Critic's Choice

Gigi, at the Palace Event Center on Saturday, December 22, has helped to modernize and popularize a style of pop music that thrived in Addis Ababa, the capitol of her native Ethiopia, in the late '60s and early '70s. Produced by Bill Laswell, Gigi's recently released debut album abounds in a lush and worldly horn-laden jazz that flows vigorously along like the Nile itself, thanks in part to guest artists including Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Pharoah Sanders. But despite this rather luminous cast of characters, Gigi shines brightest. With confident, downright exotic vocals, she transcends the language barrier -- performing entirely in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia. Charismatic and mysterious, Gigi has both talent and grace, not to mention a compelling geographical history. Come see the lady sing a very different kind of blues.


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