distinctive sound. New York Music Daily

    They’re not your average New York girl band (…) – think The 13th Floor Elevators meets The Shangri-Las. Oyster Magazine

    Habibi offer a refined take on indie pop, creating a rich product, something poignant and uplifting in its celebratory blend. Post-Trash

    “There are a lot of groups these days that are drawing from the garage-rock and ’60s psychedelic-pop well, but Habibi transform these influences into something much more powerfully engrossing and strange on their recent EP.” LA Weekly

    Something that keeps me up at night is how many nice things we might have if the large majority of the world’s non-male, non-white people had not been silenced throughout most of history. (…) Nedayeh Bahar, which translates to “Song For Spring” in Farsi, reminds me to honor the voices I never got to hear, and celebrate and amplify the ones emerging today.” Hullabaloo

    Agreed, their tunes hypnotise you into believing time is but an illusion, and ten minutes of music easily become ten seconds — just like when you’re spending time with someone you love and mundane concepts such as hours become irrelevant and elastic. The 405

    Cultural identity is always a powerful force in any creative endeavor, and for Habibi, that energy is ready to explode.” What Youth

    Management: W&, Wendy Waseige (Email)
    Publicist: W&, Wendy Waseige (Email)
    Booking (UK/EU): Earth Agency, Mike Deane (Email)
    Licensing: Natural Energy Lab, Danny Benair (Email)
    Publishing: Mothership, Lionel Conway (Email)