Photo by Vivian Bauer
Bedouine’s show at the Cedar Cultural Center last Friday was spellbinding. Draped in a pink lace dress with open sleeves, singer-songwriter Azniv Korkejian promised to ease us into her set with a solo version of “You Kill Me” off her self-titled record. I first took notice of Bedouine for her low vocals and melodic runs, and her voice sounded even warmer in person accompanied by fingerstyle guitar.
“I hope you’re all relaxed,” Korkejian said with a smile. “I was a little too chill. I forgot some of the words!” The intimate crowd giggled, for a moment shaken out of our trance. Joined by the rest of her band, Bedouine skillfully danced between silliness and sincerity for the rest of her performance.
Bedouine treated the audience to songs off both her albums, including fan-favorites “One of These Days” and “Nice and Quiet” (“Just like you guys!” she joked). Her performances off her 2019 release, Bird Songs of a Killjoy were most striking to me. “Are you a bird? Am I your cage? / Am I a bar breaking under notes you play?” Korkejian cooed during my personal favorite, “One More Time.” I couldn’t help but close my eyes and sing along, “One more time, honey / One more time / I'm gonna set you free … I'm gonna let you be.”
Bedouine’s songwriting is rich with nostalgia for love and place. “You're still in my skyline / And I think I'm in yours,” she sang on “Skyline.” I pictured the man-made glamour of Los Angeles, where the band is based, but Korkejian also has ties to Syria, Saudi Arabia, and across the United States. With frequent references to birds and “honey babes,” her lyrics reflect on movement in both physical space and relationships. Her references to love, often in passing, are resonant enough to be interpreted as between lovers, friends, family, or travelers and settings.
Ask anyone who was at the Minneapolis show and they’d be remiss not to mention Korkejian taking to a particular audience member’s guttural chuckle (she decided to call him “Steven”). “It’s good to be easily amused!” she reminded us earnestly as we laughed alongside their banter between songs.
I left the venue feeling lifted, both from the soothing music and the lighthearted atmosphere Bedouine created (it should be noted that she’s a Cancer, known for their ability to read a room!) Bird Songs of a Killjoy has become one of my favorite records to bliss out to.
You Kill Me - Solo
When You’re Gone
One More Time
Matters of the Heart
Come Down In Time (Elton John Cover)
Bird Gone Wild
Nice And Quiet
One of These Days
Check out Bedouine on Spotify, Apple Music, NPR’s Tiny Desk, and bandcamp.