Name of Album: Gigi
Ratings: Personal - 5 General - 4
Release Date: Out Now
Self-titled, Gigi and her debut album are Amharic jewels glistening cacophonously in the Ethiopian sun. Influenced largely by the liturgical hymns and harmony of her native tongue, you can almost taste the other flavors in the pot: West and South African melodies, as well as quarters and hams of hip-hop and funk. If you've ever had Ethiopian food, you've had Injera, that staple of spongy and moist and pungent sourdough pancake-flatbread one uses as the utensil for every meal of savory meat and vegetarian stews (can you tell what I'm hungry for?). Gigi's music evokes the same sort of funkiness, a resonating simmering and fermentation of sound which becomes almost addictive in its quaint manner of satisfying an American's taste for exotic "gourmet" cuisine (i.e. everyman's daily bread and repast outside the U.S.). With the aforementioned worldbeat supporting each composition, one can undeniably also hear the ting of contemporary jazz. The accordion plays a prominent place throughout as well, vibrantly supporting the echoing melody of Gigi's voice; the combination works well enough to sustain sufficient interest for non-natives who have no idea what she is saying. And by track three of the album I was so enchanted that I even began to believe that I did understand the words.