Fatima Al Qadiri – Medieval Femme

Fatima Al Qadiri takes us through the rich, vibrant history of Arabic music and culture on her latest Hyperdub release, Medieval Femme

Album Review by Nadia Younes | 12 May 2021
  • Fatima al Qadiri – Medieval Femme
Album title: Medieval Femme
Artist: Fatima Al Qadiri
Label: Hyperdub
Release date: 14 May

Returning to Hyperdub for her third full-length release, Medieval Femme, Senegal-born, Kuwaiti musician Fatima Al Qadiri takes the poetry of Arab women from the medieval period as the album’s key thematic influence.

Sounds from the past and present are fused together, as organs pulse and reverberate over sharp tones on Sheba, while sparse synths lead into trembling gongs on Stolen Kiss of a Succubus and delicately plucked strings lie beneath warped vocals on Qasmuna (Dreaming). On Tasakuba, a couplet from the 7th century poet Al-Khansā – widely considered one of the most influential poets of the pre-Islamic and early Islamic periods – is recited by Kaltham Jassim.

Having recently dipped her toe in the film world, Medieval Femme is an extension of the ideas explored on Al Qadiri’s recent soundtrack for French Senegalese director Mati Diop’s 2019 Cannes Grand Prix-winning film, Atlantics. With its main influences taken from the distant past, Medieval Femme has an inherently Gothic feel; its mystical sounds transporting the listener through the rich, vibrant history of Arabic music and culture.

Listen to: Sheba, Qasmuna (Dreaming)