Circles in a Square Society

Boi Akih is presented here as a quartet. They are joined by the creative trombonist Wolter Wierbos and drummer Kim Weemhoff. Their new album Circles in a Square Society takes full advantage of the diversity and personal sound of the musicians. They inventively give their own musical and textual twist to their own music and songs from such musicians as Jimi Hendrix, David Crosby and Bob Marley.

review excerpts

We hear classics from Joni Mitchel, Jimi Hendrix, David Crosby and Neil Young, peerlessly transformed into masterpieces. Guitarist Niels Brouwer (the unmistakable centre of the group) plays ‘past the melody’ in a type of ‘continuous’ improvisation, and so prickles the listener. Using this approach he transforms the pieces – so inventively, so playfully and ingeniously – into new music, over which the original melody sometimes floats like a watermark. The same sort of thing applies to singer Monica Akihary: she touches the soul of the melody and with that the soul of the listener. We’re taken on a journey to the pop music of the 70’s and 80’s brought back to its musical essence. (Mattie Poels

BOI AKIH, based around the singer Monica Akihary, does an alternative take on a number of bluesier numbers, including Hendrix and David Crosby. Her guitarist Niels Brouwer has a fascinating guitar including sympathetically-resonant strings. Yedo Gibson, a saxophonist who was for some time part of the London Improvisers Orchestra circle, provided some striking interplay on saxophones. In attitude, rather than in particular sound, I was reminded of Christine Tobin’s work – arrangements that they make you reassess and give you a version which matches and even, at times, exceeds the originals. ( London Jazz news June 2013)

On their earlier albums, this duo have done beautiful songs with a mix of Indonesian traditional music and European jazz. No doubt that the two of them have rare qualities as musicians. On “Circles in a Square Society” they do a handful of tunes by Brouwer that pleases the ear. However, it is the ´Standards´ that are really exceptional. When… Akihary can be heard- clear and pure, it is simply superb ‘. (Jan Granlie, Jazznytt 3:2012)

Monica Akihary: voice
Niels Brouwer: guitars
Wolter Wierbos: trombone
Kim Weemhoff: drums