Before Giolì & Assia: 5 of Giolì’s Early Solo Tracks

John Cameron

3 min read

Before Giolì & Assia: 5 of Giolì’s Early Solo Tracks

You would be hard-pressed to find a dance music fan who isn’t familiar with Giolì & Assia nowadays. Once upon a time, however, Giorgia “Giolì” Lipari worked as a solo artist, with Assia Ninia simply representing her as manager.

Before the celebrated duo fell madly in love and found their enchanting fusion of light and dark, techno and house, pop and indie dance, Giolì delivered nonetheless compelling soundscapes. Her signature handpan performances feature heavily in her early work, complemented by deep, progressive overtones made more accessible through radio-friendly song structures.

It’s safe to say Giolì’s solo releases laid the foundation for the worldwide phenomenon that is Giolì & Assia. The following five tracks defined her early music before Assia became a crucial part of the equation.

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1. Istanbul

Giolì "Istanbul" (Official video)

Giolì delivered “Istanbul” via Italian label Claw Records while Assia worked as her manager and photographer. Key hallmarks of the Giolì & Assia style can be heard in this world music-influenced release.

Underscoring an intoxicating vocal is a handpan rhythm delivered by Giolì accompanied by a dance floor-ready rave piano lead. Around the 1:40 mark, the handpan transitions into higher notes that harmonize sublimely with the other melodies.

2. Heji Yah

Giolì - Heji Yah (Official Video)

It didn’t take long for Giolì & Assia to realize that they were meant to work more closely with one another. In 2016 they launched their own label, Diesis Records, allowing Giolì to explore her budding sound free from inhibition.

The debut release on Diesis Records was the young multi-instrumentalist’s upbeat single, “Heji Yah.” Accompanying the progressive house-tinged track was a music video featuring the dance moves of Kendra “K.O” Willis.

3. Hypnos’s Call

Giolì - Hypnos's Call (Official Video) - Handpan

“Hypnos’s Call” further proved the versatility of the style Giolì had developed over the years. It featured one of her signature handpan performances — but additional elements set it apart from the budding starlet’s previous releases.

A distorted electric guitar solo croons overhead throughout the arrangement, invigorating the composition with a soulful longing. Bright vocal chops round out the concept, bringing a modern touch to the timeless instrumentals carrying the track.

4. Reverse (Instrumental)

Giolì - Reverse (Instrumental) - Handpan

By now, you’re likely noticing a recurring trend throughout Giolì’s discography: handpan performances. “Reverse” allowed her to truly show her skills with the instrument by placing it center stage in the arrangement.

Little more than tranquil atmospheres and a straightforward drum pattern accompany the handpan recording in “Reverse.” This allows Giolì to build complex melodies suffused with vibrant harmonies in a soundscape that demonstrates her talent as an instrumentalist.

5. Echo of the woods

Giolì - Echo of the woods (Official Video) - Handpan

Giolì’s most popular track prior to launching her celebrated duo project alongside Assia is undoubtedly “Echo of the woods.” At the time of writing, it has amassed over 4.2 million streams on Spotify and more than 1.7 million plays on YouTube.

It’s not hard to see why. Another one of — you guessed it — Giolì’s signature handpan performances takes the listener through an emotive yet satisfying chord progression. Accompanied by a video of Giolì delivering the instrumental in a lush forest setting, it garnered significant attention at a time when the Giolì & Assia project was merely a glimmer in either artist’s eye.

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