Archive for the ‘2010 Album Review’ Category
When you integrate one proficient acoustic guitarist with select vocalists and instrumentalists, along with the skillful production talents of Windham Hill Records founder and GRAMMY® Winner Will Ackerman, the album as you might expect, will be a top rated album compiled by dedicated music professionals that virtually everyone would love and appreciate.
Shambhu is the proficient guitarist clearly asserting in his website news pages that his first album has truly been a “labor of love” while composing, performing and co-producing with Will Ackerman, along with his time spent working beside other top music professionals. This I can believe since at the end of the day, Shambhu and his insightful selection of collaborating musicians has paid off rather handsomely, and by their collective time spent together, have helped convert this debut release into a commodity of premium value.
Sacred Love – Feel The Journey is New Age Fusion, Contemporary Instrumental, and Jazz, having East, West, and World elements which help facilitate the conversion of artful melodies into solid gold entertainment that requires only simple involvement for the rest of us to acquire the appreciable benefits of this grand endeavor. Sacred Love has already achieved a quantifiable amount of success, where at present Sacred Love – Feel The Journey is # 1 for the month of October 2010 in ZMR’s Top 100 Chart, but I also have a feeling this album will appreciate in value even more over time.
Shambhu is an esteemed musician in his own right performing concerts or on albums with top music entertainers like Bob Hope, Carlos Santana, John Anderson and on Whitney Houston’s multi-platinum album titled simply Whitney. The list goes on since Shambhu has also been involved in projects with many of the respected musicians I continually write about like Will Ackerman, Jeff Oster, Eugene Friesen, Ann Licater plus many more.
Sacred Love – Feel The Journey has an impressive cast and crew since many have toured or recorded with top musical groups themselves. Some of these artists on Shambhu’s album include Tony Levin of Peter Gabriel on bass, Jeff Haynes of Pat Metheny on percussion, George Brooks of John McLaughlin on saxophone, Celso Alberti of Steve Winwood on drums, and then Premik Tubbs of Santana and John McLaughlin on flute.
Together is the first of 12 songs total and what a memorable impression it creates. The center stage guitar and violin pairing established securely alongside flute and reflective instrumentation is magnificent, plus it is easy to visualize this song and others in a Cinematic role since the warm, sincere, and dynamic atmosphere echo the characteristic essentials for a multitude of made for the big screen movie settings.
Natural Moment is a warm and casual song that positively takes off and ascends to new heights. First expressed by xylophone and percussion enhancements, these lively components merge into a free spirited narrative complete with graceful electric guitar rhythms, which intensify and progress neatly into a picturesque arrangement.
Maiu Breeze is refreshing by exhibiting a jazzy tropical presence. First conveyed by acoustic guitar highlights, the xylophone rhythms and energetic vocals are a natural accompaniment to the guitar arrangement. Together they merge perfectly to bring out the fascinating aspects of this album and its entirety, creating a dynamic atmosphere that gives one an impression of total harmony refinement.
This first release by Shambhu will always be termed a debut as one might expect, but when you consider his proficiency as a guitarist, the impressive number of outstanding talents on this extraordinary album, and their combined lifework totaling a significant number of decades as esteemed music professionals, then this masterful first album by Shambhu truly does amount to a rewarding and appreciable “labor of love.”
Full musician credits are Eugene Friesen – cello, Charlie Bisharat – violin, Ravichandra Kulur – flute, Michael Manring – bass, Jill Haley – English horn, Claytoven Richardson – lead vocal, Jeff Oster – flugelhorn, Noah Wilding – vocals Todd Boston – sarod, mixed and engineered by GRAMMY® Award-winning Corin Nelsen.
Some love relationships begin with an introduction or maybe the sparks ignited after the very first gaze into someones eyes. Regardless of how it began, if a relationship progresses into something special it may lead to the divine word we call love, and while there are no definitive set of rules governing love, the first attraction determines a lot on what happens next.
Award-winning artist Paul Avgerinos from Redding Connecticut happens to have a new release called Law of Attraction that his prodigious fan base is certain to fully embrace with open arms, and do so without hesitation. I would imagine this great ambient album will also succeed at winning over many new fans for Paul Avgerinos, new fans who will go directly to the heart of his widely popular Round Sky Music website to hear for themselves, so for some of you, let me be the first to introduce you to this popular, award winning musician.
Paul Avgerinos has in all honestly based the Law of Attraction theme in regards to authors Esther and Jerry Hicks and their bestselling self-help books, but after listening to his thirteenth album I discovered Paul Avgerinos Law of Attraction has such a pleasingly rich sensation of expressive delights, I just had to respond myself by concentrating more precisely on the melodic wonderment and charismatic appeal of this sensational new release, which if it was a library book, Law of Attraction would be classified and shelved in the romantic therapy section.
Law of Attraction is after all quite compatible or along the same wavelength with his prior Love album, which is another positively feel good release with a passionate and dreamy intonation paired to the divine word we call love. The Love album did after all achieve a desirable level in 2009 by 2 nominations at ZMR which included Best Relaxation / Meditation Album.
Law of Attraction is an exciting fusion of New Age Ambient and World Music styles from the Middle East and India, and of the many earlier releases that garnered success, Law of Attraction has the same instrumental music essentials to his earlier award winning Garden of Delight.
Paul Avgerinos further album awards do include Garden Of Delight which won Best World Album in 2007 and notable Gnosis had 5 Best of nominations total, while winning the Best Relaxation / Meditation Album award category in 2006. Muse of the Round Sky which made the airwaves on over 2000 radio stations worldwide was the album that had first introduced Paul Avgerinos as a top new age artist and award-winning musician.
Paul Avgerinos has composed the 10 songs, performing on bass violin, Fretless bass, 12 string & nylon guitars keyboards, vocals, percussion and sound design. Kevin Braheny Fortune is featured on Electronic & Classical flutes, and Steve Gorn on Bansuri flute join Paul, as do the seven essential talented musicians I have credited below.
This group blends vibrant instrumental fusion into an intricate musical project fascinating for the senses to behold like heard in Gentle My Love & Ask and It Is Given which are deep, exotic, and mesmerizing. You will find every song holds a diverse kaleidoscope of elevated ambience, but these two songs in particular are quite unique from anything I had ever heard before since multiple guitars and ethnic vocals infuse a sensual calm and steadiness to where they seem spellbinding or even hypnotic at times.
The Vortex is another picturesque song that intermingle keyboards, guitars and lyric less vocals into wonderful patterns that are like a magnet by attracting you into a beautiful sound adventure made for the senses. Follow Your Passion & Art of Allowing are two songs showing ingenious geometrical patterns of his Ambient music like Law of Attraction ( Title Song ) they have gentle curved surfaces free of any abrupt edges or distant note to note sound plateaus leading to nowhere. If one was to compare the textural sensations of touch to this release, it would be as smooth as silk when you ran your hand across it, and you will see what I mean when you sample this perceptive new release.
