New Year’s Day 2012 symbolizes another brand new beginning for everyone. Knowing this, I can assure you many artists are beginning, or are contemplating their new albums for 2012. As the year progresses, it will be a privilege to keep you informed about the best new age music albums with my review and interview publications.
Hello everyone, my name is John P. Olsen. In my role as review publicist and site host for New Age Music World, I have sampled some of the best new age songs and albums music artists worldwide have produced last year. Like previous years, I have had the opportunity to write review publications for a proportionate number of the best new albums released in 2011. Today I am pleased to present my recommendation for the 12 best new age music albums I have sampled or reviewed in 2011.
When it comes to new age music, I can tell you many of the popular artists I write about have produced some of the best new age music to date! For me, it takes only a moment to recall the collective number of excellent new releases public relations persons, music promoters, and new age artists sent to me for a review during 2011.
While true I couldn’t review every CD or MP3 album from 2011, I have listened to every release sent to me and many more, so I am confident of my assessment in regards to the overall quality artists have produced this past year. In fact I am certain most, if not every new age promoter and review publicist would express a similar, if not identical viewpoint.
Every artist has given their best in 2011, and so begins the process of determining who will win the various best album awards by high profile organizations like the GRAMMYS® or Billboard magazine.
Finding the best new age albums for your listening experience is even easier in 2012, thanks to the internet and online stores like Amazon and iTunes, where you have easy access to sample or purchase your favorite music in either CD album or MP3 formats. Similarly, online internet radio and television radio stations make finding new music you can call your favorite a relatively easy task.
The GRAMMY® Awards, Billboard Charts, Independent Music Awards or Zone Music Reporter is a great source for discovering some of the most popular music available today.
Regardless of whether a top album award is determined by voting members, album sales, popular choice, online radio airtime or broadcaster votes, each organization is an excellent source to discover some of the best new music available.
Likewise, I am confident you will find some of my January 1, 2012 recommendations made today about the best albums from 2011 will be included in various top album awards ceremonies later this year.
My Best New Age Music Albums in 2011 recommendation is listed in alphabetical order of the artist tags at my site, using each artist’s first name. If you are interested in finding popular music from some of today’s top artists, my 12 best albums publication includes direct links so you may sample or purchase my music recommendations at the artist’s website or on their music page at Amazon.com.
Best New Age Music Albums 2011;
1. Damayanti by 2002.
Damayanti is the newest release from 2002 featuring 10 celestial song melodies in the graceful style only 2002 can produce. You can tell the beautiful songs on this quality orchestration is a 2002 production, but this is a compliment about 2002, who made the list of top new age artists in Billboard Magazine’s Year in Review, December 2003 issue.
Damayanti does embrace a magnificent change in tonal atmosphere from earlier albums, and supports the cinematic aspects of their work that have made every one of 2002’s music releases special. Based on a legendary love story, Damayanti features instrumentals of Randy Copus performing piano, electric cello, lead guitar and bass guitar.
Pamela Copus performs flutes, harp, keyboards and a WX5 wind instrument. Their young daughter Sarah Copus sang some vocals on Damayanti, and I read Sarah is again going to be a vocalist on the new album from 2002 entitled Believe.
The heart and spirit of 2002, Randy and Pamela Copus are nearing a significant milestone in their music careers by a forthcoming 20 year anniversary as the award winning, 2002 music duo. After having charted at Billboard with 9 of their albums, and sharing the limelight at Billboard as equals with artists like Enya, Mannheim Steamroller, Jim Brickman and Yanni, Randy and Pamela Copus of 2002, truly do have many reasons to give pause, reflect, and celebrate their 20th year as esteemed new age artists.
2. And Love Rages On! – by AOMusic.
And Love Rages On! – by AOMusic is a brilliant world fusion release with 9 colorful songs of instrumentals and vocals. AOMusic shares a genuine message of unity on their 2011 release with an album title proclaiming – and Love Rages On! It is on this very unique release where ethnic harmonies of children and boys choirs from four continents are united with superb world music rhythms and contemporary instrumentals.
