2020 / 2021 / Gigi Masin

Gigi Masin`s Calypso was one of my favourite albums of the last 12 months. Consistently brilliant, every track offered its own slightly different shade of superb. It was a record that I kept coming back to, but its brilliance seemed to get overlooked in December’s music polls, or forgotten. Perhaps that’s because it was released right at the start of a year that we`d all rather forget. 

Here Gigi selects some incredible music from 2020 – sounds that conjure the past, present, and future. For those that don’t know, Gigi started out on radio. As far as I know he doesn’t currently have a show. Someone surely needs to fix that. 

Could you please give me a few pieces of music, released or reissued this year, that have helped you make it through 2020? 

Lyra Pramuk / Witness (from the album Fountain) 

The voice is our first instrument but the magic that Lyra Pramuk makes on her debut album is something not so easy to explain. Multi-layered vocal lines emulate instruments, create texture – voices that simultaneously seem both near and far from what we recognize as human language – yet always remain passionate, emotional, charming. 

Jonny Nash & Teguh Permana / Air (from the album Poe) 

I certainly do not have to explain my respect for Jonny. With all my heart I admire his search for ‘silence’, for an intimate sound – something personal yet universal. A ‘naked’ music, sincere beyond definition. 

Anoushka Shankar / Bright Eyes (from the album Love Letters) 

What is ‘Beauty’? “Something lighter than sand and sweeter than flour”, the Sage said.. But I’m captured by Anoushka and I can’t say anything but romantic phrases. And what about the voice of Alev Lenz? All words seem useless to me… 

BVDUB / Not Yours To See (from the album Ten Times The World Lied) 

Brock Van Wey is a tailor of clouds. He has always fascinated me with the way he weaves his elements while maintaining a lightness and a sobriety that is unknown to others. His painting with winds is a pure magic…

SaffronKeira & Paolo Fresu / In Origine (from the album In Origine) 

I have never hidden my love for Sardinia – an incredible island of beauty and history – a kind of ‘Stargate’ that reads your heart and in return whispers wonders. On this record island natives Eugenio Caria and Paolo Fresu take us by the hand on a journey. Just close your eyes. 

Alan Wakeman / Forever (from the reissued The Octet Broadcasts) 

I have always loved British jazz – which is largely indebted to the blues and those musicians who escaped from South Africa’s apartheid regime – but which has its own crystal clear identity and powerful, kind, elegance. 

Hiroshi Yoshimura / Street (reissued on Green) 

Our planet is full of wonderful and surprising music, and many masterpieces are continuously being revealed, rediscovered – making it clear just how much beauty is still hiding in each country and in every culture. 

This will be hard to answer, but all being well what plans do you have for 2021? 

Really.. I realize everyday that we are in a universe of pain, a complicated network of relationships, health, work, travel, school, hospitals… I keep at the helm of my life, and stay positive. I want to return to my travels, concerts, projects, making new friends in places yet to be discovered. Life goes on. 

Is there any way that I, we, others, can help and assist you in achieving these goals? Are you looking for partners for any forthcoming activities – in that sense of “if we stand together then we will survive”? 

Like never before your determination to get out of this uncertain and difficult period is the same determination that I have. It is precisely together that we will succeed. We all need each other to be safe and positive. I’m lucky because I have people that I can trust to face tomorrow. We are all waves of the same sea. 

Gigi Masin`s Calypso is available to order directly from Apollo Records. 

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