It is pretty easy to fall in love with Paul Avgerinos music whether you have been officially introduced or not, and you may be interested to know that in addition to his eloquent skills as a composing New Age musician he has worked on over 100 television and film projects. Paul was also the primary bass player for The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and toured with many Popular, Contemporary, and Jazz groups over the years, having been involved with numerous Platinum album productions while collaborating with popular music acts Aerosmith, Jewel, Run DMC, Willie Nelson and Deana Carter.
Your introduction and credits for the additional musicians are Trina Basu on Violin, Brahim Fribgane on Oud, Rafiq Khan on Indian Sarangi, Rohin Khemani on Tabla & other percussion. Steve Waite on 12 string & electric guitars, Christine Yandell on vocals and Malika Zarra on French & Arabic vocals.
The Christmas season has officially arrived and what a special time of year ! While I believe most site visitors realize the true meaning of Christmas and the real reason we celebrate this special day in the highest regard, our time honored tradition of gift giving continues which naturally raises the question of what makes a suitable gift for our friends or loved ones.
Lisa Downing from Littleton Colorado is a musician with a promising answer on what makes not only a suitable gift, but a personalized one most people would enjoy receiving and a gift most likely to renew their true reason for the season Christmas spirit like her CD album did for me. Actually, when you take into consideration every aspect of purchasing the relatively inexpensive and long lasting gift of music for nearly every gift occasion, this easy to make decision translates into a logical choice.
Lisa Downing has a Solo Piano album titled Christmas for Two that may be of interest to you and while there are many exceptional Christmas albums in the New Age genre along with every musical taste, Lisa Downing has a special gift herself as a top solo pianist in every sense of the word and this is precisely articulated on her Holiday music release. Plus, knowing Lisa was a youth pastor at her church in Littleton earlier in life and performed in the Christian, Folk, Pop-Rock band named Wings of Faith, you know that Lisa’s heart is in the right place.
Her lifelong commitment as a professional musician are praiseworthy too since Lisa Downing earned a university degree in music, attending both the University of Colorado at Denver and Metropolitan State College, receiving a joint specialized BA degree in Traditional and Non-Traditional Music with keyboard emphasis. Lisa is also an esteemed concert pianist having toured or performed with other renowned artists like David Lanz, Suzanne Ciani, Liz Story, and Peter Kater.
Christmas for Two on her Vision Quest Entertainment label is a Solo Piano Christmas album cordially personifying Lisa Downing’s expressive talents in several ways, plus the 12 holiday tracks are perfect in the sense they reveal traditional holiday music in her skillful expressive touch like you would hear while attending one of her highly personalized concerts.
While Christmas for Two is considered New Age / Neo Classical, I trust any label is of less regard here since every piece chosen for the album will be identifiable and appreciated by everyone like The First Noel / Joy to the World.
You will notice her Holiday release is composed with a delicate balance by the companion format where two songs are united into one like heard on All through the Night / Away in a Manger so there are actually 22 titles in all with the single song exceptions of Silent Night, Canon in D Christmas Medley, and Angels We Have Heard On High.
The traditional holiday pieces What Child Is This / We Three Kings and then O Holy Night / It Came Upon a Midnight Clear were my 2 favorites, plus I found the richness in depth and quality intonation regarding her performance on a Yamaha C7 Acoustic Piano was proficient in entirety like I had expected.
Every song on Christmas for Two is delivered with precision and Lisa’s personal creativity shines by the unique manner in which the songs were impeccably composed into one, with treble and bass notes reaching many proficient runs and chords in all ranges along the piano keyboard.
Christmas for Two varies from soft and contemplative at moments to spirited phrasing with majestic crescendos like her amazing version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen / Carol of the Bells which give new meaning to the term Holiday music.
Now that you know I believe simply listening to Holiday music will help renew the Christmas spirit for anyone like it did for me, and where to search for Christmas Piano Solo music that brilliantly succeeds in establishing the seasonal tone, I hope to have been of some assistance today. I trust everyone will have an especially joyful Christmas this year while recognizing the greatest gift of all and true reason we celebrate the season.
Visit lisadowning.com to sample / purchase. You can also visit her CDBaby.com page or Amazon.com page and read my review of A Delicate Balance on our pages dedicated to Lisa Downing. Lisa and her husband Pete Foster own a combined talent agency and record label representing over 1200 Colorado musicians so find out more at visionquestmusic.com.
Album art courtesy NW Media. Photo courtesy Russell Smoak – The Inner Image.
The Christmas shopping season is here and many people are shopping for the perfect gift. I wrote a review on a solo piano Christmas album for another top musician so let me tell you about a husband and wife team needing little introduction since they are easily recognized as top new age music producers.
Holiday High by Cadence Spalding and Mars Lasar is a natural beauty by the traditional songs of familiarity on this seasonal album. The angelic vocals by Cadence blends into a beautiful interpretation throughout, while Mars displays his innovative talents of mixing and layering while adding his special creative touch and attentive technical leverage that easily sets this album apart from many others.
Holiday High is their traditional Christmas album displaying the serene qualities of a highly talented couple who have earned a respected position of esteem in the music world by their individual albums and collective projects together.
Christmas From Mars is an equally beautiful traditional album with all of the extra enhancements that likewise makes another enriching gift, easily becoming 2 pleasing and joyful holiday albums I can recommend for all listeners. If you are searching for a great gift for someone, or wish to revive your own personal spirit of Christmas enjoyment this year and every year, both albums are a wonderful family edition designed for traditionalist and new age music fans alike.
Sample and purchase these albums by Mars Lasar and Cadence Spalding at their Amazon.com page.
The Christmas shopping season is here and many people are shopping for the perfect gift. I recently wrote an album review about a solo piano Christmas album by a top new age artist so let me tell you about another fine Christmas album by vocalist Cadence Spalding, a respected new age vocalist and music producer.
Holiday High by Cadence Spalding is a natural beauty by the traditional songs on this seasonal album. The angelic vocals by Cadence blends into a beautiful interpretation for each song, including innovative mixing and layering that sets this Christmas album apart from so many other releases.
Holiday High is a traditional Christmas album displaying the serene qualities and the voice of a respected new age vocalist Cadence Spalding. This new age electronic and vocal album is a joyful holiday album I can recommend for all listeners.
If you are searching for a great gift for someone Holiday High is a wonderful family oriented edition designed for traditionalist and new age music fans alike.
Visit CadenceSongs.com and sample or purchase Holiday High at Amazon.com. Another great release is Cadence Spalding’s new age vocal album titled Save The World. Album cover courtesy cadencesongs.com.
The Christmas shopping season has arrived and many people are shopping for the perfect gift. I recently wrote an album review about a solo piano Christmas album by a top new age artist so let me tell you about another fine Christmas album by Mars Lasar, another top new age music producer.
Christmas From Mars is a beautiful traditional album with all of the enhancements and innovative technical leverage in which Mars Lasar is recognized. This special electronic new age album will likewise make an enriching gift year after year.
Christmas From Mars is a pleasing and joyful holiday album I can recommend for all listeners. If you are searching for a great gift for someone, or wish to revive your individual spirit of Christmas enjoyment this year and every year, this particular album is a wonderful family edition designed for traditionalist and New Age music fans alike.
