Image © 2000 Azigza
(06 June 2001) The debut album from Azigzga is a self-titled
nine-track recording blending Middle Eastern percussion and
instrumentation with progressive textures and the vocal work
of Cyoakha Grace. The album, which is receiving a lot of
attention since the group was booked for ProgDay 2001, is
on the Lionharp Music label.
azigza also consists of Kevin Evans (guitars), Aryeh Frankfurter
(violins, viola, cello, harp, guitar, mandolin), Stephan Junca
(drums and percussion), Pierce McDowall (bass, sitar, tamboura)
and Raja (tabla, kaneera, djembe, zils, drums, percussion) and
Pedro Rivera (djembe, doumbek, conga, shakers, zils, percussion).
Cyoakha's vocals soar above complex instrumental arrangements
in the upbeat progressive track "Glass" and the darkly evocative
string-rich and percussive "Remember." Progressive arrangements
of traditionally-based sounds work quite well especially in the
instrumental "Ratzinitza." "Petra" shares similar instrumental,
vocal and percussive intensity and with its complex arrangement
is less accessible.
"Touch Moon Window" and "Distance" have superb vocal passages
and blend traditional sounds with experimental-style instrumentals.
We especially enjoyed the layers of vocals and string accompaniment
in the worldly track "Zaman." The heartfelt and soaring jazz style
vocal passages of "Friends" are underscored by Middle Eastern-oriented
arrangements. The final track of the album, entitled "Edallah ya
Rashidi," is an incredible instrumental soundtrack-like number.
Read further about azigza and listen to soundbites at their
to attract further attention from the progressive rock press in
the near future, this band is worth further exploration. We
found their album intriguing and worth a journey. It's a
very nice listen!