Posts Tagged ‘Bedouine’

Bedouine, Waxahatchee, Hurray for the Riff

It feels like ages ago that Bedouine, Waxahatchee and Hurray for the Riff Raff toured together on a sort of indie triple bill (it was actually 2018). While the three acts make dramatically different music, they complemented each other well on this tour and share some influences as well — as evidenced by this belated cover of Big Star’s classic “Thirteen” (which is often more readily recognized by its opening lyric, “Can I walk you home from school?”) that found its origins during the tour, when Bedouine , Waxahatchee Katie Crutchfield and Riff Raff singer Alynda Segarra would sing it together onstage.

Big Star, of course, is arguably the greatest power-pop group of all time. Led by singer-songwriter Alex Chilton, they released just three albums in the early ‘70s, which were barely noticed at the time but their legend grew over the years — they were covered and feted by the Replacements, the Bangles, R.E.M., Teenage Fanclub and many more — until the group reformed in 1993.

Bedouine explains how their cover came together. “This all started in 2018 when I opened a three-bill tour for co-headliners Waxahatchee and Hurray for the Riff Raff,” she wrote. “We threw the idea around of doing a song together but weren’t sure what. I was backstage in Columbia, Missouri, when I realized it was the anniversary of Big Star’s ‘93 reunion show that had also taken place in Columbia.

I was fiddling around with the song in my dressing room when Katie and Alynda walked in. Suddenly I remembered there were 3 verses to split up. We played it as an homage that night and every night after. After the tour wrapped up, I think it was Kevin Morby that insisted we track and share it. Down the road, Katie wrote me that she would be in LA so I tracked the guitar and she came by to visit and put down her part. Down the road some more Alynda put down her part from New Orleans and sent it over the ether. Now we finally get to share it.

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Azniv Korkejian, the Los Angeles -based artist who records as Bedouine, makes soft, delicate, beautiful folk music. There’s a long, rich tradition of musicians using soft, delicate, beautiful folk-music as a forum for the left-wing rallying cry, and it seems like Korkejian is getting in touch with that tradition right now. Last month, Bedouine released her version of the Vietnam-era protest song “The Hum.” Today, she’s dropped a gorgeous take on the old folk traditional “All My Trials.”

“All My Trials” is an old song of unknown origins. It’s a stark piece of writing about how those without money are destined for harder, shorter lives than those with it: “If living were a thing that money could buy/ The rich would live, and the poor would die.” Over the years, a number of artists (Harry Belafonte, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez) have recorded their own versions of the song. A Paul McCartney recording of it was a minor UK hit in 1990. Today, we get to hear Bedouine’s.

Azniv Korkejian recorded her take on “All My Trials” at her home. She’s done it as a hushed lullaby, with softly fingerpicked guitars and glowing Fender Rhodes tones. I don’t know who sings harmonies on her version of the song — maybe it’s just Korkejian’s voice multi-tracked — but those harmonies are a killer.

Bedouine – “All My Trials” from Mexican Summer’s Looking Glass series.

Released May 19th, 2020
Written by unknown / traditional
Recorded and produced by Bedouine
Recorded at home April, 2020

Bedouine is the moniker of Azniv Korkejian, a Hollywood music editor turned recording artist who released her self-titled debut this year. Bedouine was made with the help of Spacebomb session musicians, and though it’s primarily a folk album, this collection of songs shapeshifts and collects new influences along the way. These are plainspoken songs written for quiet moments alone and long walks home, and though the entanglements Korkejian sings about don’t lead to huge, mind-bending revelations, they do leave you feeling a bit more grounded.

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Bedouine sounds like a hot summer afternoon, where nothing moves in the drowsy stillness but the beads of condensation sliding down a tall glass of something iced. Azniv Korkejian’s voice is a confiding murmur, and she sings in languorous tones accompanied by simple guitar or piano arrangements augmented by elegant strings and muted horns. It’s an uncommonly subtle collection, with a classic sensibility that evokes singer-songwriters of the 1960s and ’70s.

Writing topically without being heavy-handed, Korkejian addresses the ongoing destruction in her native Syria, especially in Aleppo. For example, “Summer Cold,” a foreboding tune with stabs of noir-ish guitar, was “a reaction to learning that weapons provided by America were finding their way into the hands of terrorists.”

Bedouine (Credit: Polly Antonia Barrowman)

Azniv Korkejian started moving as a child and never stopped. Born in Syria to Armenian parents, she spent time in Saudi Arabia, Boston, Houston, L.A. Kentucky, Austin and Savannah, before finally settling (loosely) in Los Angeles.

Which is where the name Bedouine comes from – a vehicle for her artistry, it’s a nod to the nomadic character bedouin. An enchanting songwriter whose work is impossible to place, new cut ‘Dusty Eyes’ wanders across the landscape of husky 60s folk before adding some funkier elements. One day she walked into Gus Seyffert’s studio to inquire about getting a reel-to-reel tape machine, something analogue and portable to record herself in small, quiet places. On a whim, he asked if she would play a song right then, so she stepped into the room and cut “Solitary Daughter” in a first take, and they were off on a three year collaboration. One night, she approached Matthew E. White of Spacebomb Records after a show at The Echo in L.A., saying that she wanted to send him a song. He remembers listening to “One of These Days” on the rest of that tour “like a thousand times,” it knocked him and his band right out, and they even set it as their alarm to wake up to in the morning. If that all sounds a bit mythic, a bit rock-and-roll legend, remember that reality always outdoes the script, even in a town like Hollywood.

Literate and entrancing, you can check out ‘Dusty Eyes’ below.

Dusty Eyes” appears on Bedouine’s self-titled debut album, out June 23rd, 2017.