LA singer-songwriter Bedouine crafts weightless songs of grace, optimism, and wonder | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

LA singer-songwriter Bedouine crafts weightless songs of grace, optimism, and wonder 

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click to enlarge Bedouine

Bedouine

Polly Antonia Barrowman

Bedouine is the moniker of singer-songwriter Azniv Korkejian, a woman of Armenian descent born in Syria and raised in Saudi Arabia before her family won a green-card lottery and moved to the U.S. The music on the eponymous debut she released last summer feels lighter than air. She’s now based in LA, and the breezy melodies and gentle textures of the record’s songs are reminiscent of the 70s folk rock from the heyday of Laurel Canyon. Much of the album embraces serenity, with the narrator expressing hope even when cloaked in romantic uncertainty: in “Nice and Quiet” she asserts that she should stay in a stumbling relationship, while on “One of the These Days” she insists that “we’re gonna get it right.” Korkejian’s open sense of wonder for the world and natural optimism are masterfully reinforced by gauzy, gossamer arrangements crafted by Trey Pollard—I never thought I’d admire the swerving lines of an English horn in a pop song as much as I do on “Nice and Quiet”—and meticulous production by Matthew E. White, whose work with Nashville singer Natalie Prass is what first attracted the songwriter. On “Summer Cold” Korkejian breaks from her placid mood with a darkness aimed at American weapons used upon innocents in her birthplace, and the song concludes with a nostalgic re-creation of the sounds she remembers hearing on her grandmother’s street in Aleppo. For this performance she performs solo on acoustic guitar. While the lush orchestrations will be missed, there’s a richness and depth to Korkejian’s voice belied by its lithe grace that convinces me she doesn’t require the instrumental help.   v

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