(01 February 2003) The debut album from Nanyana is a twelve-track self-titled and self-released project. The band, fronted by the singer of the same name, is based in Atlanta, GA. We've been listening to their CD since November 2002 and found their sound to be somewhat reminscent of November Project (review) primarily from the vocal similarity of Nanyana to Maryanne Marino.
Nanyana blend jazz, funk rock and blues into their sound. The band is high energy and their album has been professionally arranged, mixed and mastered. Vocals are evocative and powerful with lush layered harmonies that contribute a lovely texture. But Nanyana's lead vocals are powerful and wide ranging. Keyboards perfectly compliment the guitar work and crisp percussion provides a rhythmic edge to the material. In addition to the guitar, keyboard and percussion bits, the band has occasional saxophone parts that add to the jazzy edge they develop.
About the Vocalist. Nanyana Summer has been crooning as long as she can remember. As a child, she locked herself in her room to listen to music and express her young inquisitive thoughts in poetry. With her Pops in the military, Summer's family traveled quite a bit. On road trips, he would pop in Sade cassettes; and Mom (who is from Thailand) sometimes threw in her favorite Thai jams.
At age eleven, Summer started writing songs with a neighborhood girl group, and at fifteen, she taught herself to play guitar. Her main influences (other than Sade) were Chris Cornell, 311, Stone Temple Pilots, Jamiroquai and Sarah Vaughn. Nanyana loves the deep lyrics and amazing vocals of Chris Cornell and Sade. Jamiroquai inspires the desire to be free in the funk, and Sarah Vaughn draws out the soul to sing like an angel.
Nanyana's aggressive side relates to the groove and metal of 311 and STP. When asked, she laughs, remembering her younger Rock-N-Roll days in Atlanta hanging out with the former Atlanta band Stuck Mojo, where she had a bit part in their "Pig Walk" video.
Summer eventually had an opportunity to co-write with Arrested Development's own Speech Thomas and is grateful for the advice and encouragement she has received from him. She is also extremely grateful for what she has in her band-mates.
"There is such a tremendous amount of talent in these guys. I love the diversity contained in our sound. Each song holds the flavor of all our favorite avenues of music. We all come from different aspects of life, yet are unified by our love to create music."
Highlights. We were immediately drawn to a few of the album's standouts. These include the very November Project-sounding tune "1000 Miles Away" with its rocking beat and lovely vocal harmonies. We were equally inspired by the progressive rocker tune "Falling" with its sweeping instrumentals, crisp percussion, vast tempo changes and the lushest and widest ranging vocal arrangement--listen for the lovely harmonies--on the album. It must be something to see performed live.
Nanyana's vocal power continues in the rhythmic track "Limbo," a moody track that shows the band's instrumental, especially guitar licks, prowess as well. "Somthing About You" is a rapidfire and storming rocker; listen for the vibrato in Nanyana's voice and the rich keyboards and vocal harmonies that underscore the guitar-based arrangement. "Who's To Blame" is equally evocative; a down-tempo ballad-like track, the whispy vocals show yet another dimension of their lead vocalist. The album concludes with the jazzy but orchestral ballad "You Loving Me." Listen for the superb piano solo during the instrumental bridge
The album is available from the band's website. Click on the image top left to point your browser there. There are twelve eclectic tracks included. Vocally dramatic and instrumentally rich, this debut album is worth a journey--check it out!