The principal members of AOMusic are Richard Gannaway, Jay Oliver, and lead singer Miriam Stockly. Founding artist Richard Gannaway sings vocals and plays stringed instruments. Jay Oliver performs keyboards and synthesizers. Miriam Stockly is a beautiful vocalist in – and Love Rages On!
During the combined careers of the three artists, they have worked with popular groups like; Sheryl Crow, The Eagles, Queen, George Michael, Jimmy Buffett, Celine Dion, Bonnie Raitt, and Tina Turner. This all-star celebrity lineup is a partial list, but it does give you an idea of the high level of quality Richard, Jay, and Miriam are recognized for.
The children and boys choirs featured on And Love Rages On! – are youth choirs from Africa, America, China and the People’s Republic of Georgia. Additional key members are Sandeep Chowta who plays Indian flute tracks, and regular contributing artists Andy Georges (strings), George Bernardo (percussion), and Doug Lunn (bass guitar).
Integrating world fusion music with lively world-beat rhythms and select children’s choirs from four continents, the heartfelt singing by children from varying countries have helped unify and transform this exclusive world fusion release into something very special!
3. Autumn Sky by Blackmore’s Night.
Autumn Sky is a new album from the legendary renaissance inspired new age and folk Rock touring band Blackmore’s Night. Debuting at #1 on Billboard’s New Age Chart, Autumn Sky has 15 classic songs of Blackmore’s Night best music to date. Traditional instruments of keyboards, violin, woodwinds, acoustic and electric guitars are integrated with hurdy-gurdy, mandolin, vintage instruments, and elegant vocals by Candice Night.
Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night are GRAMMY® nominated artists who are the core essence of Blackmore’s Night. Autumn Sky serves as a platform to accentuate Cadence Night’s talents as a vocalist, along with ancient and modern instrumental fanfare for which this group has become internationally famous.
The entire seven member troupe of Blackmore’s Night performs in dramatic fashion by wearing renaissance attire during their popular concerts, fairs, and festival events.
The international success for Blackmore’s Night is truly impressive. The elite musical focus they have engraved for themselves has resulted in an enormous following in North America, South America, Europe and Japan. Their melodies have gained crossover prosperity by the enchanting lyrical vocals and fascinating instrumental music that often contain the metrical structure of music dating back to the seventeenth century.
Blackmore’s Night is a true champion by their consistent ability to create transcending music that varies with every new album they have produced. This bold renaissance inspired band which transports progressive music into contemporary times is a model for success, past, present and future. Blackmore’s Night fans will be pleased to know Ritchie and Candice are working on a follow-up album to Autumn Sky.
4. Reflections by Candice Night.
The Reflections album is an excellent solo release from Candice Night, lead vocalist of the legendary renaissance inspired new age and folk rock touring band Blackmore’s Night. Candice Night’s worldwide presence as the popular lead singer and songwriter for Blackmore’s Night has proven to be the perfect overture for her exclusive solo release.
GRAMMY® nominated Candice Night, who is the recipient of numerous gold records and prestigious awards, along with husband Ritchie Blackmore, find musical inspiration from the beauty of nature. You will find Candice Night’s vocal and lyrical point of view is even more a focus of attention on Reflections.
Candice Night’s new solo album, made of her own creation is popular music produced in a more contemporary, crossover theme from the renaissance motif of Blackmore’s Night. One constant characteristic of her solo release is her incomparable vocal and lyrical qualities, which turn out to be an expert expression throughout her first new release.
One cannot talk about Candice Night without pointing out her leading role as singer in the forefront on Blackmore’s Night albums. The songs on Reflections are diverse in many ways from the renaissance themed Blackmore’s Night albums as one would expect.
Best of all, Reflections reveals another aspect of Candice Night, and her many talents for producing popular crossover music in a contemporary theme you are sure to love. Candice Night’s Reflections is an online radio favorite worldwide, and Reflections made #4 at Zone Music Reporter’s Top 100 Chart during the month of October, 2011.
