As part of their cross-country tour, José González and Bedouine mystified the Campbell Hall crowd with ethereal guitar and haunting vocals on Wednesday, Jan. 31.
Bedouine, otherwise known as Azniv Korkejian, is a Syrian-born musician specializing in folk and country music. She has a sound best described as “sixties folk meets seventies country-funk with a glimmer of bossa nova cool.” She drew primarily from her 2017 self-titled album, showcasing her melancholy voice that soothingly complements the gentle strumming and plucking of the guitar.
“I had a wonderful time. Everyone was attentive and the campus is beautiful. It’s a groovy campus. I love playing at seated venues and seeing people very relaxed,” Korkejian said in an interview during the intermission.
Bedouine’s calm demeanor showed through during her light-hearted joking with the crowd, in which she encouraged people to stop by after the show for a hug (because touring is lonely) and buy her LP’s for $500— she didn’t bring any CDs because she said she was traveling light.
“Sometimes, [my commentary] is off the cuff; I like it when the audience is involved. I [also] like [playing] the new material because it’s more exciting to play new songs,” Bedouine said.
After the intermission, José González took the stage to thunderous applause for what he said was his third time in Santa Barbara. González’s staple is relaxing, lullaby-like melodies, and he demonstrated why he is in the upper echelon of this music genre in Campbell Hall.
Known for his otherworldly sounds, González performed interludes that acted as a bridge to connect various songs together. The most memorable moment, of course, was the guitar solo that came before his performance of “Heartbeats,” a track that gained worldwide recognition, a fact evident in the almost 200 million plays on Spotify. He then rounded out the performance with tracks from albums like Vestiges & Claws, In Our Nature, and even his new 2018 extended play & The Bright Lights at Svenska Grammofonstudion.
One of the performance’s bright spots for the audience was a moment that González would probably like to take back. He was singing a verse (admittedly, I do not know the title of the track) but faltered while strumming and then completely forgot the lyrics altogether. He then proceeded to whistle to the rhythm with accompaniment from loud applause and whistling from the audience.
“I know what happened,” González said to the crowd. “I usually drink before a show and I didn’t [today]. It’s a good song; you should listen to it.”
Afterwards, González smoothly transitioned into his personal rendition of The Beatles’ “Blackbird.” “Beatles to the rescue,” González facetiously added after performing the song. Through this, he showed the vulnerability underneath what seems to be a mystical and mysterious exterior.
During a night in which peaceful music captivated the audience, the personality of the artists had the strongest effect. The audience felt like they had a connection to both José González and Bedouine which made the folklore of these folk artists even more compelling.