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Medjool: Medjool

May 7, 2008, 12:00 am
Throughout Medjool's self-titled album, rhythms rise and fall to and from the forefront. One moment the drums take over the attention only to melt back and allow vocals to dance over their steady backdrop.

Medjool, a collective that comprises Santa Fe musicians Meagan Chandler, Jeremy Bleich, Sitara Schauer, Gregory Gutin and Jason S Ordaz, mixes the traditional rhythms and melodies of Arabic and Gyspy music with Western harmonies to create an atmosphere that is both traditional and experimental. Chandler's voice is the album's most versatile instrument; sometimes she simply creates another rhythm, at other times she chants like a woman possessed with a spirit from another world.
Medjool is an album that takes a listener not through a cohesive story, but instead though an emotional adventure. It's as surreal as a dream where the audience experiences only pieces of the others tale but is overwhelmed by the feelings that ooze from the instruments.

The album begins with a traditional song, "alto St. hora," which calls out with the carefree joy of pure celebration. Other songs, such as "RebBI," bring forth an introspective melancholy that is on the verge of lifting.

Medjool refuses to stick to just one tradition. Instead the band reaches out to music from around the world and masters each one with careful understanding and reverence.

Medjool celebrates the release of the album with a performance at 8 pm Saturday, May 10 ($8) at the O'Shaughnessy Performance Space,
1600 St. Michael's Drive, 473-6000



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