“Tearing through different musical landscapes, never arriving.” There are few SoundCloud bios more apt than that of film composer, sound designer and songwriter Zeina Azouqah, a.k.a. Zazuka. Her music is a pick-your-sound adventure: emotive piano; spirited strings; atmospheric rhythms; vocals from sensuous to mischievous sung in both Arabic and English.
Creating at the intersection of music and film, the Jordanian Berliner’s work truly seizes upon the symbiosis of the two arts. Standing alone, her compositions evoke fantastic narratives and imageries. Paired with visuals, they amplify mood and feeling, carrying the story.
Zeina Azouqah began her musical journey as a performer in the mid-2000s, sharing the stage with many artists in Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt. From classical music and Sufi ritualistic chants to reggae, gnawa, pop rock, folk fusion and live piano for theatre and poetry evenings, her diverse stylistic experience has shaped her own genre-defying sound. Her film scoring, sound design and East-West-fusion orchestration and arrangement career began when she moved to Germany nine years ago. Since then, she has scored several short and mid-length films and worked as a score editor for feature movies.
Last month, the multitalented musician joined us at dBs Berlin for a wonderful Guest Session. Providing the perfect learning opportunity for both our music and film schools, Zeina presented her experience of working with post-production teams and directors.
One of our attending music students, Isabella Pantoja (@isapetal), shared her impressions of the fascinating two hours. “Other than the specific sound design and soundtrack related wisdom,” she reflected, “Zeina shared so many great insights on the interpersonal relationships of a work place and dealing with clients. I feel I can take that with me wherever I choose to go with my music.”
Keen to explore deeper into Zeina’s creative mind, we took her aside after the session to ask, what is the one thing that fuels your creativity? Here’s what she told us.
My One Thing
“There is no one thing that fuels my creativity, but rather many. I can also define ‘fueling creativity’ as more than one thing. It could mean motivating and energising me into creatively persevering, despite the odds that tip everything to chaos and senselessness. Or it could mean finding something that sparks my heart or mind and makes me want to express a certain feeling or idea.
This year, I learned the value of collaboration and conspiration with like-minded folks more than any other time in my life. This motivates me as a creator and author. In terms of certain ideas and feelings being sparked, I am mostly inspired by relationships and conversations. I used to be more introverted and found more inspiration in nature, collecting pictures of bugs, clouds and flowers on walks and bicycle rides through the brush on the outskirts of the lovely town of Augsburg. But ever since moving to Berlin I’ve become more social and find my inspiration through connection with other creative humans.”
Header photo credit: Carman Ho.
More from Guest Sessions: All the things we learnt at our On the Couch session with Rafael Toral.