5. Echoes of Creation by David Arkenstone.
Echoes of Creation is a masterful 10 song soundtrack from the award winning instrumental composer David Arkenstone. On Echoes of Creation, the three times GRAMMY® nominated musician David Arkenstone teamed up with Emmy Award winning film director Jan Nickman. The inspiring nature film by Jan Nickman, in unison with David Arkenstone’s magnificent instrumental soundtrack is an absolute masterpiece!
Diverse in his song writing aptitude, David Arkenstone, and his always popular music collection is an array of ambient, Celtic, contemporary instrumental, world, electronic, and new age fusion.
It is this unique characteristic of David Arkenstone’s ingenious songwriting abilities and extensive discography which practically guarantees there is a favorite album for just about everyone, including Echoes of Creation.
Many of you may have watched the televised Echoes of Creation film and soundtrack since the film aired nationwide on Public Broadcasting Stations (PBS) in 2011. In this case, the Echoes of Creation soundtrack is a beautifully articulated cinematic music score I am certain nearly everyone will appreciate.
David Arkenstone’s popularity as a favorite artist is apparent when you consider he has sold over one million albums, and has been listed in the Top 10 Billboard New Age charts twenty times. It is clear David Arkenstone was the perfect choice for Jan Nickman’s nature inspired film. The collection of songs on Echoes of Creation is a sure winner, and an easy decision to make in my best new age albums recommendation.
6. Groove Tribe by David & Steve Gordon.
Groove Tribe is the Gordon Brother’s new groove/chill out album featuring 11 songs in a vibrant blend of electronic music with ethnic percussion rhythms miles apart from many other forms of multicultural world music. Featuring electronic groove and chill out music with world drums and musical instruments, each of the 11 songs on Groove Tribe convey the relaxing yet vibrant trademark quality in which David and Steve Gordon are famous.
David and Steve Gordon are two prominent names people identify as one of the most prolific music team in today’s international music scene. After founding their esteemed Sequoia Records label 28 years ago, the award winning Gordon Brothers have earned the reputation of legendary music producers.
Groove Tribe has the calming metrical rhythms and vibrant electronic harmonies that keep the Gordon brothers in the forefront of new age and world music styles. It likewise highlights their ability to fashion a wide selection of popular music in a variety of sub-genres. The Gordon brother’s new album is an exotic assortment of smooth song melodies in step with ethnic percussion rhythms so it’s no wonder the songs on Groove Tribe are presently a bestselling choice for many people.
David and Steve Gordon’s compilation albums are another significant component of their work together during their role as award winning DJs, which showcase top artists from around the globe. Selecting the best international talents, top quality artists on Sequoia Record’s playlist lineup can be found on many of the Gordon Brother’s compilation releases.
7. Songs From Before by Fionnuala Sherry.
Songs From Before is Fionnuala Sherry’s first solo release, and her personal revision on some of Ireland’s most beloved melodies. Born of Irish heritage, Fionnuala Sherry is an extraordinary violinist extensively known as the fairer side of the internationally acclaimed music duo Secret Garden.
Songs From Before is a contemporary instrumental album with 10 songs, including some previously unreleased original compositions that highlight her expertise as a professional violinist and vocalist. Her solo release became an instant success, and was chosen #3 in the Top 25 at Echoes in August 2011.
Fionnuala Sherry’s solo release Songs From Before in entirety is a moving experience and inspirational beacon showing her in a new light, yet remains true to character in regards to the remarkable violin melodies for which she is famous.
The overall sound quality on Songs From Before is rich and opulent, uplifting at one moment to deeply poignant in another. I felt every song has an elegant tenor of sophistication and depth without being overly classical. Fionnuala’s modern revisions of Irish song melodies capture traditional moments with new-found charm and charisma. Fionnuala Sherry is a longtime RTE Concert Orchestra member, and has performed with top artists including The Chieftains, Sinead O’Connor and Bono of U2 fame.
