With their third studio LP III, Imam Balidi take the music of their native Greece and transform it with modern popular music tricks and conventions, to a wildly fun effect.
With a bouzouki placed front and center on its cover, III is undoubtedly a Greek album. Combined of "two brothers, a seducing female vocalist, a crowd-engaging MC, and three virtuosi on the bouzouki, saxophone, and electric guitar", the Athens band Imam Baildi take the music of Greece in inventive and undeniably fun directions with III. From the opening spy film soundtrack number "The Rider" to the swanky hip-hop of "Mistirio", III is true world music: rooted in the unique traditions of a specific culture while being unafraid to embrace a wide range of styles from all across the globe.
Imam Baildi tells PopMatters about the LP, "A band's third album is always a milestone. We chose III as the title to keep this in mind while producing the music. In it there are bits of our older and newer musical selves: sample - based tracks like 'Argosvinis Moni'; tracks that depict how old Greek melodies make us feel, like 'The Rider'; songs played by our band that has matured over the years, like 'Mourmoura'; and tracks with music and lyrics that we wrote now but strived to make them sound older, like 'Simioma'. For us, each of these aspects is equally full of emotions. We hope it is the same for you too."
III is out via The End on 16 June (iTunes preorder).
The band will play at Divan du Monde in Paris on 2 July.