Visit MarsLasar.com to sample and purchase Christmas With Mars, along with Mars Lasar’s complete line of top new age releases. Album cover courtesy marslasar.com.
New World Flamengo Jazz is a music category some may not be familiar with, so if you can imagine a sunny tropical atmosphere with an oceanfront setting and gentle tides splashing against the shoreline you begin get the picture. When you combine this imagery with exotic melodies and glowing rhythms you are set for a beautiful day of fun in the sun.
Tomas Michaud from Alameda California has accurately termed the phrase New World Flamenco Jazz and this precise terminology tells a lot, but more importantly it is about the sensations you feel and the affirmative imagery acquired from his world blend of contemporary instrumentals and Latin acoustic guitar designs in new World Fusion music. These elements are also the fine attributes that create a new category of music from his various contemporaries like Ottmar Liebert, Govi, or Johannes Linstead.
Tomas Michaud defines his unique singular style in World Fusion having the fundamentals of Nouveau Flamenco, New Age and Smooth Jazz, but with Latin and South American rhythms that embrace Middle Eastern and Spanish music, along with Caribbean and Mediterranean harmonies. This may sound way too complex, and I am sure it is for the guitarist, but for any music aficionado it translates into charismatic melodies that turn an empty white canvass into a masterful portrait complete with colorful designs that are pleasing to the heart and mind of a broad audience.
Drawing his harmonious inspiration from Central and South American travels, the lengthy list of beautiful travel destinations recited on this album include Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, France, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Singapore. Knowing his lengthy list of travel destinations across many continents and categorical guitar inspirations, then New World Flamenco Jazz is definitely an accurate description.
Beauty and Fire has 12 original compositions by Tomas Michaud and it quickly becomes clear his precision Flamenco styled performance on nylon – string guitar is a leading component of professional beauty, but the numerous distinguished musicians in accompaniment is another attractive element that makes this album flourish.
Beauty and Fire ( Title Song ) is an adventurous retreat into paradise by a peaceful East meets West cultural blend and this first song truly does make a meticulous statement about his singular New World Flamenco style with marvelous certainty. Two Hearts Into One & Night Into Day are pleasingly balanced by their relaxing melodies, along with another elaborate reflection carried into the moderate timed but equally rhythmic Embrace In The Mist & Morning Grace.
Deep melodic strides and tantalizing refrains are heard in Tango In Paradise while Gipsy Heart is quite breezy by the casual atmosphere an of accentuated guitar strides shared with violin. Living On The Wind retains a wonderful fascination by the amicable melody that can also be identified by an air of lively sophistication set in motion by magnificent guitar and piano rhythms backed by light instrumentals with plenty of quality percussion accents.
Thomas Michaud has a singular music style is a point I wanted to make today, so when selecting your album purchase at music outlets and you don’t find a New World Flamenco Jazz category try searching under New Age, World, Flamenco, Jazz, or Contemporary Instrumental sections. That is until the day retail outlets introduce a fun in the sun music category.
The musicians joining Tomas Michaud on Beauty and Fire are Don Turney on Grand Piano and keyboards, David Margen on Bass and Kai Eckhardt on Fretless Bass. Strings include Lila Sklar on violin and Michael Knapp on cello with Aharon Wheels Bolsta on Tabla and Thomas Perry, Celso Alberti, and Brian Rice on percussion.
Album art courtesy Elena Ray. Big Stock Photo copyright ersler.
Al Conti is a name many recognize in U.S. and international audiences as a composing musician having a natural ability for producing some of the most vivid story based music in the New Age & World music genres. For those who are wondering, his ability to intermingle these exciting tales of intrigue into every one of his award winning projects originates from Al Conti’s life experiences and extensive global travels.
Northern Seas is the fourth narrative from Al Conti that made a grand impression on me after hearing this new release for the first time. On Northern Seas the ancestral homeland and Nordic heritage of Scandinavia is the theme presented in a manner you will find intensely glorious regardless of your own family coat of arms since the perceptions in imagery and rich instrumental landscape valiantly hold the high ground on this resolute masterpiece.
Al Conti has a long family legacy himself arising from a extensive linage of expressive artisans, and in addition to his popularity as a top musician, Al Conti is an performing actor, having made television appearances during shows of the acclaimed CBS daytime drama As The World Turns, commercials, and films, in addition to on stage theatre productions in the United States and overseas.
Al Conti’s first albums were Shadows & Poeta and third release Scheherazade from 2008 was a landmark award winning release that resided at the top of ZMR charts for 3 consecutive months, and then received 4 ZMR Lifestyle Music Awards nominations including Album of the Year. Scheherazade then sailed among the clouds to secure Best World Album of 2008 and is played on many satellite and cable channels including Sirius / XM and Music Choice in addition to high watermarks in global radio charts. Northern Seas at time of review publication has reached # 2 in ZMR’s Top 100 chart for October 2010.
Northern Seas is a fascinating mixture of New Age & World Fusion with a Celtic inscription on several of the 11 tales of intrigue recounted from the long ago days of antiquity. The indigenous past folklore of Norse mythology brought to light by Al Conti is a melodious one indeed, telling of Norsemen during a time of Viking sovereignty in the Scandinavian nation. Treading a deep imprint on each tale, every single song is crisp, clear, and refreshing as if detailing the pristine landscape and panoramic mountain vistas by deeply spacious tonal qualities.
Northern Seas ( Title Song ) has a thunderous opening with an aura of mystery by the piano melody but the free spirited rhythms by flute and violin illuminate the first waterscape images and swiftly place you into the forged from fire and ice Nordic landscape. The light lyricless vocals portray an invigorating atmosphere which greatly changes what could have been pictured as a cold dreary day into one filled with deep but breathtaking rays of shrouded sunbeams. Long drawn out colorful vocals are another positive element that dominates an ambient grounded Veil of Mist.
Song of Rig & Valkyrja are adventurous melodies featuring the ancient and exotic instruments used in this albums production. Al Conti is proficient on a wide range of instruments and on Northern Seas he and contributing global talents create the unique feel of ambience using ancient and exotic instruments like kantele, harp, hurdy gurdy, pump organ, accordion and tribal drums that are melded with modern time instruments of piano, violin, cello, acoustic and electric guitar.
Odin The Wanderer is notably mysterious but also carries a palate full of vibrant hues much in part to the charismatic melody and choir that is lightly comingled with alluring violin and accordion tracings. Two flute melodies with a Celtic essence are the vigorously paced Dans for Loki and then free flowing The Rainbow Bridge. Piano and accordion merge in the light song Baldur and the time honored instrument when united with piano turn the tides of time to create an aesthetically pleasing old world essence.
Ragnarok has a penetrating melody with a light percussion rhythm of true enchantment. This graceful new dimension in elaborate instrumentals of piano, harp, flute, and accordion constitute smooth verses in unison with a light choir while transitioning into a breezy reflection well in harmony with the chosen Nordic folklore theme.
