Posts Tagged ‘Bedouine’

Waysides” is not the typical album, but rather a hodgepodge of tracks cut from Bedouine’s previous records, threads of older material, scraps of the sounds and moments of her past. The album encapsulates the artist’s coming of age, grappling with emotions and experiences that come with gaining wisdom. Waysides is the kind of album that would back delicate daydreaming or frolicking through a field, as much as it would work for deep contemplation and nostalgia. Azniv Korkejian has a way of wrapping up rather heavy-hearted lyrics in a charming manner, so much so that the emotion at hand must often be extracted. Sometimes the emotional weight of the song is completely different from how the song sounds, as if one track can become two simultaneously. To use a phrase Korkejian herself sings in “You Never Leave Me,” her music is both “sweet and tough.” 

Bedouine loves covers. In the past couple years, LA-based singer-songwriter Azniv Korkejian has recorded tunes by Margo Guryan, Ron Sexsmith, Big Star, and Bill Withers plus the folk traditional “All My Trials.” And now she has put her own spin on Shaggy’s immortal 2001 chart-topper “It Wasn’t Me.” But Bedouine’s “It Wasn’t Me” is an original the latest single from her upcoming album “Waysides” following last month’s “The Wave.” Here’s a statement from Korkejian about the track: This song represents a special stage to me. I was just starting my habit of bedroom demoing. Locking myself in for hours at a time to put away a feeling was the most rewarding thing. If I felt that I captured what I was feeling, I’d send it to whomever it was about, like an elaborate letter. It was thrilling. That was 15 yrs ago and not much has changed. The song itself is about spending an evening with someone, thinking it was this incredibly romantic time, only to find out I was alone in that feeling. It’s a reflection of that bewilderment and the denial that can follow. It feels good to share after so long. It makes me nostalgic for bygone days, which is one of the threads that runs through Waysides.

The 2nd single from upcoming album, “Waysides” is out via The Orchard. 

Releases October 22nd, 2021

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When you listen to the love songs of LA-based Bedouine, you will be reminded of Karen Dalton’s world-wise voice or the breathy seduction of Minnie Riperton’s vocals, the easy cool of French ye-ye singers, and the poetry of Joan Baez. Her folk is nomadic, wandering across time and space, and on the likes of new song Dizzy meander into danceable jams. On first discovery you may ask whether they’re dated to 2019, or whether you’ve uncovered some forgotten classic. It makes sense that singer-songwriter Azniv Korkejian’s arrival – both musically and personally – on her second record has been influenced by her own wanderlust, displacement, and curiosity.

The music is the farthest from curmudgeonly or depressive as could be. It’s a soundtrack to Spring blossom, to warm air on skin, to the concept of possibility. Amazingly, despite the successes since her debut release, “Bird Songs of a Killjoy” rejects any pressures to be some kind of grand evolution from before. When her self-titled debut came out in the summer of 2017, Azniv was entirely unknown, and wasn’t necessarily looking to change that. The album she wrote in her free time while dealing with some emotional trauma and locking herself away in her house, was an exercise in diarizing, in expression without expectations. Some of the songs on this sophomore effort were from that same time period of fruitful creativity. She continued her creative partnership with Gus Seyffert (Beck, Norah Jones) who produced them in his studio.

If I could play a song as many times as I wanted, over and over and over again and sing it at the top of my lungs without a care in the world.  This would be my vocal lesson song, my affirmation. Singing it gives me so much joy. “He” in this song is “spirit” or “God” and sometimes I changed it to “She” depending on who I was calling in that day (angels, guides, guardian wise). I love this song so much- it’s grounding and permission giving and loving.

“When You’re Gone” continues the Aleppo-born, Saudi Arabia- and America-raised musician’s collaborative partnership with Gus Seyffert (Beck, Norah Jones, Michael Kiwanuka), who produced the single in his Los Angeles studio. “Drag my finger round the rim / drag around a phantom limb when you’re gone,” Bedouine sings, her delicate vocals and fingerpicked guitar flurries accompanied by orchestral flourishes that lend them a gentle grandeur befitting the video’s breath taking natural imagery. “When I started ‘When You’re Gone,’ I was just messing around with pretty chords. Then the lyrics spontaneously came to me much later when I read something on Instagram, which is kind of hilarious. It triggered a line that eventually rolled out the entire song,” Bedouine explains. “In retrospect I think it reflects on the time since I’ve released my first record; in nondescript hotel rooms alone or getting dropped off a cliff after tour is over, not exactly sure what to do with myself. It also touches on what that can mean when it comes to the people you’re closest to.”

Bedouine “When You’re Gone” out now on Spacebomb Records

Los Angeles-based folk singer/songwriter Azniv Korkejian, who performs and records as Bedouine, has announced her third album, “Waysides”, set for an October 15th release via The Orchard. Tender and tranquil, “The Wave” is inspired by “the loss of a close friend, specifically the swell of emotion I try to resign myself to when thinking of her premature absence,” according to Korkejian. The song layers Korkejian’s wistful vocals over a fingerpicked acoustic guitar, minimalist percussion and subtle keys, which fill the negative spaces around her heartfelt emotion.

The singer/songwriter sounds overwhelmed, yet strangely at peace: “I cannot contain the way I feel for you / Or anything / I ride the wave,” she sings, making a friend of her own internal turbulence instead of fighting it. 

The first single from upcoming album, “Waysides”

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.