Nino’s new album excels at the art of being classy, subtle and cutting edge. The U.S. musician and vocalist, who grew up overseas in the country of Georgia, represents rhythmic and lyrical exploration. Perhaps traveling the globe contributed to the adventure and beauty of bridging pop, jazz, soul and beautiful beat boxing.
It is a triumph of the merging of genres from many countries, as well as the U.S. Listeners of smooth jazz, R&B, hip hop, EDM, genuine rock and roll and spoken word can all light candles together. Layers of sounds become clouds that float over traditional boundaries, and merge together joyously. Colors are bright. Thoughts are free and relaxing, with flavorful bends and turns.
How did she achieve sounding unique but remarkably universal? NOMAD, recorded with her partner and Producer Pablo Gordy, is a testament to the power of individual artists. Carrying notable musical prowess, the partnership is comparable to if Madonna and Prince teamed up, respectively. Their energy and artistry is intense and generous, whether performing solo, duo or band.
“People pay more for a cup of coffee than they do for music,” says Pablo Gordy in a video interview about NOMAD’s record label, Ni Fu Ni Fa Records.
Here’s why you should skip the latte and drop some shiny dimes on the album: NOMAD is more than just groove, it redefines the complete partnership of lyrics and rhythm. The two become inseparable. The style will make your troubles melt away into peace of mind, like chocolate on the tongue.
The modern urban setting comes to life visually with colorful street murals and Nino’s lyrics on the video for “Coltrane Skies.” Filmed in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, the song lyrics connect people in distant places as being “under the same sky”. The song is about forgiveness, resolution and travelling light, says Nino.“I’ve lived in so many neighborhoods in my life, in a colorful way. Every single place has contributed and enriched my curiosity for diversity in sounds, textures and colors of people and places. I continue to be fascinated by urbanity,” says Nino. She shares that with fans via the Coltrane Skies video.As Nino sings in the video, there’s a bump—literally. When asked how being pregnant affected the music video she replies, “Pregnancy is such an incredible time in any woman’s life and it was such a tremendous time in my life that I wanted to integrate the emotional component into the visual context of my work.” Since then, Nino has given birth to her son. Being fearless in incorporating real life into art is only one facet of her work. It is a testament to her ability to create and thrive under any circumstances, and in any place or time.
The song’s title is a nod to the influence of jazz greats on Nino’s music. She spent days listening to LOVE SUPREME on repeat, entranced in its spirituality and emotional depth. Plus, Billie Holiday was one of Nino’s first musical influences when she moved to the U.S. as a teenager. “Raw emotion. Truth unencumbered. That’s Billie,” says Arobelidze.
Nino’s ability to keep moving is also taken literally. With a background in dance and choreography, the singer keeps our minds and bodies moving. “Music is an extremely physical form of expression for me, as it is cinematic…It moves and it is moving. Even in stillness there is motion and I’ve always experienced music that way,” says Nino.
It was important to let each song “grow into its own shoes, despite the odds,” says Nino who also incorporates a loop pedal into live shows.
With plenty of ingredients to draw from, listeners can enjoy where she succeeded.
As a shorty growing up at the tail end of the Cold War, her influences ranged from Bollywood staples to Brazilian, Venezuelan and Colombian soaps. By 5th grade she was more interested in listening to George Michael and the Doors than world music. As her environment had no NPR or free cultural events, it wasn’t until she lived abroad and in the States that she’s been able to explore styles and types of music, and find her own voice. Being able to understand various music forms makes her see similarities that others may not be able to see; such as similar music elements shared between blues, Flamenco and Russian Gypsy music.Her rhythmic ideas come from “everywhere-- patterns of speech, locomotives, nature..” she notes.
The emphasis on rhythm as an art form in itself is reminiscent of contemporaries like Xenia Rubinos. Lyrically, Nino shares “artists like Joni Mitchell, Mos Def, Ani Difranco, Public Enemy or P-Funk have a way of keeping your ears and mind busy. Clever stuff..but always honest.”
When asked what about music makes it international or universal Nino answers, “Rhythm and sound. These two elements defy barriers of language, time and culture. They are the ultimate BS filters and cannot be used to mask any faulty emotion or thought. They are fantastic tools in communicating honestly and freely. In fact they are Freedom itself.”Arobelidze relates to sound and rhythm when it’s honest and selfless. “I connect very deeply to the blues, the music of perseverance and personal strength that draws from one’s spirituality. I believe in freedom, fairness and beauty. Anything that conflicts with these concepts I will put up a fight against,” says Nino. Support the good fight and purchase this album NOMAD.
To purchase the NOMAD album use these links:
By Hannah Frank / On Axis Music