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Grand Dame of the Zurich indie scene
Saturday, 21.04.2012, 20:20
oh what a night...
Nadja Zela (CH)
Her style's direct, raw and sensual; with it, she can excite both sides of your brain and parts of your body and soul you never knew you had.
«I need a little sugar in my bowl....a little hot dog on my roll» sang Bessie Smith, the all-time Grand Dame of the Blues.
And now we all can get a whole lotta honey on our Weggli from Nadja Zela, who not only's been called the Grand Dame of the Zurich indie scene, but is a most worthy disciple and interpreter of the Delta blues and folk tradition.
She's been up and about and around the world for some decent time now; belting her stuff with CH rock bands like the Roundabouts, Fingerpoke and Sportsguitar, but most notably with the all-girl band Rosebud, which until 2003 released two albums with RecRec, committed numerous live performances and had a six-month stay at the by us very much revered Helsinki Club. Currently, she's fronting the blues rockers of Fifty Foot Mama and since 2008, she's increasingly hitting the road with her other formation, Brute Folk.
Her style's direct, raw and sensual; with it, she can excite both sides of your brain and parts of your body and soul you never knew you had.
Her latest, «Ciao Amore», is entirely her love baby. She's matured a bit, without sacrificing the fresh and the individual. The album explodes with ideas while taking inspiration from early Delta Blues; it's frugally scored and excels with very personal storytelling songs. Seemingly a small work, it's sound and message nevertheless create a deep emotional impact.
Our beloved Tagi writes: «It's the kind of Blues that doesn't relate to beer guts and mustaches» (Hey, what's wrong with both?). And: «Yes, Nadja's music is direct and merciless, at times amused by it all, but then it stabs like a knife to the heart and  into the back» (Well, if at first you don't succeed...).
Nadja's band currently consists of Boese Buben drummer Martin Fischer and includes two female back-up singers and a gentleman on bass. Her third cd, «Wrong Side of Town», was well received, with critical acclaim across the board. It was recorded in Zurich and New York and deals with the narrow inside the broad, the empty within the plenty, life and love in the big city. She was happy to tap the delightful Sea Shanty Singers to back her up on it.
The production by aeronaut Olifrir GUZ Maurmann was a barrel full of good ideas and allowed the songs to breathe and vibrate for themselves. A touching, strong willed and honest album, traveling back and forth between raw pop, playful original blues and experimental sound effects.
So, get rollin' and come see Nadja stop by at the right side of town - ours. For a rollickin', stompin', hootin', tootin', hollerin', beltin', smokin', brainin' and  feelin' night of her own special brand of hearty blues.

«An earthquake of the heart» - Albert Kuhn.
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