Al Conti has crossed yet another threshold with this exciting new release having every telltale sign of award winning success given his intriguing music portraiture of Scandinavian countries centered by Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. The majestic highlands, islets and fjords bordering the Barents, Baltic and Norwegian Seas have become the phenomenal harbor setting for this striking new album christened Northern Seas.
Album art courtesy Elena Ray. Picture copyright Big Stock Photo – galdzer.
I know for a fact many people who visit NewAgeMusicWorld.Com & NewAgeMusic.nu are presently, or have been a musician in an orchestra or choir at some point in their lives like myself and while the majority of us chose a direction other than the life of a musician, many of us can readily recall earlier days when we too pursued music with true passion.
Kelly Andrew ( Kaveny ) from Denver Colorado may have begun his early career performing orchestra music like a lot of us but this is where the similarities end, and after you listen to the classic symphony music he has created the comparison will become even more noticeable.
Kelly Andrew has made a successful impression by release of Olympus, an exciting debut complete with full orchestrations that boldly recreate a music symphony the majority of us had only dreamed of producing.
Olympus is his New Age, Contemporary Instrumental, Symphonic release expertly joined with electronic and technological digital effects well suited for the Cinematic & Soundtrack fields of music.
This Epic release is so perfectly aligned for movie scores by the full symphony sound it may inspire those with prior orchestra experience to snap open their instrument cases, prepare by tuning and begin practicing warm-up scales!
Kelly Andrew is a classically trained composing pianist and may have released Olympus as his official first album but in fact Kelly Andrew is known for creating a much wider array of music with over 15 years of experience as a musician producing his original signature series of music, having composed, arranged, and produced over 35 original singles of which some songs were performed by the University of Colorado choir and more is planned for release in the near future.
Olympus has some of the finest orchestrations I have heard recently and since the 12 tracks of classic symphonic music has contemporary instrumentals from every section backed by full percussion, I believe Olympus is a symphony that will stand the test of time. Those who have in the past or presently sing in a choir will admire the light chorales in Aphrodite that build momentum and crescendo with a full arrangement of brass and strings.
Percussionist will recognize the full symphony complexity of Apollo, and like many songs the resounding rhythms by timpani drum with cymbal crashes on cue are the outline for a full brass section of French horns, trumpets and trombones evoking a majestic theme. Hera is comparable by this vibrant transfer of stateliness except woodwinds take center stage by a warm melodic theme among brass refrains, and likewise with song Athena.
Demeter has a comprehensive orchestra setting with woodblock claves and many enhancements that inscribe bold accents to the entire symphonic atmosphere, so again those who have played percussion in the past should notice the chimes, triangles, and drums like timbales and congas create the excitement in this piece.
Artemis is a great instrumental arrangement with a complete strings section of violins and cellos harmony before woodwinds join in a nicely united counter-melody. Soprano and tenor vocals impart a large amount of theatrics by chorus refrains which fashion an interesting contrast, especially when a full brass section of Flugelhorns, trumpets and trombones enter with rich solid tones. Hephaestus begins with a light strings segment before flutes, clarinet and additional woodwinds of oboe and piccolo supplement the song structure with breeziness while an elaborate choir enters during later measures.
Poseidon is dramatic by the intensity and depth beginning with a choir during the early measures. Electric guitar runs are a clear distinction apart from the rest and although it may appear less customary in a symphonic atmosphere, the electric guitar lead create a grand opus with every well placed instrumental note blending together decisively.
Olympus is a symphony of exceptional quality and true excitement. It really won’t matter whether you have prior experience for you to fully appreciate this release from Kelly Andrew, but for those who have played a musical instrument in an orchestra or sang in a choir expect to be reminded of an earlier time in life when playing music was your one true passion.
Visit the Kelly-Andrew.com website to sample or purchase Olympus or visit his CDBaby.com page. Find more about Olympus and other albums on my section dedicated to Kelly Andrew. Picture Copyright BigStockPhoto – yuyang.
Luna Blanca is a prominent Nouveau Flamenco ensemble from Bocholt Germany that has perhaps become the celebrated toast of the town in another part of the world by naming their latest Contemporary Instrumental album after a beautiful region of Southeastern France, amidst the countries of Italy and Spain, with a seaside boarder along the glistening coastal waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Provence is the name of this admirable new release by Luna Blanca, along with the region of Southeastern France highly prized by a warmer climate, gourmet cuisine and regional quality vineyards, creating the picture-perfect setting for Luna Blanca’s new release that greatly succeeds at intertwining these luxurious qualities of refinement into their own creation of beauty.
Luna Blanca selected the nearby locality of Provence for a good reason since many famous authors, poets, and painters like Vincent van Gogh & Pablo Picasso had acquired inspiration for their artistic masterpieces. After reading more about this region of Europe it became clear to me why Luna Blanca members regularly travel to Provence for their creative inspiration, and it appears everything was well designed during their masterful adaptation.
Luna Blanca is prevalent on an international level and where founding lead acoustic guitarist Richard Hecks, first trained in classical music initiated his crossover to New Flamenco and began writing the vibrant original compositions we hear today. Artist Helmut Graebe is a principal member with spirited piano and organ rhythms and on Provence, Hecks and Graebe had an equal hand while composing their parts along with the instrumental compositions of talents Bino Dola on rhythm guitar, Clemens Paskert on bass, percussion, and added keyboards. Juan & Carolina provided some vocals and guest musician Uwe Gronau is featured on two songs playing organ and accordion.
First song Driving sets the contemporary surroundings in motion for this pretty as a postcard destination in Nouveau Flamenco music and where everyone will be able to perceive their picturesque connection to the region of Provence in the first few measures. Colorful in every way, Driving like each of the 12 songs are unique by their united but singular identity.
Gipsy & Francoise nicely exemplify this ever changing diversity since each have passionate melodies and charismatic rhythms which vary noticeably but interblend conclusively from song to song, representing one of many progressive attributes of this album in entirety. Mistral has a fascinating groove based melody with accented organ and keyboards parts exhibiting many fine upbeat runs in parallel time with exciting acoustic guitar rhythms.
Café has a tantalizing setting by trumpet and accordion refrains among progressive guitar and piano melodies which introduce an alluring arrangement to the surroundings.
Sunset & La Maison Bleue likewise display some great instrumentals plus the dynamic percussion rhythms heard on every song do more than merely lay the timing foundation for band members to build their melodies upon, so it is noticeable the percussion parts are a lively component in the total note by note Nouveau Flamenco atmosphere.
Crème Brulee is an inviting song given the calm serene impression and one that resembles Siesta, where moderately timed guitar melodies with piano accompaniment establish a comfortable mood of relaxation while also conveying at the very same time, a fine impression akin to white tablecloth elegance while the boldly accented accordion composition in Camargue introduces an elevated amount of European ambience by the intriguing sentiment.
Rosé is a song named after the house wine regularly served with the cuisine at local cafés and proportionate to the regional vineyards and fields of lavender, Rosé is an aromatic song for the senses too and while presented in more moderate time, the guitar and piano melodies fluently bring a fragrant bouquet of light ambience to the table.
