Abyssinia Infinite includes: Tony Cedras (guitar, accordion); Moges Habte (saxophone); Aiyb Dieng (percussion); Karsh Kale (tabla).
Additional perssonel: Gigi Shibabaw (vocals).
Gigi's last album was intriguing. But it's interesting that the Zion Roots project, obviously much closer to her heart (and appearing on a smaller label), has the kind of power, both emotionally and musically, that she couldn't quite muster on that disc. In part, perhaps, it's because this doesn't try to be a stylistic crossover (nor, in spite of the title, does it have anything to do with reggae). Indeed, the opening song, "Bati Bati," is traditional, although given a new polish -- but it keeps strong roots. There's a lot of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in here, although it's never a proselytizing album, nor a Christian album. Instead it's a love letter to Gigi's past, and through it a way to the future. To listen to "Ethiopia" or "Aba Alem Lemenea" is to understand that she feels this deeply. By using mostly Ethiopian musicians, the music remains grounded in the Horn of Africa, although it flies all over, thanks in large part to the percussion of Karsh Kale, and the instrumental offerings and production of Bill Laswell, who does the singer complete justice here. And Gigi herself has never sounded in better voice, or more passionate. At its best, this record creates its own dream-like world that pulls the listener in with its intensity. With this record, it's impossible to deny that Gigi is a complete artist. ~ Chris Nickson