Hanni El Khatib — In Joshua Tree for NPR Field Recordings

Hanni El Khatib in Joshua Tree by Mito Habe-Evans
Hanni El Khatib in Joshua Tree by Mito Habe-Evans

I went on assignment to help NPR Music gather field recordings for their series in between Coachella weekends and on the first day I nearly died. Perhaps a little exaggeration here but let me explain.

Our plan was to put the garage-rocking wild one, Hanni El Khatib in the middle of Joshua Tree for that wild west aesthetic. The result, as you can see was pretty picturesque and nary a disaster in site.

If you were fortunate (or unfortunate depending on your stance) to have attended Coachella this past year on the first weekend, you were treated with a wind storm of biblical proportions. Upon my arrival to the Coachella Valley I was greeted with over-turned semis, windswept highways, road closures and visibility worse than full forced blizzards.

We were racing against the dying light to get Hanni and his crew up to Joshua Tree, which was about an hour from their residence, but because of the giant mess in Southern California, we had to detour nearly two hours away. We pulled into the National Park just as everyone was leaving post sunset. Found a spot, ran out into the desert and set up shop.

The NPR film crew were in good spirits as they tore through thousands of dollars of equipment to find the right lens & Hanni was a tremendous sport as he worked his magic while the sun went away and the cold desert air crept in.

All in all the result was about as perfect as we could hope and as we made our way back down to the Valley, wind burnt and exhausted we started making plans for the next day. I think we had a bunch of beer that night, too.

Catch Hanni El Khatib and Bombino at the Santa Monica Pier this Thursday 8/8 as part of the free concert series.

Featuring: Hanni El Khatib, Ron Marinelli, Hayden Tobin; Producers: Saidah Blount, Mito Habe-Evans, Collin Walzak; Videographers: Gabriella Garcia-Pardo, Mito Habe-Evans, Amy Schriefer; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Editor: Mito Habe-Evans; Special Thanks: Ace Hotel Palm Springs