Tuesday, July 30, 2013


This weekend I got reacquainted, so to speak, with a singer / songwriter I have enjoyed in the past. Her name is Amiena (pronounced ah-ME-nah) and these she splits her time between Los Angles and London, with trips to (from her website - I am not making this up) Italy, Lebanon, Syria, Greece, Switzerland, Dubai, Prague, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Darfur. And so on. Whew!


I knew her from her previous work, Right Here released in 2006 and Amiena in 2012, as and R&B, jazz, and pop singer with an above-average voice. What I heard this weekend was so good it sent me into full obsession mode, where I still am tonight. She has just released her third album, Real, and it is so much better and so different than anything I have heard recently I am still coming to terms with it. Here's a sample:

Pretty darned cool, yes? The wonder of this album is that just when you think you have figured out what it's about, Amiena takes it in a new direction. This track makes me think: what if Karen Carpenter had recorded in, say Morocco? And listen to the spine-tingling dissonance from the backing vocals.

And, yet another direction, the title track is a totally conventional and achingly beautiful jazz ballad, backed by drums, bass and piano.

My feelings are right there in the lyric: "I don't know where this will go, and I don't care, I’ll take the chance."

If, like me, you just have to know more about Amiena, she is everywhere on the Internet. Just for starters:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mademoiselle Lynn

Before you think I am interested only in local musicians, let me take you half the world away from my home. Okay, maybe not quite half the world, but eight time zones - Metz, France, to be exact. Surprisingly, Metz is home to another of my favorite singers, but that's another story.

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Confusingly enough, Mademoiselle Lynn is not a 'she' but a 'they'; a duo composed of singer Charlyne and songwriter Manu. Charlyne, according to their website, was born in the suburbs of Brussels, and is a  descendant of the great classical composer Handel. Manu (Brett) is a singer-songwriter, classical pianist and graduate of the conservatory of pianist Christophe Maé. The two sought funding to make their first album on the crowd-funding site Akamusic. They convinced 613 people to invest not less than €80,000 in just weeks. The result is "Touche pas à ça !", a delightful 12-track disk, almost all in French. I, of course, do not let such a small thing as not understanding the lyrics stop me from enjoying this music. Here is the first single, 'Addict de toi'

Alternatively, M-Lynn has recently posted a lyrics version of the video.

In the US, "Touche pas à ça !" is available to download on iTunes, Amazon, and perhaps more that I don't know about. The physical CD is available through Amazon, but it is a bit pricey as an import.

I'm totally in the dark as to whether this will work, but another favorite track may be available on Spotify. Please let me know if it works!