Africa + Andrews Sisters + Busted Caps Lock Key = tUnE-yArDs

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Wow – this is just great. In case you haven’t heard of this band, tUnE-yArDs is essentially the nom de rock of Merrill Garbus, who originated this killer, original project in her proverbial bedroom.
The unusual instrumentation (floor tom, duct-taped ukulele, multiple looping pedals) and obvious African influences in her music are garnering the most attention, but I’m most impressed with her voice – sinuous and blow-the-doors-off powerful at the same time. Check it out:

I like the way she combines African vocal phrasing with a touch of ’40s-era crooning, as well as a very musical (as opposed to gimmicky) command of live looping: this video is a bit of a clinic in how to use looping to subtly enhance a performance, rather than reduce that performance to a technical exercise.
Her latest record, Whokill, is also highly recommended. And she’s from Oakland, people.

Like it? What do you think?


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