Habibi Draws on Iranian TV for Empowering 'Gypsy Love' Premiere

Habibi Draws on Iranian TV for Empowering 'Gypsy Love' Premiere


Iranian television provided the inspiration for the “Gypsy Love” video — premiering exclusively below — from garage-y New York troupe Habibi's latest EP Cardamom Garden.

The clip, directed and edited by the duo Sacred Pact, blends old school TV-style footage of the band playing the song live with images of young women cavorting outside and sharing an apple that symbolizes “that perfect world” according to singer Rahill Jamalifard, who takes credit for the clip's concept.

“That was pretty much all my vision,” says Jamalifard, who formed Habibi in New York with guitarist Lenny Lynch. The outdoor footage, she explains, “is so powerful and so beautiful and just evokes spirituality. To put these four women there I thought would be captured well through the lens. It doesn't necessarily have to be something that has to do with anything religious, just that sense of purity. It's just like that symbolic, 'Whatever…'” The performance footage, meanwhile, is a nod to Jamalifard's Iranian heritage and the Rangarang shows she became familiar with as a youth.

“My dad had tapes of it that I watched all the time,” she says. “It's like American Bandstand or Soul Train, with Iranian music. I grew up watching those and thought about how cool they looked. It rides the line of cheesy, but it isn't. So I wanted to incorporate those two themes where it's about these women but for the band to also be part of it.”

The “Gypsy Love” song, meanwhile, is a bit of a sequel to “Sweetest Talk,” a single from Habibi's self-titled 2014 debut album. “I feel like it's a continuation of that song,” Jamalifard explains. “It's like there's this Habibi heroine and the song's about this strong female going about her life every day, who has an evil eye for protection. There's a lot of references to Middle Eastern folklore and that kind of stuff. That's the perfect woman in my mind, who I wish she was.”

Jamalifard says she and her bandmates are “super excited” to be back in active duty again after taking a recent hiatus. They're happy with the reception for the EP and for the “Gypsy Love” single, and that's kicked Habibi back into gear both on the road and in the studio. “It's full-on motivating us,” Jamalifard confirms. “It's inspiring us to start working on the second (album), which is what we're doing now. While on tour we recorded maybe four songs, and after playing them live I realized I wanted to re-record them now that we're so tight and the songs have grown. So we're at the drafting table, still, but fully motivated to get it going.”