We’ve tried to write this intro several times, but all we can default to is this: Bedouine is probably a more important artist than even she realises. Azniv Korkejian, the press release tells us, was “born in Aleppo, Syria to Armenian parents, spent her childhood in Saudi Arabia, moving to America when her family won a Green Card lottery.” The genre she deals with? Oh, ironically for the current president: folk Americana.
It almost pains us to call it that, but then that’s what Bedouine and modern Americana are on this self-titled debut. On songs like Dusty Eyes and her latest Solitary Daughter, she delivers the sort of thing that would genuinely Make America Great Again. She’s part of the fabric of immigration, delivering treatises on the state of the world using her own perspective, with the latter song being a Dylan-esque reaction to traditional gender roles (“I’m not an island, I’m a body of water”).
Of course, there will be comments on that Dylan hangover. However what Korkejian does with a fairly traditional sound is so damn refreshing it’s hard to turn it down. One Of These Days is one of these songs that just burst with the life and effervescence that arguably only a newcomer can deliver, a new-world innocence even in the face of a tired relationship. It could be about a person, but equally it could be the shot of optimism towards society that we all so badly need.
Elsewhere, there are tales of Bedouine’s nomadic upbringing as she gazes out of her window on Back To You; and again, funnily enough, it’s the perspective of a perceived outsider that can value a country way more than those who take it for granted. “I do with little, don’t need a lot,” she sings – it’s an ethos that applies to the whole record, as even Korkejian’s simpler arrangements often transform into something altogether dreamy (those strings on Mind’s Eye, for example). It all weaves together like the fabric of a modern United States, and it only feels right that Bedouine is the one to bed in the finest and most relevant debut of the year.