Some music is impossible to classify except in the broadest category. Tigre by Banda Magda is one of those albums. You can call it world music, and you wouldn't be wrong. That, however, doesn't provide a sufficient explanation of this album in which each song is kind of a world of its own.
The album begins with "Tam Tam". It doesn't take long to realize just how difficult it is to describe this song. The melody has a trance-like quality that also includes strings and a chorus of background vocals. The lead vocals are reminiscent of 60s French pop. You don't have to understand the lyrics to realize the sound of hope in this song. That's just the beginning.
"Coracao" is another multifaceted song that you'll probably have to hear more than once before you begin to feel like you've gotten any sort of grasp on it. Imagine if an orchestra played a song with a samba beat, and you have at least some idea of what to expect from this song. Granted that's not a complete idea, but then this music is not the easiest to describe.
"Muchacha" is a contrast to the other songs on the album. While the other songs swell with sounds that seem to surround you, this one remains mellow throughout. While the other songs are driven by complex instrumentation, this is driven mostly by the vocals and has the feel of a lullaby. It's easy to imagine falling asleep with a smile on your face if this is your lullaby.
This isn't so much an album as it is a musical journey in which Magda Giannikou sings in French, Portugeuese, Spanish, and her native Greek. According to Giannikou, this is an album that is about voicing and facing your fears. It makes sense then that the album has such a hopeful feel. It's possible that you won't understand a word of the lyrics (except in "Le Tigre Malin Narration"), but that doesn't mean you won't enjoy it - especially if you enjoy music with a cinematic feel. Tigre (Verve Label Group) was released on September 15 and is available everywhere now. If you want to take this musical journey in person, Banda Magda plays The Mint on October 20.