Zazí Live at De Engelenbak
Three Dutch beauties and an entirely unique approach to arranging classical instruments. Read my review below, as well as feature biography for their website.
Like caviar to the ears: Trio Zazí consists of three absolutely charming and musically fluent ladies from the Netherlands: Dafne Holtland, Margriet Planting and Sabien Bosselaar. Main ingredients to their unique sound are the cello for bass, piano for melody and accordion, mandolin and ukulele for their chanson folk signature. All these sounds are sweetly tied together with no-question-about-it handsome vocal harmonies. It’s obvious these women have seasoned musical tastes. Zazí sings in Dutch, English, French, Spanish, German and undoubtedly other languages that I failed to recognize during the performance. They seductively invite us into a fusion of musical genres that culminate in nothing less than the creation of their own; I can say with certainty that seeing Zazí live is really something special.
They performed last weekend in the fairly small and traditional theater De Engelenbak, located just down the street from Amsterdam’s city centre university campus. Coming into the performance, I recognized only two comparisons made to their music: Beirut and Katzenjammer. Although the Eastern European sounds of both were noticeable in Zazí’s set, these ladies brought bluegrass, folk, jazz and acoustic all into their tunes, plucking heavy cello strings alongside minor vocal harmonies to start until gradually (or spontaneously, depending on the song) transforming into energetic Baltic-esque accordion rhythms. Shaking circular maracas and tossing them when through, these Dutch ladies had an unusual charm in all of their stage demeanors. Then add bright high heels and petite sundresses to the mix and we have just the beginning of a trio Zazí experience, during which I’m sure most of the audience falls a little bit in love with each member.
Acing a little-bit-of-everything performance, Zazí pleased the crowd with their up-tempo covers of The Offspring’s “Pretty Fly” and Eve/Gwen Stefani’s “Blow Your Mind.” This hardly takes away from the class that these ladies modestly suit though; it adds to the flair and variety of musicians and ultimately distinguishes themselves from those in more classical performances. With ballads beautiful enough for royalty, Zazí has also performed for the Queen of the Netherlands on more than one occasion. They know how to work it all, which I’m starting to find is their main appeal.
Trio Zazí are planning on spending quality time in the recording studio this summer; however in the mean time they are keeping busy with performances and other media. Check out their summertime music video here as well as their myspace for more tunes.