Gigi :: Gigi
I first heard this CD from Dimm in the car ride back from the Zakir Hussain and L. Shankar concert in Philly. Mind you, that was some pretty explosive and intense music we witnessed at the show, but one listen of this CD and I was completely transported to a different continent entirely! The media's never painted very kind images of Ethiopia for us here in the US in the last 20 years, but one listen of Gigi's debut and you're left wondering why we've never heard more of this amazing music before?
Chris Blackwell has set up a very fine record label with Palm Pictures in the last few years and has been doing an amazing job of culling together some of the finest proponents of music from all corners of the globe. Her debut here in the States, Gigi's music is an amalgamation of all that she has imbibed from her homeland and the beautiful results of its interaction with western jazz & funk, and east Asian beats.
Seamlessly produced by Bill Laswell, who's bass playing is superb throughout, taking on a reggae effect at times, the CD features the talents of several other amazing musicians including jazz pioneers, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, and Pharoah Sanders. The horns on this disc are worth the price of purchase alone! And if you think you're hearing tablas on a few tracks, look no further than Karsh Kale. Combined with a host of Ethiopian musicians who truly guide the songs, Gigi's voice absolutely shines and draws you into her world of tales of love, of home, of the Nile, and the peoples she's left behind. Sung primarily in her native Amharic, you needn't worry about understanding the language.
Open your ears and your heart will follow.