1/  Abay                                       (E. Shibabaw)                 8.42
  2/  Tew Ante Sew                               (E. Shibabaw)                 4.41
  3/  Mengegegna                                 (E. Shibabaw)                 6.15
  4/  Kahn                                       (E. Shibabaw)                 8.42
  5/  Sew Argen                                  (E. Shibabaw)                 4.41
  6/  Nafeken                                    (E. Shibabaw)                 6.15
  7/  Abet Wubet                                 (E. Shibabaw)                 8.42
  8/  Guramayle                                  (E. Shibabaw)                 4.41
  9/  Gud Fella                                  (E. Shibabaw)                 6.15
  10/ Guramayle (slight return)                  (E. Shibabaw)                 8.42

          Created at Orange Music, West Orange, New Jersey
          Engineering: Robert Musso
          Assistant: James Dellatacoma
          Reproduction and mix translation: Bill Laswell
          Mastered by Michael Fossenkemper at TurtleTone, New York City
Ejigayehu "Gigi" Shibabaw: vocals; Dereje Mekonnen: organ, electric piano, synthsizer; Tony Cedras: accordion; Herbie Hancock: electric piano, clavinet, synthesizer; Amina Claudine Myers: organ, electric piano; Abegasu Shiota: electric piano, synthesizer; Wayne Shorter: soprano saxophone; Pharoah Sanders: tenor and soprano saxophones, bells; Graham Haynes: cornet, flugelhorn; Henry Threadgill: alto saxophone, flute; Art Baron: trombone; Mark Taylor: french horn; Nicky Skopelitis: 6 and 12 string guitars; David Gilmore: guitar; Zakki Jewad: guitar; Bill Laswell: bass, guitar, synthesizer; Mikias Abebayehu: drums, congas; Aiyb Dieng: chatan, congas, percussion; Thomas Gobena: bass; Hamid Drake: drums, tabla, congo, doff; Karsh Kale: drums, tabla, synthesizer; Abdou Mboup: congas, talking frum, djembe, percussion; Setegne Satenaw: masinko; Melaku Gelaw: kerare; Imani Uzuri: backing vocals; Tigist Shibabaw: backing vocals; Hebest Tirunehe: backing vocals; Dawit Melesse: backing vocals; Abonesh Adenew: backing vocals; Mizanekristos Yohannes: backing vocals.

Horn arrangements by Henry Threadgill

          2003 - Palm Pics (USA), PALMCD 2100-2 (CD)


Most remixes are done for a quick buck -- slap on a bunch of reverb, stretch things with some delay, maybe drive the whole mess with a new drum track. Whatever. "Illuminated Audio," however, an ambient remix of Ethiopian-born singer Gigi Shababaw's self-titled 2001 debut, is a pleasant exception.

"Illuminated," constructed by remix master Bill Laswell, is looser and more spacious than the original, densely layered album, which featured Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Pharoah Sanders as well as a host of Ethiopian percussionists. Rather than being propelled by a churning rhythm section and Gigi's powerful vocals, sung in Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia, listeners will float through the remixes with pleasant liquid ease. Commenting on his approach, Laswell, who also produced and played bass on the original album, explained that he was trying to show another side of the music by emphasizing elements that were originally more understated: "[The original] is put together in a way that fits, but a lot of things that I featured in the remix weren't as audible in the original."

Take, for instance, the remix version of "Tew Ante Sew," which puts the two guitar tracks up front. In the original, these tracks lived deep in the mix as parts of a much larger rhythmic organism. With some space cleared around them, the guitars relax, stretch out and groove in a new way. Likewise with the saxophone. On the original, Gigi's singing rides atop the mix, the sax cresting only occasionally. On the remix, with her vocals pared way down, the sax stands front and center. Fans of the original album might be alarmed by the absence of Gigi's vocals -- but Laswell says that's the way she wanted it, telling him, "Don't use the vocals because it's already been done." As such, Gigi's voice here is more akin to brush strokes and her presence passes through the mix in an ethereal way, never staying long but moving us while she's there.

Although these are remixes, the songs on "Illuminated" are compositions in their own right. But even so, after sinking into this album for a while, you'll also find yourself having a deeper experience when returning to the original, your ears having been sensitized to the less obvious elements living within.