While Fionnuala Sherry’s fame and success as a partner with Norwegian composer and pianist Rolf Løvland of Secret Garden has earned them admiration by millions of people as a music team, Fionnuala Sherry can claim a brilliant success of her own by the release of her first solo album Songs From Before. Rolf and Fionnuala together have a beautiful new Secret Garden album entitled Winter Poem.
8. Spectrum by Hennie Bekker.
Spectrum is a wonderful collection of 14 songs pointing to the diverse abilities of a world-class musician. Spectrum is a relaxing album that accents the entire range and variety of award winning Hennie Bekker. The highly prolific Bekker has composed and produced over 60 albums, and over a thousand compositions and collaborations.
Hennie Bekker is a multi-platinum artist who has spent his entire music career exploring a wide array of genres, from new age, electronic, world music, and acclaimed nature soundscape albums. His work with Dan Gibson’s Solitudes – Exploring Nature with Music series was so popular the albums achieved gold, platinum, double and triple platinum status.
Hennie Bekker is also one of three leading members of the techno/dance group BKS. The group BKS won a prestigious Juno Award from the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), which is the equivalent to an American GRAMMY® award. You can include film scores, television and radio recordings in his long list of achievements as a musician. Presently, Spectrum is the #1 album in Zone Music Reporter’s Top 100 Chart for November 2011.
Spectrum – An Anthology Of Relaxing Instrumental Music is like a “best of Hennie Bekker album” by the wide range of melodic songs on this impressive album. Of the 14 songs total, eleven songs are recordings selected out of his rather extensive music collection. Hennie Bekker from Canada, who was born and raised in Africa and lived in England, brings a world of experience to his music. Take a minute to sample Spectrum, and the world-class music of Hennie Bekker.
9. Survival & Other Stories by Jon Anderson.
Survival & Other Stories is a concept album from music celebrity Jon Anderson, former front man, and lead vocalist of the group YES. The concept album has a collection of 11 songs of wonderful orchestrations unified with Jon Anderson’s heartfelt vocal energies, beautifully articulated as optimistic, upbeat and positive.
Jon Anderson’s influence and starring role in music over five decades is legendary. One can say Jon’s divine voice and lyrical message is an unforgettable story people want to hear.
It is estimated over 38 million albums were sold during his years as the dynamic lead vocalist with YES, and his successful solo career to date. Entertaining millions of people during his lengthy career, Jon Anderson without a doubt has a wonderful story to share with the world.
Jon Anderson began the concept for Survival & Other Stories after he nearly perished from a serious illness. This unique project began to take shape after his recovery. It was during this time period when Jon published a written message on his website inviting artists to submit their music for his new Survival & Other Stories project.
Select musicians from all corners of the world sent their ethnic music over the internet for consideration, and the genesis of something beautiful was born. Jon then mixed, composed, and co-produced with wife Jane Anderson, the first of three concept albums.
While Jon Anderson will always be recognized as the legendary lead singer and key lyricist of the progressive rock band YES, Jon Anderson’s prolific music career continues to be as inspiring and significant today as it was yesteryear. Jon has been performing concert tours with former YES member, and acclaimed keyboardist Rick Wakeman, in support of their live album The Living Tree in Concert Part 1. Jon is also on tour with numerous live solo concerts scheduled for 2012.
Visit jonanderson.com to sample or purchase Survival & Other Stories by Jon Anderson, or you can find at Amazon.com. Read our interview together and my album review for Survival & Other Stories on my pages for Jon Anderson.
10. Unconditional by Marc Enfroy.
Unconditional is a cinematic piano release from pianist Marc Enfroy featuring 10 classic songs. Award winning pianist Marc Enfroy created Unconditional in a partnership with Randy and Pamela Copus of 2002, who are another award winning, Billboard Charting band. Unconditional is a passionate musical portrait by the beautiful union of contemporary instrumentals and piano music.
Marc Enfroy’s new release from 2011 is an innovative contemporary instrumental release that was bound to be a success right from its conception. It’s a newly born sound creation you are sure to love.
