After releasing an album with Shihad in 2014, Jon began to search for ideas for the second chapter in the critically acclaimed Adults journey, eventually gathering inspiration from his wedding in Khartoum, Sudan and the traditional music, Aghani-Al-Banat, performed as part of the ceremony.
Aghani-Al-Banat literally translates to ‘girls music’ and is one of the only aspects of Sudanese music that deals exclusively with women, their lives and their issues. After completing a recording session in Khartoum with an all-female group of musicians, Jon bought the recordings home to begin structuring an album around them, inviting co-producer Devin Abrams (Pacific Heights/Shapeshifter) to help shape the sound of what would become HAJA. In order to find a title that encompassed what Jon wanted to convey with this album, he looked to the language of Sudan – with the word Haja being a respectful term for an older, more experienced woman in Arabic.
Much like the first Adults album, HAJA features an exciting cast of collaborators, including upcoming New Zealand artists Chelsea Jade (Boomtown), Estère (Bloodlines), JessB (Bloodlines), Miloux (Because Of You), and Raiza Biza (Boomtown/That Gold), along with the award-winning Aaradhna (That Gold) and recent breakthrough artist Kings (Take it on the Chin). These contributions help make up the eight tracks that are HAJA, which is one of the freshest sounding, most intriguing records to come out of New Zealand this year.