Tom Bojko (courtesy of theJapan Times)


This is absolutely wonderful, a brilliant re-working of Gigi's 2001 release by the genius that is Bill Laswell. Illuminated Audio is so very different to the original as the self-titled original is turned into an ambient epic that is dubbed out into musical nirvana. What is all the more remarkable about this remix is the fact that no new music or overdubs were used to create it from the original multi-track masters. Hard to pick a particular track out as the flow so well together but I do especially like the skanky intro to Kahn. Perfect music.

Graham Radley (courtesy of


The inspiration for this project is Ethiopian singer/songwriter Gigi's eponymous 2001 debut album. Illuminated Audio is producer/mix guru Bill Laswell's mix translation of Gigi's songs from that album, and it's a masterpiece. Laswell produced and performed on Gigi, so he has been here before. The most brilliant aspect of his work here is how organic it is relative to the source material. He pulls together acoustic and electronic sounds and lets loose his jazz vibe, yet his soundscape flows seamlessly from the rhythmic soul of Gigi, and the rich melodicism of Gigi's beautiful songs is ever-present. Laswell hasn't re-imagined these songs - he's making love to them, and he's doing it with an abundance of finesse and a very hip awareness.

CVV (courtesy of the Billboard website)


Two years ago, shortly after the launch of Ethnotechno, dimm lent me Eligayehu Shibabaw's debut album, GIGI. It stayed in my CD players at home, work, & in the car for a very long time, and it continues to be an all time favourite for the indelible mark it left behind from this unique and wondrous chanteuse of Abyssinia.

I got to see her live last year at Joe's Pub, and it only affirmed my total rapture with her voice and music. 2002 also gave us Tabla Beat Science Live and a chance to hear her showcased in a live setting. I'm eagerly awaiting her next full length release which should be out sometime this year hopefully!

In the meantime, we'll have to whet our appetites with Illuminated Audio, a remix album by Bill Laswell, made at the suggestion of Palm's Chris Blackwell. An admirable piece of re-engineering, re-layering, re-thinking, & re-interpreting from the producer-bassist-artistic-visionary-extraordinaire that he is. Laswell unleashes an entirely new transformation to the original music and vibe, creating a swirling and mystical ambient entity that stands on its own.

This is something you can sit back and chill to while still nodding your head. The mistress's voice weaves in and out through the brew...but as an afterthought it seems at times. Personally, I'd have preferred more Gigi in my cup of yirgacheffe. Have a taste and see how it suits you.

4 out of 5

biz (courtesy of


Are you looking for that perfect after-hours chill out album to help you come down from a night of clubbing? Or perhaps you just want a refreshing new listening experience? Look no further, here's the perfect ambient chill-out album and it's Gigi's -"Illuminated Audio."

Produced by music industry veteran Bill Laswell (who has produced noted interpretations of such icons as Mile Daves, Bob Marley, and Carlos Santana), "Illuminated Audio" is a fusion of musical styles and technology. Consisting of 10 continuously mixed tracks, and released on the Palm Pictures, LLC, label, "Illuminated Audio" is a blend of ethnic textures, progressive rhythms, and surreal vocal samples provided by twenty-nine year old Ethiopian multi-octave vocalist Gigi. The result is a seamless listening experience that is not only beautiful, but fantastic at the same time.

When Gigi, an artist from Ethiopia, and Bill Laswell collaborated on "Illuminated Audio," the result is this perfect fusion of ethnic instrumentation, funk, jazz, and global grooves. "Illuminated Audio" is a complete reconstruction of Gig's debut album. Dubmaster Bill Laswell has expanded the aural possibilities of Gigi by adding additional instrumentation (NO new instruments were added -- Dave), as well as remixing new versions.

There is a definite progression of music styles as the album plays, almost like the UK group Moodswings, whose albums take you on a definitive path while morphing from one theme to another. The same is true for "Illuminated Audio." There is enough stuff going on in this album, that the music never becomes too repetitive or boring. You will find yourself caught up in the ever changing emotions and flowing of the music. Overall an excellent offering from a Gigi and Bill Laswell.

Gigi is currently at work on her second album of original material and is once again working with producer Bill Laswell and long-time collaborator Karsh Kale. The new material focuses heavily on a unique mix of traditional Ethiopian and Western stringed instruments. In addition, Gigi will be performing a series of live dates with Laswell's celebrated live project Tabla Beat Science in 2003.

5 out of 5

Chuck Campbell (courtesy of