Beirut is Zach Condon, Santa Fe native and young'n of merely 20 years. Although Zach has released albums in years before, most notably under the name "Real People," it was not until 2006 that Beirut was birthed. Heavily influenced by Balkan gypsy music, Beirut's key instruments include the trumpet, ukelele, glockenspiel, mandolin, and accordion. It's not the most typical instrumental package, but then again, Zach does not have the most typical voice. Reminiscent of Tim Smith from Midlake, Zach sings in a lazily hypnotic manner. Smooth, relaxed, and soothing, Zach's voice is the perfect complement to his gypsy, folksy style of music.
A one-man band is never truly a one-man band. Zach's first album release of 2006, Gulag Orkestar, was assisted by both Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost of A Hawk and a Hacksaw (you might know Jeremy a little better as the drummer of Neutral Milk Hotel). Furthermore, his live performances always contain a rotating group of twelve (!) talented individuals taking hold of the various instruments of his "orkestar" while Zach sings, more often than not with trumpet in hand.
I'd love to see him live, but unfortunately, Beirut's entire tour was cancelled. Zach was actually hospitalized in November for "extreme exhaustion." Not surprising considering his bandmates alone could form an entire baseball team. However, there is an EP coming out on February 6 of this year, entitled Lon Gislan. Keep an eye and an ear out, and Zach, I hope you're feeling better.
mp3 Elephant Gun
mp3 Scenic World
mp3 Postcards from Italy
Beirut's Official site