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Gigi rocked the often unflappable world music community with her self-titled 2001 debut. Expertly shepherded by the sometimes over-prolific Bill Laswell, the release harnessed the Ethiopian sensibilities that made the Ethiopiques series so celebrated and gives them a masterful updating with the help of a powerful cast of musicians that amazingly includes jazzmen Wayne Shorter and Pharoah Sanders as well as master percussionists/experimentalists Karsh Kale and Aiyb Dieng. But the real focus is Gigi herself, a massively talented and relatively young singer who is already phrasing her lyrics like a seasoned professional. Oh, yeah -- she writes all her own music as well. Gigi's a very welcome voice in the never talent-thirsty world music realm.
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