Cote d’Azur is a majestic song finely poised by graceful half step guitar chords and piano counter melody which paint a romanticized picture of the French Riviera, concluding this song with the sound of coastal waters moving across the Mediterranean seashore, and with everything considered I wonder if anyone could ask for anything more.
Provence by Luna Blanca is an exciting new release, where admirable guitar and keyboard melodies express an anytime occasion for celebration. Together in unison, every member gives a brilliant performance and the spirited festive theme this new release portrays has the perfect entertainment setting. Casual and inviting by an open air sensibility, the members of Luna Blanca deserve every glass to be raised high in a toast of salutation. Cheers Luna Blanca!
Cover art copyright Anke Baugatz – Picture Copyright Big Stock Photo – klenova.
Steven C is an acclaimed composing pianist recognized by many for his inspirational piano and orchestral music having a graceful vibrancy that gently touches the inner spirit in a mindful way, and while music in all forms reaches out for some level of emotional response in each of us, music that inspires while moving the inner spirit is the greatest of all.
Heart Strings is the current release by Steven C. Anderson and one highly regarded in the music industry as the greatest of every release he has produced so far. After listening to Heart Strings for myself, I felt you too will find this refined beauty a classic portrayal of popular music in harmony with finely tuned orchestrations a moving and inspiring one. In fact there is a good chance many of you have already heard and felt the majestic scores of Steven C in television programing.
The true sincerity of his efforts as a musician happens to be a matter of record since the recordings and live performances of this St. Paul Minnesota resident have already been presented on The Today Show and Oprah Winfrey, along with PBS, QVC, and the Discovery Channel, so chances are everyone will have another opportunity to hear his television productions again in the near future.
With over 2 million units sold, Steven C has also performed with top artists Mannheim Steamroller and his presence on digital music programming and broad radio audience includes Music Choice, in addition to over 150 radio stations worldwide. Steven C’s earlier Solo Piano release Signature made a number 2 debut on the ZMR New Age Charts in 2008.
Heart Strings has several fundamental components which nicely enhance the energetic structuring and vibrant resonance behind this unique project having the sustenance to brighten your spirits every single day. One being the original 15 piano melodies composed and performed by Steven C on a Bosendorfer Grand Piano was combined with the prestigious London Symphony Strings Orchestra with some additional strings provided by Brigid McCarthy and Michelle Kinney.
If the admirable inclusion of The London Symphony Strings Orchestra is not enough assurance to inspire and warm your heart, there are the dynamic elements of Grammy Award winning arranger, orchestral conductor, and Mannheim Steamroller band member Arnie Roth, with additional contributions from Andrea Bocelli, Charlotte Church, and Mannheim Steamroller founding leader Chip Davis.
In another fact of distinction, the piano and orchestrations heard in Heart Strings were recorded in London England at the renowned Abbey Road Studios, and where a countless number of beloved musical greats including Cliff Richard, Pink Floyd & The Beatles had performed their cherished classics in studio. Just like the music icons before him, the same innovative recording techniques were used to enhance and achieve the noticeable audio refinements on this uplifting instrumental classic by Steven C.
Heart Strings is an extraordinary project given the instrumental enchantment it conveys. Moving by expressing a highly sought after level of emotional content for the listener, this vibrant album has the power to transport the inner spirit onward for a multitude of people, effectively inspiring each and every individual response along the way.
To sample or purchase Heart Strings visit StevenCmusic.com or visit his CDBaby.com page. Pianist Steven C also offers the unique services of personalized custom piano music for your wedding, anniversary, or any special occasion. Find the details on his custom music page. Picture copyright BigStockPhoto.com – jgroup.
Planet Earth from the beginning was destined to be one of our greatest mysteries, where every life form and those yet to be discovered remain more dependent on our mysterious world rather than this blue planet would ever depend on us. Simply put, we know Earth can survive without us, and in fact our present day endeavors to save the world is a statement equivalent to saying hey everyone, let’s save ourselves!
Michael Brant DeMaria, PH.D, is a clinical psychologist, lecturer, and award winning musician from Florida with a revitalizing new concept album honoring our shared heritage with the Earth by the World influences in Gaia, an innovative and exceptional brand new release in his widely acclaimed Ontos Healing Sound Project.
Gaia is essentially the achievement of over 25 years in personal and professional research by Michael into the fundamental principles of auditory healing techniques. His New Age Ambient release The River began the first origins of the Ontos Healing Sound Project while leading to the Healing & Meditation release Ocean, which remained at number 1 for 3 months on the monthly charts then having ended the year 2009 with ZMR’s Best Ambient & Best Relaxation Album Awards.
Ocean and was first conceived to help hurricane survivors begin anew and return to a more peaceful existence, but then after the 2010 Gulf Oil Disaster, Ocean became a second symbol of recovery since Michael donated his time performing concerts around the Gulf Coast Region, along with donating a portion of sales proceeds for the still ongoing wildlife recovery. I was pleased to learn Ocean is under consideration for a 2010 New Age Grammy Nomination.
Gaia is a serene excursion into the Ontos Healing Sound Project by directive of Michael Brant DeMaria. Therapeutic by a graceful vibrancy that effectively renews the inner spirit akin to The River & Ocean; the innovative world music inspirations found in Gaia heighten these emotive sensations of calm and well-being while ascertaining our undeniable relationship with planet earth.
Siyotanka is the story based narrative and soundtrack score that secured a Native American Music Award ( NAMA ) in the Native Heart category, and then lead to his Grammy Nomination for Best Native American Music Album, along with winning the Best Native American Album at year ending ZMR Music Awards for 2009.
Gaia has every hallmark for success since nearly every album produced by Michael Brant DeMaria has earned awards and respect from those in the music industry, and rightly so. Michael’s music, books, art, and poetry have acquired recognition in the United States along with widespread international acceptance in Australia, Europe, and Russia, having touched many lives with his universal message.
Third in the Ontos Healing Sound Project Gaia is based in part on the Greek Goddess Gaia, along with esteemed Earth Scientist Dr. James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis, whose research studies involving planetary exploration while at NASA led to his famous Gaia Hypothesis which interprets the Earth we share as one cohesive single living organism.
Gaia ( Title Song ) is the musical genesis of 14 tonal poetries and sound prayers traversing many nations and cultures, opening with a lighter piano melody, where World and Native American wood flutes in amended resonance on every song begin their ethnic exploration and develops into a wonderful first prelude to the ever changing stages in this moving expedition.
Anima Mundi tells of an emergent period and where Michael uses his voice as a human instrument to speak for the ancestors of our past. The surreal Alchera features Australian ( didgeridoo ) ever present wood flute instrumentals and vocal exhalations to denote the Earth as a single living entity of magnificent beauty.
Asase Yaa, with fine qualities of African rhythms and Amazonia, with South America textures are together moderate in rhythm, having unifying world flute instruments and percussions in each melody, even during the deep and mystical atmosphere of Ja’neba. The silk road to China is traversed by highly symbolic gong strikes in Xiaolin, along with Chinese flute ( Xiao ) in akin song Kuan Yin with traditional (Yueqin ) strings instrument dramatizing the orient with vibrancy.
