Concert Review: Ajinai, JOOJ, July 26, Silver Dollar

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With their incorporation of traditional Mongolian sounds and instruments into a more typical rock band configuration, Beijing band Ajinai blend the traditional and the modern. The band is currently wrapping up a Canadian tour that has taken them to the Vancouver Folk Festival and Guelph’s Hillside Festival as a part of something called “the 2015-2016 China-Canada Year of People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges.” I’ve never heard of that before, but I’m all for it if said cultural exchanges can bring us something as enjoyable as Ajinai’s set at the Silver Dollar.

Following an impressive opening set by JOOJ, Sook-Yin Lee and Adam Litovitz’s minimal electro torch song project, Ajinai took to the stage, opening things up with an instrumental number that locked into a bit of a post-rock groove. As they progressed through their set, they introduced more and more traditional sounds and instruments into the mix, including the morin khuur and some throat singing, but also took the time to throw a bit of ska and some blues influence in there as well.

Perhaps inspired by their recent visit to Hillside, which likes to throw their performers into jammy workshops with other acts that they’ve often just met, Ajinai closed things out by inviting Sook-Yin Lee up to jam with them. I’m pretty sure that meets the criteria for a successful cultural exchange right there.

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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