Banda Magda: Bubbly French Summer Bossa-Pop

Written by

Recently, I received an album with a curious cover image by the group, Banda Magda. On it, a woman in a detective’s coat holds a camera flash for a man in a suit, who sports a tiger mask while holding an old-fashioned camera in his hands. The title, Amour T’es là, translates as “Love, Are You There?” The subtitle, which reads “Exploring New Sounds in French” made me think I was in for some kind of French lesson.

Magda of Banda Magda is Magda Giannikou, a Greek composer, soundtrack writer, accordionist and vocalist originally from Athens. A graduate of the Berklee School of Music in Boston, which has turned out nearly every good jazz player over the past 50 years, Giannikou is adept at many styles of music: chanson, contemporary French pop, and Brazilian bossa nova. Together, the now New York-based band is like a small musical United Nations with jazz guitarist Ignacio Hernandez and fellow Argentines Andrés Rotmistrovsky on bass and Marcelo Woloski on percussion. Also on percussion and drums is Keita Ogawa from Nagasaki, Japan.

Banda Magda’s sound is fresh and retro-hip cool, but not in a contrived way. The musicianship is top-knotch, and the songs are well-composed. Amour T’es là is a great soundtrack to carry you through summer, so give it a listen. I count myself a fan. Hopefully the group will tour soon.

In the meantime, you can check out these two Banda Magda clips. They’re both of the title track off Amour T’es là, which I featured last week on Rhythm Planet. Both versions are irresistible. First, watch the official music video, followed by a recording of a live in-studio of the same track.