Gentle imprints of Japan are represented by bamboo flute ( Shakuhachi ) and the gentle breeziness of wind chimes leave fine impressions in Zazen & Tarani, likewise revealing Michael’s fine transition in World music personified on Gaia, along with the notion that our enduring heritage of dependency we share with planet Earth will always be just a simple fact of life.
Visit ontos.org to sample / purchase or visit his CDBaby.com page or major music outlets. Visit michaeldemaria.com blog and read a recent in-depth interview with Michael and I, and my album reviews of his award-winning music on my pages dedicated to Michael Brant DeMaria. Picture copyright Big Stock Photo – Shutter.
Bill Leslie has a sensational new release that is truly a refreshing experience for the senses and one new release I feel certain people of all ages will enjoy listening to. Simple Beauty is the name Bill Leslie gave his personified current album and just as assuring like the title suggests, a natural attraction of refined beauty becomes the harmonious ingredient everyone will find within.
While Bill Leslie is easily recognized as a composing musician and leader of his traditional and Celtic fusion music group Lorica, he is also a 5 time Emmy Award winning journalist and newscaster for WRAL television network and a multiple Journalist of the Year awards recipient in North Carolina. In addition he composes traditional and Celtic fusion music as a soloist and during concert appearances with his band Lorica.
In fact Bill Leslie was an early roommate and helpful mentor to popular musician, radio, television, and Entertainment Tonight Show host John Tesh. These good friends have recently had the opportunity to perform together again during a September 2010 concert at Meymandi Hall in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts located in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Simple Beauty is the 2010 all instrumental album now charting in the number 1 position for the month of September at ZMR and reflects the inspirational countryside of The Carolinas, along with a personal improvised structuring Bill had conceived after his studies with renowned Irish musician Michael O’Domhnaill and his Celtic influences.
On the Simple Beauty release Bill composed 10 original songs patterned in accordance with 4 traditional ancient Irish melodies so the composition in entirety results in a highly melodic blend of Instrumental New Age with a Celtic alliance that is harmoniously arranged with a done just right perfection.
Like his early debut Peaceful Journey, which received a number 1 ranking on ZMR World Music charts, Bill’s current has all the hallmarks of reaching equal success. Christmas in Carolina was named Best Holiday Album and I am a River charted number 2 and also contain some wonderful instrumentals.
Blue Ridge Reunion was another album that secured a number 1 position with Zone Music Reporter charts, along with the year ending honors of being named Best Acoustic Instrumental Album of the Year in 2008.
An instrumentalist at heart, Bill Leslie performs acoustic guitar, piano, bass, whistles and keyboards. The artists on this album are Bill Covington on Grand Piano, Brent Cotton on Acoustic Guitar, Jennifer Curtis on Violin, Nancy Green on cello, Will Leslie on percussion and Linda Metz on flute.
Simple Beauty is an appropriately titled work of harmony whose scenic wonder and peaceful surroundings emerge by the truly great instrumentals, making this current natural and wholesome new release a sensational find for everyone.
Cover photo by Bill Leslie.
One of the more uplifting aspects of being a review publicist is getting to know many of the great artists producing music today on a personal level. In a recent interview with a musician from the U.K. everyone had a chance to learn he had a recording audition during his interview at the record label music icons The Beatles founded in 1968 called Apple Records.
Steve Orchard is the musician traveling that long and winding road to 54 St. James Street, London to Apple Records and this story is just one of many he shared during our interview together. Everything has come together for Steve Orchard since today he is an MG Music Label artist and representative member of the Medwyn Goodall circle of friends highly revered for their outstanding music and integral voice every label artist is known for producing.
Steve Orchard is a multi instrumentalist composing and performing original music for many years on guitar, mandolin, harmonica, keyboards, piano and various skin drums. His prior albums Voyages Beyond Midnight, Salt Water Café & The Consequences of Kisses are great albums too and some earlier songs reveal the fact that Steve is also a fine vocalist.
Sundancer is an emblematic second album in his Trilogy Series and just like first in series Raindancer, nicely reflects the rare qualities of relaxing yet energetic melodies that I felt achieve universal appeal. Moondancer is the third album in the Trilogy Series, which makes this trio edition a well timed release during the 25 year anniversary events taking place with Medwyn Goodall and every fine artist comprising the United Kingdom based MG Music Label.
Sundancer is a glowing accent to the Trilogy Series and where first in series Raindancer, with deeper tones and synthesized rhythms set the mood, Sundancer has a fun energetic symmetry and feel of Island music by a well placed illuminating atmosphere. One element greatly uniting the two is their overall relaxing yet energetic tonal qualities and their multiphase array of percussion rhythms.
The first bold impression of beaming radiance appears in energy driven song Soar. Percussion inscribes an upper tempo outline while keyboards and acoustic guitar imprint pleasing colors by a light but nicely melodic tempering while becoming your first indication the lively sun dancing theme is going to be fun and exciting.
While Sundancer is centered by a primarily upper tempo and is full of energy set in motion by an array of percussion and instrumentals, there are plenty of laid back relaxing moments too and none more apparent in than what you will hear in Lagoon & Tethered. This coequal ambiance with deeper rhythms during refrains are likewise found in the sultry oasis song Heat!
Many songs are evenly layered midst more moderately timed tempos like Rainman, Unrepentant & Deadly Arrow, where an ensemble of percussion and steel drum accents prepare the harmonic profile for acoustic guitar, flute and keyboard contrasting melodies, with brighter phrasing infiltrating the deeper passages with full solid clarity.
Playing in the Sun & Borboletas are upper tempo songs with wood flute becoming the essential melody producer, and where single or long drawn out notes are often heard from others playing either the woodwind instrument or by effect, here a free flowing multiple note melody backed by accordion, keyboards and percussion nicely balance the full of energy attribute.
Pacifica is the positive upbeat song rounding out the 11 total on Sundancer.
Steve Orchard is a bright and serious composer today just as he was in yesteryear and I’ve got a feeling he had composed Sundancer with a fun and energetic theme in mind all along which is like some of our other all time fun favorites, so for me this is what makes Steve Orchard’s releases memorable eight days a week.
Sundancer cover design copyright David Orchard. Picture copyright BigStockPhoto – Albo.
The Chicago World Music Festival 2010 is just concluding their annual city wide venue regularly hosted by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and since the inception in 1999, has entertained over a half million visitors by traditional and contemporary music concerts performed live by music professionals spanning the globe.
Riad Abdel-Gawad is a violinist just concluding his performances with his ensemble at the Clarke House Museum & South Shore Cultural Center during this international multi cultural event which over the years has had representation of seventy five countries.
His concert appearances during the Chicago World Music Festival were held just recently in September 2010 and in addition, Riad Abdel-Gawad has extensively toured the U.S. this year with his ensemble from Cairo Egypt. The newly released Egypt: Mother of the World was designed to coincide with his U.S. ensemble tour and the numerous venues where people have had a chance to hear his multi cultural music during live performances.
