Bedouine — Bird Songs of a Killjoy (June 21, 2019)Flag of Syria           Bedouine — Bird Songs of a Killjoy (June 21, 2019) Pamela MÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃéndez ÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃâ Time (22 Feb 2019)⊗      Bedouin zní jako horké letní odpoledne, kde se nic nepohybuje..., v jakémsi malátně~ospalém klimbání, ale kapky kondenzace se sklouznou po vysoké sklenici něčeho ledového. Hlas Azniv Korkejian je v důvěrném objetí šelestů, zpívá v tichých tónech, doprovázených jednoduchými kytarovými nebo klavírními aranžemi, které jsou doplněny o elegantní orchestrace, občas steelkou a přitlumenými rohy. Je to neobyčejně jemná sbírka s klasickou citlivostí, evokující zpěvačky z 60. a 70. let. Samotné téma textů Azniv Korkejian, aniž by bylo možné tvrdit z první ruky, se zabývá probíhajícím ničením v rodné Sýrii, zejména v Aleppu. Například „Summer Cold“ z předešlého alba, psaná se silným vnitřním pocitem nebo předtuchou budoucího neštěstí, s hvězdnou noir~ish kytarou, byla „reakcí na to, že se zbraně poskytované Amerikou dostaly do rukou teroristů“.
⊗       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.” — Eric R. Danton
Born: in Aleppo, Syria
Location: Aleppo, Syria ~ Echo Park, Los Angeles, California
Genre: folk~rock, indie~folk, singer~songwriter
Album release: June 21, 2019
Record Label: Spacebomb Records
01. Under the Night   3:18
02. Sunshine Sometimes   4:22
03. When You’re Gone   3:29
04. One More Time   4:19
05. Dizzy   4:13
06. Bird   5:17
07. Bird Gone Wild   3:41
08. Hummingbird   3:07
09. Matters of the Heart   2:40
10. Echo Park   2:58
11. Reprise   1:15
12. Tall Man   3:07

⊗      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. 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.
⊗       Bird Songs of a Killjoy is a soundtrack to Spring blossom, to warm air on skin, to the concept of possibility. Some of the songs on this sophomore effort were from that same time period of fruitful creativity as her self~titled debut, which came out in June 2017. She continued her creative partnership with Gus Seyffert (Beck, Norah Jones) who produced them in his studio. For Bedouine, these songs have already served their healing purpose. Now it’s time for them to move others. Bedouine’s Humble Folk~Pop Brilliance
How the L.A.~based singer~songwriter became one of today’s most vital new folk voices.
•   “I don’t want to keep downcutting myself,” says Azniv Korkejian, “but to be honest, I have no idea what I’m doing.”
•   Korkejian, who records and writes songs as Bedouine, is currently talking about playing the guitar — “I’m always just winging it” — but the Los Angeles~based folk musician may as well be describing her complicated feelings about being an artist at all.
•   That word — artist — is one that Korkejian says she’s struggled to feel like she fully embodies in recent years, even after releasing her self~titled debut, a dazzling display of Seventies~leaning singer~songwriter simplicity, to overwhelming acclaim in 2017. Since then, she’s amassed millions of streams, shared the stage with Lucius and Real Estate, and opened for everyone from Fleet Foxes to Father John Misty.
•   It took a few years, in fact, for Father John Misty to realize that she wrote songs and played music, despite their paths regularly crossing in their Echo Park neighborhood. “I had no idea,” she recalls him telling her the first time he listened to her record. “He was like, ‘This is Azniv? I never knew, you never talk about it.’”
•   Korkejian was born in Aleppo, Syria, to Armenian parents and spent her childhood in Saudi Arabia before moving to the United States with her parents around age 10. When she first arrived in Los Angeles, her dream was to work in the film and TV industry as a sound editor. “I never imagined that I could be a quote~unquote artist and have my own voice,” she says.
•   But before long, she found her own songs pouring out of her for the first time, unsure of what she’d do with them. “I realized I had a little bit of something to say, not necessarily for anybody else, but they were starting to feel special to me,” she says. “Before the first record, I never even talked about how I played music. I just assumed that everybody played music, and that it was a really boring conversation to have with somebody: ‘So, I play music …’ What a boring thing to talk about.”
•   That initial outburst led not only to 2017’s Bedouine but also her new album, Bird Songs of a Killjoy — a stately set of originals that cements her status as a vital contemporary folk storyteller unencumbered by genre. Korkejian widens her songwriting focus, tackling everything from crippling insomnia (“Dizzy”) to late~stage gentrification (“Echo Park”), while retaining the same dreamy chamber~folk sound she introduced on her debut.
•   With its ornate strings and delicate arrangements, the new album features more lush production values than her debut, which prioritized a sparse vocals~and~guitar approach, but Bedouine isn’t eager to make any grand pronouncements about how her sound has grown. “You feel like it’s evolved a little bit, kind of?” Bedouine says when I mention the new sounds I hear on Bird Songs.
•   “I’m happy it does seem like it’s evolving, but it definitely doesn’t feel like it’s a huge departure,” she says. “I don’t write in increments in time, like, ‘OK, it’s time to write for the next album.’ I’m impressed when people do that, because it’s so much pressure. How do you just schedule that? How do you schedule emotion?”
•   Talking about her songwriting process and live performances, Korkejian shows a humility that’s rare among her Los Angeles contemporaries. Speaking to Rolling Stone on a spring morning in New York, she wonders whether some of her general self~deprecation may be cultural. “I notice the difference sometimes: My parents really knew how to knock me down a peg,” she says with a smile. “If you ever talk about yourself, it’s strange. Patting yourself on the back is not cool in my culture. So, maybe, part of this is just negotiating those two cultures, which is something I’m very familiar with.”
•   Despite her modesty about her own work, Bedouine has become an integral part of today’s new wave of traditionally minded singer~songwriters. She’s formed bonds with contemporaries and tourmates like Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Segarra, who sent her an early encouraging message about her breakthrough song “Solitary Daughter,” and José Gonzalez. And at home in Los Angeles, she’s become part of a thriving scene that includes Jenny~O, Greta Morgan, and Leslie Stevens, all of whom appear in Bedouine’s new “Echo Park” video. “I wanted to make the point that we’re all here, this is what we’re doing, and we’re all trying to figure it out,” she says.
•   Bedouine began writing “Echo Park” “as a joke” after being unable to find a table at her favorite neighborhood coffee shop one morning. But releasing the song has been a learning experience for the singer. “I made the mistake of looking at the comments on my YouTube,” she says. “Most people have been really supportive, but I found a few comments where some people are really upset about somebody who hasn’t lived there as long as them writing a song about it. And I get it, people are upset. I know what displacement feels like. I’ve been through it, and it’s not to be taken lightly. It’s been strange to feel, speaking very lightly, like a kind of lightning rod because of a song.”
•   Bedouine expects many more such moments in the future, as she continues to expand both the range of topics she’s writing about, and her overall sonic palette (at one point, she ponders recording a country~funk album in the future). In the meantime, it’s clear that her creative practice has come a long way since she started taking it seriously just a few short years ago. “It started this reservoir that I just keep contributing to,” she says of her early output, “and have been pulling from ever since.”