I recently had the privilege of seeing Chicago band Zamin for the first time. I’ve stated in the past that I have little faith in American’s ability and/or willingness to embrace other cultures and their musical stylings. The Zamin gig gave a slight glimmer of hope that, maybe, just maybe, there might be hope for the future.
First, allow me to give a bit of background on the band. Vocalist Zeshan Bagewadi seems to be an unstoppable force. Having attended university on a vocal scholarship, Bagewadi can do things with his voice that most singers dream of. Bandmates Dave Eisenreich, Josh Fink, Eric Seligman, and Genevieve Guimond are equally as talented and often seem to be playing multiple instruments at a time to give Zamin their unique blend of folk-Hindi-American-Indie.
Though I neither speak nor understand Urdu, the language Zamin’s songs are sung in, it doesn’t seem to matter. As is the case with opera music, strong instrumentalists and a powerful vocalist can often do more to convey emotion than any literal translation ever could.
With songs that proved accessible to native Indian speakers, American hipsters, and baby-boomers alike, the beauty of a band like Zamin is that they remind us how truly unifying music can be.
To get updates on upcoming live dates, sign up for their email list here: http://walkingbow.com/ensembles/zamin/