Riad Abdel-Gawad is a Southern California resident and Harvard graduate with a PH.D in Musical Composition, also a University of Southern California and University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music graduate. When his educational and Western classical influences are joined with his Middle Eastern ensemble the equation becomes a wonderful cross section of music that blends into a much broader World music influence. Also having toured many countries as a violinist, in addition to a large presence in online radio programming, his recognition has nicely reached an international audience.
Egypt: Mother of the World is his 2010 Middle Eastern, World, New Age, Contemporary release featuring four additional musical talents comprising his ensemble. Egyptian born Riad Abdel-Gawad had wrote the original compositions and all musicians are highly recognized artists in Middle Eastern music and perform on traditional ethnic instruments so the listener is greatly rewarded with colorful and authentic works of beauty.
The professional musicians playing on this album include Yousri Abdel-Maqsoud on percussion, drums, bongos, duff, riqq ( tambourine ) Saber Abdel-Sattar qanun ( plucked dulcimer ) Hesham Makarem oudist oud ( lute ) and Mohamed Foda ( Fouda ) nayist ( bamboo flute ) The physical CD includes a large colorful 16 page foldout booklet describing the meaning and inspiration for each piece and makes a nice bonus.
Egypt: Mother of the World is an excellent introduction for those less familiar with Middle Eastern music and for those coinsurers, the album is an unrivaled work of art given by some great talents. Riad performs on a violin tuned several tones lower keeping with traditional Middle Eastern standards and this tuning in tonal pitch does make the recognizable variations from Western music clear.
The quality of this professional ensemble and their authentic style of music can be felt from the first of fifteen songs that truly does deliver a wonderful atmosphere while becoming a global festival and lively cultural event in World music.
Michael Stribling is an award winning New Age composer and family therapist who readily embraces change having made many of his own successful transitions during his lifetime. His newest release entitled Paradise Lost narrates the Native American experience and becomes the latest chapter in his long career as a musician.
Michael Stribling has made Paradise Lost into a bold and monumental seventh album, in an enduring lineage of New Age Electronic albums that have made an impact in the genre, winning awards and universal acclaim during his years as an accredited musician recognized for producing outstanding ambient music. His entire discography like recent The Promise which dealt with life transitions, became a success by winning top honors in ZMR’s Best Electronic Album award in 2009.
His album Songs of Hope and Healing made it to # 1 on the Top 100 on ZMR charts, securing the Electronic Lifestyle Music Award in 2006 and Out of the Darkness, Into the Light, lit up the # 2 spot on the Top 100 in January having 2 nominations for the Lifestyle Music Award in 2007. Another Day in Paradise is another praiseworthy album while Love, Light, and Water earned nomination for Best Relaxation / Meditation Album in 2008, making every single day even brighter for this independent recording musician with a boldly optimistic outlook toward the challenge of change.
Michael’s transitions over the years include earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Music, work as a radio announcer, performing in theatre musicals and playing percussion for Johnny Mathis. Michael’s story gets even better since after becoming a successful Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist offering professional help to those who needed a hand with their transitions, he himself returned to his earlier love of music and formed Leela ( Divine Play ) Music where he also hosts free online radio programs at Leela Radio.
Paradise Lost is a terrific new release with 12 symbolic songs defined by 3 movements and while retracing the ancestral life experiences of Native Americans through electronic orchestrations, the perspective I determined ranged from total relaxation to energetic and is quite epic during this recounting of the early Native American experience.
Visit the leela-music.com website to sample or purchase at his CDBaby.com page. Also visit Michael where he hosts a free online radio program at leela-radio.com website and then my pages dedicated to Michael Stribling. Below is the album review quote I wrote for The Promise and song video from Love, Light and Water album titled River Canyon.
Michael Stribling has clearly made many successful transitions in his musical lifetime, giving him a first hand perspective to help others cope with change. The positive yes responses shown in his earlier music and in this new release prove his natural composing abilities for bringing hope and inspiration to others.
Creative talent and new age music are equal terms in reference to the many creative and influential musicians producing music today. This can be said of every music influence available today of course, and like every genre, new age music had a group of select artists in the primordial years whose earlier influences formed the inception and foundation of the genre.
Clifford White is a musician living in the United Kingdom defining our new age music genre then and this is true today. His biography as a musician began during an era when there was much less of a foundation to build upon and had to rely primarily on his own creative intuition as a vital resource. Clifford White’s inception into the new age genre first emerged in 1985 at age 17 when he released a phenomenal album entitled Ascension which quickly established Clifford as a leading composer and producer whose music greatly influenced our genre in the early years.
Atlantis is the 2010 MG Music label release Clifford White has just produced in his present day Sanctuary Studio in St. Albans, Hertfordshire and it is great news to know Clifford White’s talent for producing outstanding music and creative intuition during modern times is just as ingenious today as in earlier years. Currently he presides over his multi faceted 21st Century New Media Ltd business which specializes in media consultation of Internet, film, software, television and media related training courses. In addition to his musician website he also hosts the New Age Music News website and his presence in the new age music genre today remains on the forefront.
Clifford White has made Atlantis into an exciting electronic composition based in theme on the lost underwater city adventures first recounted in the writings of Greek philosopher and mathematician Plato. Knowing Clifford has made explorations of his own by using a broad range of influences and innovations with every successive album, these novel synthesizer effects translate into a modern Progressive album that reaches Epic and Cinematic proportions while recounting the ancient city lost beneath the waters.
Atlantis ( Title Song ) is the Epic first of 11 exploratory melodies on this Electronic expedition transcending folklore of the past into a new modern day chronicle overflowing with depth and creative imagination.
One innovation of many on this release is the unique metrical timing by using the middle C note on piano. Balanced with precision, this synchronized rhythm gives the impression of a heart beating with adventurous excitement while the main keyboard melody and regal orchestration begin to herald in this majestic opening song.
Catacombs has a more mysterious allure given the ever present key changes made throughout the keyboard melody with percussion timing and synthesizer enhancements furthering this deeper realm in atmosphere like the dreamy sequences in moderately timed song Xtasea.
The Kingdom has Contemporary guitar rhythms along with an energetic beat illustrating a brighter atmosphere while shedding new light onto the mysterious underwater city, while the Groove qualities in Time Tunnels with percussion accents also maintain the traits given by these more modern progressive qualities.
Voice of the Aegean with a gentle guitar melody resembles the lighter variation of calm like on the song Summit which conveys relaxing qualities by a more moderate tempo. Ascendant & Exodus are comprised of prominent synthesizer surroundings with percussion sequences of bells, woodblock and xylophone.
The epic music heard in New World begin to surface during the first measures when beautiful orchestrations by horns and choir vocals infuse classic imagery of the legendary kingdom of antiquity for which this theme is based upon and just like a paradox, Atlantis the album was composed with a more modern ideology but where they share common traits by their amazing stories and early foundations that had first began on solid ground.
