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Azure Ray returns to the Mill

BY SAMANTHA GENTRY | NOVEMBER 04, 2010 7:20 AM

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After performing for several years, Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor have discovered which alcoholic drink is best is for their voices. Before taking the stage, Fink drinks a Heineken, then takes a shot of Jameson with a lemon, while Taylor drinks red wine.

Together, Fink and Taylor form the band Azure Ray. The duo will play at 7 p.m. today at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St. Admission is $12 at the door, $10 in advance.

Originally from Birmingham, Ala., Azure Ray began in 2000. Taylor and Fink met in high school at the Alabama School of Fine Arts.

“Maria was a ballet major, and I was a theater major,” Fink said. “Then we both decided that we wanted to sing instead of [pursuing] our intended majors.”

Both Fink and Taylor play the guitar and sing; they can also play the keyboard. Fink likes to call them “multi-instrumental.”

When Azure Ray recorded its first album, the members didn’t have a name.

“Maria thought of the name Blue Light,” Fink said. “From there, the recording producer used that to come up with the name Azure Ray.”

Taylor and Fink think being a female duo sets them apart from other bands. And Taylor also believes they bring a new perspective on life through their music.

“Our music has been described by fans as whisper-core,” Fink said, joking. “But I’d like to consider our music pop.”

Whisper-core is a type of music in which performers sing very quietly but still have the emotional intensity as if they were singing louder, Fink said.

The band’s most recent album, Drawing Down the Moon, is the first record the duo has produced in seven years; it is the fifth album of the group’s career.

Azure Ray is known for bittersweet and melancholy music, and Fink considers Drawing Down the Moon to be the perfect addition to the band’s harmonious music.

Tonight at Gabe’s, Azure Ray will not only play from Drawing Down the Moon, it will also play songs from previous records.

Before taking a break from performing, Azure Ray played in numerous cities across the country as well as in Europe. That monthlong tour took the band to such countries as Germany, France, and Italy.

Though Azure Ray has traveled to many countries, Fink jokes that she doesn’t remember most of the performances. But Taylor has one particular moment that sticks out in her mind — the moment a man in the front row had a seizure and halted the show.

“Only after we knew he was OK, we started playing again,” she said.

Even though things have changed in the six years since Azure Ray has toured, Fink said the dynamics are still the same.

“We’re having a great time,” she said. “We have a great crew, and it just feels great to be performing again.”


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