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The Givers Deliver

by Erin Z. Bass

It started with an EP of five songs, followed by an invitation to open for Brooklyn band the Dirty Projectors during their fall tour. Then came inclusion in NPR’s “All Songs Considered.” Now, The Givers are working on their first full-length album. And did we mention they’re barely old enough to drink?

I first saw The Givers perform at Lafayette’s benefit concert for Haiti. They took the stage at Parc International as the first act of the day. It was about 2 p.m., and the sky was dark and cloudy. But when they started playing, African, Caribbean and pop sounds floated out into the crowd, a beautiful voice emerged from Tiffany Lamson, and the approaching storm was forgotten. The band’s MySpace page describes the experience as “sounds that gather together melodically and electronically bent forms of African, folk and pop music, but send them underwater, where they are refracted with light and space, changing the overall shape and texture into something refreshingly new, yet at the same time, familiar.”

The familiar could come from the fact that you’ve probably seen these musicians before. This isn’t their first band. Guitarist Taylor Guarisco used to turn up at events and gigs around town as part of a funk band with a great sax player and heavy vocals, but no official name, and has also played with Feufollet. And Lamson, who grew up playing music in her dad’s church, has sat in with numerous bands in Lafayette and New Orleans, including Dire Wood, The Board and Rotary Downs.

Currently recording their first full-length album at Dockside Studios in Maurice, The Givers also have a full schedule of shows through March. Check their blog for dates to find out when they’ll be in your town. They return to the area for shows in Houston, Austin, Shreveport, New Orleans and Lafayette, before landing at SXSW March 18-20. The Givers are also included in the Festival International lineup in Lafayette the last weekend of April.

To hear their music and the extremely catchy song, “Saw You First,” check out their MySpace page and NPR’s “All Songs Considered.” You have to admit the opening could be mistaken for Vampire Weekend, but there’s no question that The Givers have carved out their own unique sound among the Cajun and Zydeco music of South Louisiana.

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