Avila Street Records Avila Street Records


Live In Santa Cruz

Release Date: January 1, 2007
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Album Review

Infusing elements of hip-hop/spoken word as well as ritual dance, Hamsa Lila earned its stripes as venerable force within the world music genre, and has been recognized as a pioneer in world fusion, singing in 13 languages, alongside hypnotic polyrhythms led by ultra tight South African kit drummer Inx Herman (who’s backed Paul Simon, Sting, Hugh Masakela, Vusi Mahlasela), and mesmerizing vocals shared by velvet voiced Nikila Badua and soulful Deja Solis, along with the core tribal resonance of MJ Greenmountain on simultaneous male lead vocals and percussion. The three singers converge harmoniously to make the blend swoon-worthy. The bottom pulse of Hamsa Lila comes from the Gnawa bass like lute called the ‘sinter’, played by Vir McCoy. This goat-gut stringed, camel-skinned ’bass’ has a deep punchy tone delivery that helps give Hamsa Lila’s unique sound. When the repetition of the trance melody is added to this equation by another Moroccan, goat-gut stringed, goat skinned lute called the ‘Guimbri’, played by Brett, Beryl Jacobson, the group produces a sound that is wholly their own: a potent healing salve of electro-organic roots, hypno-grooves, and other-worldly melodies. When punctuated with the multi-instrumental talents of Evan Fraser (who is half of the hugely popular world beat band Dirtwire), on flutes, synths, nogoni, kalimbas, jawharps, and percussion, Hamsa Lila rounds out to be the tidal wave of divine sounds and rhythms.