The attributes of Unconditional are best defined by the fine piano performance from Marc, unified with beautiful performances of flute, strings, bell tones and chorales. Produced by Randy Copus of 2002, Pamela Copus sings vocals, and Jack Chen plays flute, in an exclusive fusion of professional talents.
Marc Enfroy’s music career first emerged after the death of his sister Suzanne Whiting to cancer, but it was from the profound loss of his sister his progressive music legacy arose.
Finding inspiration in memory of Suzanne, Marc proceeded to compose music for the senses, and as it turns out, Marc Enfroy indeed has the natural gift of a true artisan. Empowered by design to take flight, the uplifting composition of inspiring song melodies on Unconditional is the ultimate music experience to celebrate life.
11. Winter Poem by Secret Garden.
Winter Poem is an exciting new release from Secret Garden. The fabulous lineup of 11 songs on Winter Poem is made up of original arrangements from Rolf Løvland. Featuring professional violinist Fionnual Sherry, the mainly vocal instrumental release includes the award-winning Expo Suite Rolf composed for the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai China.
Norwegian composer Rolf Løvland and Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry of Secret Garden are a successful music team who has sold over four million albums. Along with the 1995 Eurovision Song Contest award, they have performed before thousands of people worldwide at live concerts covering many countries.
On Winter Poems, Secret Garden preserves their signature sound that has made them an international success, but they have taken a fresh approach on their newest composition by featuring special guest musicians. The outstanding Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry is happily the centerpiece artist, plus Secret Garden’s vibrant new release is special by the inclusion of exceptional Norwegian and Irish musicians.
One guest is dynamic vocalist Moya Brennan from Celtic group Clannad, who sings on song The Dream. Guest vocalist Fionnuala Gill sings on song Mary’s Lament, while Tracey Campbell and Espen Grjotheim perform on song Powered By Nature. Winter Poem also features instrumentals by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. Popular music given by a popular music duo is a good indication that you will love every verse of Winter Poem. Secret Garden recently completed a live concert tour in Norway.
12. Truth Of Touch by Yanni.
Truth Of Touch is a passionate reflection of what Yanni does best, which is to create personal interaction with an audience through his extraordinary music abilities. Famous for his exceptional live concert performances, this time around Yanni’s social interaction is shared with his fans by virtue of his magnificent studio version of 15 songs. The hour long symphony of refined music harmony is an original composition, and fascinating expression from the international superstar Yanni, and his select orchestra.
Yanni is conceivably the greatest influential musician of our time, and Yanni’s exceptional abilities as a gifted composer and keyboardist by are by themselves a true testament to his universal appeal.
When taking into consideration the extraordinary artists and vocalists by his side, the collective inspiration pay tribute to a universal, heartfelt music experience. On Yanni’s Truth Of Touch album the energy and excitement of their performance is palpable.
Yanni – Live at the Acropolis began his historic rise to stardom, and it may have been the first venue where many of you witnessed Yanni’s grand entrance onto the world stage. It is estimated over 500 million people from 65 countries have viewed this top public television fundraising program for the American Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) alone. Yanni – Live at the Acropolis alone to date has sold 7 million copies worldwide.
Truth Of Touch is an sensational studio composition of pure refinement. The phenomenal caliber of musicians Yanni enlisted on Truth Of Touch is boldly demonstrated on what I feel is Yanni’s greatest electronic and instrumental music composition to date. Yes, we have heard many exceptional new albums and songs in 2011 from a variety of artists, and what better way to close than by recommending one of the best new 2011 albums produced by one of the world’s most exciting international concert artists we identify simply as Yanni.
This concludes my Best New Age Albums in 2011 recommendations. Later in 2012, I plan to write several feature publications about the various best new age album awards presented by high profile music organizations. Thank you for your visit today, and I invite you to visit New Age Music World again soon.
Cover arts are courtesy of each individual artist. Big Stock Photo copyright – BSoriano – Stuarthe – Edobric – Baloncici.