Visit CliffordWhite.co.uk to sample or purchase Clifford White’s new Atlantis album. Read my interview and album review pages dedicated to Clifford White. Cover art by Medwyn Goodall – Picture copyright BigStockPhoto – Dirk Paessler.
Television media is an excellent source for documenting past historical events in retrospect and whether you are watching historic events unfold on the network news in your country or during a documentary, this opportunity to view the human triumphs along with the atrocities allows the viewer to reach their own conclusions for what they have witnessed.
Jeff Woodall is a New Age musician, producer and composing songwriter living in the United Kingdom. The song video of My Isolation from his Chasing Shadows album becomes the media sensation that truly reflects the very best and the worst of past historic events in retrospect while inviting the viewer to draw their own conclusions.
Indigenous is the 2010 release from Jeff Woodall who composes electronic music for television and library productions worldwide and I am almost certain this particular video is one of the more extraordinary works out of the many he has produced. Regarding his New Age audio compositions, Jeff Woodall has written and produced 11 Electronic solo albums since 2002 and collaborated with easily recognized artists and composers like Belgian based Bryan El, another fine music talent I have written reviews on and had an interview with recently.
Chasing Shadows is an earlier Electronic, Ambient and Chill Out release from Jeff Woodall, and like his prior albums Free Diving, Osmosis & Afterworld, are a relaxing and introspective indulgence into ambient New Age music that borders into Experimental realms at times.
This YouTube video shows material of historical record and what is broadcast now and then during news programming here in the U.S. where I live, but does contain sensitive material so please be advised of the Strong Viewer Content Rating for this video. Below is the YouTube song video of My Isolation from the Chasing Shadows album by Jeff Woodall.
Ann Licater has just released a brand new follow up to her opening debut Following the Call, a release which received nomination of Best Native American Album and listing in the top 12 Contemporary Albums in 2007.
This first effort began her journey of recognition as a top solo flutist performing on Native American, World and silver alto flutes and had begun the chosen pathway towards her next success.
Doorway to a Dream is the 2010 release from Ann Licater that again displays her level of expertise in both traditional and indigenous flutes while accentuating the fine attributes woodwind instruments can produce. The 14 original songs and improvisational compositions this time around however are during collaboration with accompanying musicians and becomes a perfect album discovery for those who appreciate the smooth sounds of tranquil and relaxing music.
Ann Licater is well rehearsed in classical silver flutes having began her own journey into Native American & World flutes years ago after listening to the unique sounds indigenous flutes can produce, having studied with master flutist R.Carlos Nakai at the Renaissance of the Native American Flute which nicely reinforces the comprehensive skill level of her already accomplished classical flute studies.
Many of the indigenous instruments Ann plays on this album are selected for their unique tonal qualities and include Native American-style, Chinese Rosewood Xiao, Zapotec Triple Clay, Anasazi and Alto flutes.
In addition to her recordings, Ann Licater teaches in workshops and during concerts, describes to her audiences the origins for each of the clay and wood instruments featured during her appearances.
Doorway to a Dream is a natural contrast to her first solo album by inclusion of recognized artists who incorporate their talents and help expand her original compositions by collaborative instrumentation of Middle Eastern Tar, African udu Coral electric sitar, Edo period Japanese shakuhachi, flugelhorn, acoustic guitar, piano, keyboard and World percussion.
Whether you are searching for music with the unique intonation flutes can produce when placed in the hands of an accomplished musician, or simply enjoy the finer sounds produced by music professionals, Doorway to a Dream is a natural choice.
The world class musicians accompanying Ann Licater on various songs throughout this album and you are sure to recognize are Jose’ Neto, Jeff Oster, Peter Phippen, David DiLullo, Troy Arnett, William Hoshal and Shambhu. This album was mastered by award winning Engineer Stephen Hart.
Photo courtesy of Greg Crowder.
In the millennium before the nation of America was founded and a new way of life was envisioned, Native Americans lived brave and free throughout the land. History tells of the conflict and injustice imposed upon indigenous people thought to be hindering this new way of life, but in fact Native Americans were already living the proverbial American dream in sacred lands they viewed as paradise.
Michael Stribling has released an album to commemorate the past while honoring every Native American who lived and died protecting their sacred homeland. To me, Michael’s dedication struck a familiar chord concerning our present values and the high price we pay to keep the diverse ethnicities comprising the America of today free.
Paradise Lost is Michael’s seventh in an enduring lineage of New Age Electronic albums making an impact in the genre, winning awards and universal acclaim during his years as an accredited musician producing outstanding ambient music. His electronic discography like recent The Promise which dealt with life transitions is indeed a success and in my role as review publicist, quickly identified his exemplary artistry in the first few measures, so Paradise Lost is not worlds apart from earlier albums, but is clearly a monumental one as those familiar with his music would agree.
Paradise Lost has 12 symbolic songs defined by three movements and while retracing the ancestral life experiences of Native Americans, the perspective I determined from this viewpoint ranged from total relaxation to energetic, so you will find Paradise Lost is not gloomy or somber and I felt more epic in nature. Another point worthy of mention knowing this album recounts the Native American experience, conceptual electronic orchestrations are the expressive medium given during this rendition so a harmonious contrast to more traditional depictions by wood flutes, chanting or bass drums.
Prairie Dawn is first of 5 songs to reveal a distant gaze upon the clear majestic landscape and of people living during this historic period, now emerging with a more ambient view of tribal culture where spacious orchestrations echo the expansive lands of our past.
French horn heralds in Guardian of the Plains, then strings become like strands of wheat gently moving in the breeze while flute sets the melody upward in flight during Forest Heart. Synthesizer projects an airy windswept Eagle Above, River Below, then growing excitement and tempo ensues while racing among the scenic timberlands in Hunting Party.
March of Destiny is first of 3 songs to reference the battle over territorial supremacy and true to song title, a crisp drum cadence is timed in lock step rhythm to a salutary march across the open wilderness. Horns make a melodic call to arms to a swirling crosswind of mystery surrounding the ambient Approaching Storm with blended electric guitar strides. In Vision Quest a drifting cloud of haziness finds origins by long extended atmospheric notes.
Paradise Lost ( Title Song ) is first of the final 4 songs to represent the loss of humanity and prized territories, shown by contrasting synthesizer runs, an elevated prominence boldly reaches an ascending summit while heightening the majestic image this project in entirety symbolizes. Lament for the Land is more tributary by a solemn narrative that is likened to the soulful Hymn for the Fallen.
Return to the Spirit World is a song telling of a higher perspective during Michael’s closing adaptation, and while entering into an ever rising plateau of instrumental ambiance, each expansive layer also finds equable ground for every note to build a foundation upon, coinciding with the present unified territories everyone observes today from every corner pointing North and South, East and West.
Visit the leela-music.com website to sample or purchase at his CDBaby.com page and visit Michael where he hosts a free online radio program at leela-radio.com website and my pages dedicated to Michael Stribling.
Cover art copyright Michael Stribling – Picture copyright Big Stock Photo – ta_samaya.