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Azigza


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Worldpop altrock

Status:

Most recent release, Kriya (2005)

See also:

Azigza's site

The Ectophiles' Guide's entry for Land of the Blind, Cyoakha's other band

Comparisons:

The relationship to Land of the Blind is clear; though the bands have a different flavor, they're both a fusion of world sounds, progressive rock and trance music and feature the dynamic Cyoakha Grace on vocals. Both bands also have a similarity to Dead Can Dance.

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

I would like to encourage those of you that want to explore LotB also check out Cyoakha's other project with Azigza. I have seen them three times live now and they are phenomenal! Here is what the flyer that they passed out at the festival says about them:
Azigza is a new grouping of multi-instrumentalists who have created a unique amalgam of sound which blends the music of Arabia, Africa, India, Bulgaria and other world music with the hard edge of rock 'n' rock and the elegance of western symphonic music. They easily move from trance inducing tribal rhythms to musical intricacy, from spacious ambiance to visceral rock bombast.
The description is very accurate yet in no way does justice to the power and magic of this band. They deliver a wonderful mix of progressive rock, jazz fusion, world, and trance music. Cyoakha is a passionate and powerful vocalist. Aryeh Frankfurter is a brilliant musician and is the driving force behind this band. (wpm@value.net)

Comments about live performance:

I went last night to see Cyoahka's S.F. band, Azigza, at the Benefit for Integrated Arts. I really enjoyed myself for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that the benefit was for a truly worthy cause. I went there with my friend Phil and we both had a great time. Azigza is an excellent band. They have an outstanding electric violin player. The rest of the band which consists of electric guitar, bass, several percussionists and, if I remember correctly, a keyboard player is also very accomplished. The violin player also played harp (celtic harp if I'm not mistaken) on one piece. Then of course there is Cyoakha! She is a very dynamic and powerful vocalist. Her charisma and energy on stage is compelling.
     Musically the band reminded me as a cross between Daevid Allen-era Gong, Curved Air and Dead Can Dance. Visually they remind me a lot of Gong because of their stage presence and attire. To my ears, Cyoakha's vocals at times are reminiscent of Lisa Gerrard and at other times seem to be mixture of Siouxsie and Sonja Kristina (Curved Air).
     They opened with a very interesting Middle Eastern tinged version of Led Zeppelin's "Four Sticks" (I'm pretty sure that was the Zep song). The rest of the 45-minute set was a mix of powerful percussive and hypnotic music that featured excellent violin playing and Cy's fantastic singing. They definitely set the dancers free with their music. (4/99)
     I have seen them three times now in the San Francisco and they are phenomenal! They recently played at the 5th International Progressive Music Festival (formerly the ProgFest) at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.
     Azigza were virtually unknown to the prog crowd. They put on a short, but stunning, performance that completely captivated and won over the hearts of the crowd! They were added to the festival bill at the 11th hour, so they didn't play the main stage (they should have). They played a set in the lobby during the dinner break of the second day of the festival. Unfortunately, their set was cut short because the show was running behind schedule due to technical problems during the sound check of other bands earlier in the evening. At any rate, Azigza played a mesmerizing and powerful 25-minute set and won numerous converts that night. They sold out their complete stock of CDs (a good 6 or 7 dozen) and cassettes before they even finished their performance.
     Cyoakha is a very passionate and compelling vocalist and has a wonderful stage presence. Their key instrumentalist is Aryeh Frankfurter who plays a six-string electric violin and Celtic harp. He is a truly gifted and incredible musician. The rest of the band are excellent as well. They flesh out the line-up with three outstanding multi-percussionists, an excellent bass player who doubles on sitar, and a very good guitarist. (1999)
     I again saw Azigza perform the other night at the StringFest at the Noe Valley Ministry in the City (San Francisco). I am not going to do an in-depth review this time. I will say that they were in a word: AMAZING! They are an excellent world and progressive rock band. They have been one of several outstanding new musical discoveries that I have encountered because of being apart of this wonderful mailing list. (1999)
     I just got back this evening from seeing Azigza at the Starry Plough in Berkeley, CA. They have just recently released their first full length CD. This gig was a bit of a coming out party for that CD release. They performed many pieces from the CD.
     Their eponymous release is a brilliant offering from this gifted set of musicians. They are fronted by the incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist (violin, Celtic harp, mandolin), Aryeh Frankfurter, and singer and lyricist Cyoakha (also well known here on Ecto for her beautiful work with the equally amazing Land of the Blind).
     Cyoakha's stage presence was mesmerizing. She went from dreamy subtlety to passionate wailing. The highlight of the evening for me was the band's inspired and spirited rendition of "Zaman". Cyoakha was at her powerful and passionate best on this song. Aryeh and Kevin (Azigza's outstanding guitarist) were on fire as they traded solos over the pulsating rhythm section. The solos built in tension to a cacophonic crescendo with the two of them soaring out of the chaos to the other side brilliantly.
     Other highlights of the set were the hypnotic "Petra" and the dynamic "Touch Moon Window" and "Remember".
     Kudos to bassist Pierce McDowell and percussionists Stephan Junca, Pedro Rivera and Raja as well. They traversed complex odd time signatures with precision and a dramatic flair.
     The band went down very well with the crowd who had come predominantly to see the well known Celtic rock band, Tempest. I believe that their performance won over many in the crowd, as it appeared that they sold many CDs at the table that was set up for that purpose. The same thing happened when I saw them at the 1999 International Progressive Music Festival. They played in the lobby between sets of the headliners of the festival and took the prog crowd by surprise. They adored them and snatched up all of the EP CDs that they had to offer.
     I have always had a soft spot in my heart for bands that have virtuoso violinists and amazing female lead vocalists (i.e. It's a Beautiful Day, Curved Air). I love Azigza! Most of you know that I have been raving about them for a while now. (2000, wpm@value.net)

Recommended first album:

Any

Recordings:


Azigza

Release info:

2000—self-released

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of world/progressive/trance music

Group members:

Kevin Evans—electric and acoustic guitars, guitar synthesizer, electronic soundscapes
Aryeh Frankfurter—violin, viola, cello, harp, acoustic guitar, tenor guitar, mandolin
Cyoakha Grace—vocals
Stephan Junca—drum set, djembe, doumbek, guiro, bongos, assorted percussion
Pierce McDowell—bass, sitar, tamboura
Raja—tabla, kanjeera, djembe, zils, drums, assorted percussion
Pedro Rivera—djembe, doumbek, conga, shakers, zils, assorted percussion

Guest artists:

Daevid Allen—gliss guitar on 1 track

Comments:

An excellent CD. One of my top discoveries this year. (wpm@value.net)


Thanks to Bill Mazur for work on this entry

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Entry last updated 2012-02-15 23:53:52.
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