Azigza - "Kriya"
(Lionharp Music 2003)
From Aural Innovations #29 (October 2004)
More and more these days we are seeing not only the various so-called genres of music fading as they melt into each other, but also the music of countries all over the world having an impact on western music as much as western music is having an impact on the music of other cultures.
San Francisco’s Azigza is definitely a band that crosses genres and cultures. I was hard placed to peg their sound at first. I wanted to say “worldbeat”, but I’ve always thought of worldbeat as more or less pop music with a world music influence, and the music of Azigza is far from pop music.
Imagine perhaps if France’s Deep Forest had chosen to perform progressive rock and fusion instead of dance music, for the music of Azigza is indeed complex and has the urgent intensity of rock and fusion, but it is also often very rhythmic. Although it doesn’t sound retro in any way, it is a bit like going back to the 70’s, when bands like Led Zeppelin and Popul Vuh were experimenting with world sounds because this is not watered down world music for the masses. Guitar, bass and drums meld with more exotic and non-rock instruments like djembe, djun djun, sitar, tamboura, violin, cello, sound effects, and a myriad voices, both male and female, singing and speaking in both English and exotic tongues spread across a vast canvas to form musical paintings of breathtaking beauty, lush soundscapes, rhythmic rock jams, all infused with energy and spirit, often with a psychedelic edge to it.
If you’re like me, and you like exotic sounding music, but got tired of worldbeat CD’s like the kind available in almost every rainforest themed gift shop, check out Azigza. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
For more information you can visit the Azigza web site at: http://www.lionharp.com/azigza.
Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald