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Moorland Winds by Sarah Copus
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 5/28/2017
A superb release from a talented young artist
To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect with this new release from Sarah, I have known 2002 for eons now and expectation was high, but we can confirm that she has solidly taken her place and stands not only with her parents in a musical masterclass of excellence, but now on her own right as a performer that has an amazing potential to achieve literally anything she wishes.
One can tell by the opener that she means business; it’s called Wind on the Moor. Her skills on the harp are blissful and the violin on this piece creates such a wonderland of Celtic harmony.
I’m quite glad in a way that this album has crossed my desk as I have been thinking for some time about putting a Celtic music special show together for One World Music Radio, now I have more material, and this one is a cert to make the playlist should I do so, and called Rights of Man – Off To California. This jig is a real fascinating combination of instrumentation, Sara Copus has brought a delightful sense of movement and rhythm into this fun and light-hearted composition and one that reminds me of Celtic band Govannen.
This musical journey dear reader is a real pleasure to walk, and with the talented hand of Sarah Copus at the wheel, we can be assured of a truly fresh and fascinating sojourn. As an example of the abilities of the musician listen to a track you may remember best from the artist Sting. Fields of Gold is a stunningly beautiful song filled full of passion and desire and Copus puts in a superb performance here. I have sung this song myself, and I can tell you it’s not that easy, a splendid rendition.
Next up is a piece called Merrily Kiss The Quaker – The Mist Covered Mountain and it’s time to jig to another reel, one that has a sense of liberated fun about its energy. There is simply nothing to dislike about this track and this is placed cleverly to make us feel that through music, we are once more off on another pathway through the labyrinths of this fantastic release.
For a moment, let’s stop once more, we can now feel that all around us the day has just about started and through Foggy Dew that is portrayed brilliantly. There can be no denying that Copus is a fine Harp player, and while we watch the mists rise to unveil another day, we can bathe in her rich tones of Celtic magic and mystery.
On Gleanntain Ghlas Ghaoth Dobhai, which I believe translates into the green glens of Gweedore, we have another precise performance from the young artist, this is sung in the Irish Language and wonderfully so. This is a track that seems to float across the mind, like a dove dancing with the Sunday morning sun.
It’s time to pick up you knapsack and once again were on our way, we can dance along the hill sides and through the valleys onto our next stop with the lively, Hut on Staffin Island-Paddy's Trip to Scotland.
At this point we now find our journey has taken us into the second half of the album where we find a fine composition called Star of the County Down. Now ease back to this lovely arrangement, this is so carefully and delicately played and also a piece that creates a great atmosphere as it goes.
Walking in the Air, this is usually a song we hear every Christmas, but the composition seems to fit the overall collection and project with a sublime majesty. The vocals of the young Copus seem to have an equal measure of talent with her skills on the harp; a nice production can be found here, some clever overlaid vocals that manifest something truly special, all this goes to create a very class filled offering.
Once more it’s time to move onward, and we can do this with the energy created by this next piece called, Buttercup Spree-Garret Barry's-Clare Jig. Sarah Copus has created a brilliantly thought out intent to move us through the project with these wonderfully styled up-tempo musical links, nothing more than sheer genius at work.
As we break from our reel, you will find yourself in a sun kissed meadow of many delights called Down by the Sally Gardens, yet another example of the musician’s prowess on both harp and angelic vocals; her tone and pitch reminds me so much of Celtic singer Juliana.
We’re now very deep within the album and we come across a dreamy opus called Dawning of the Day, this is an opportunity taken by the artist to once more deliver a perfect performance on Harp. The tempo and energy of this composition is like drifting down a stream on a hot July morning.
So now let’s go homeward and jig our way through the green meadows and run down the footpaths; we can do this to an arrangement called Harvest Home-Boys of Bluehill. This slice of classic Celtic refrain will lead us right into the loving arms of the last track on the album called She Moved Through the Fair. Now if you haven’t heard this composition before, where have you been? Sarah Copus has decided to leave us with this parting gift of an all-time legend of a song. This has been covered, re-arranged and performed by many, many artists over the decades, but we must honestly say that this careful and very respectful version is one very classy rendition, and as such she leaves us with a moment of sublime class and professionalism.
With the background and support that Sarah Copus has, it’s no wonder that the release of this her debut album is going to be a huge success, however one has to say that each track has been carefully crafted, subtly arranged and produced, and the layout of the release, cleverly thought-out. Sarah Copus will, in years to come, look back at this album and be very proud of what she has achieved, but for now she can sit back and watch her legacy grow, as Moorland Winds is a superb first release, from an artist of such tender years, but immense talent.
Rating: Excellent
Shifting Sands by Lynn Tredeau
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 5/28/2017
This is a truly special and very honest album
Lynn Tredeau has risen to relative fame in her genre on the back of three very successful albums and now a fourth sits proudly on my desktop. I had a long chat with Lynn on skype a while back and she assured me that this release was going to be far different, far more reflective, so let’s start on another musical quest with Lynn Tredeau and her latest release Shifting Sands.
We start this pleasurable perambulation with the first track entitled Lost in Familiar Surroundings. I have now listened to this piece twice and it’s so moving, it reminded me of when I left England, I felt like a stranger in my own land, in my own country, and even more so in my own home and if this music had of been released then, it would have been the soundtrack for that confusion. The creation of tone here is very emotive and almost imploring.
Shifting Sands the title track is up next and this one says it all, there is a real sense of power here, but one that cries as it tries to ride the constant and ever changing motif of life’s never ending amendments. Listen carefully to this one, this is beautifully played and is very cleverly performed.
Our next offering is called Warm Embrace; Tredeau is fast becoming a true artist at creating wonderful visuals in the mind with her musical paint brush, the piano, and one could easily visualise sitting next to a roaring fire and getting a big old fashioned hug to this composition.
On Dance of the Unknown, we have a real change of mood, there is a very ingenious motif used in this piece, this was one of my personal favourites. Here the artist has created a narrative that is both unsure, and then seems to regain confidence through the quicker segments; this is an arrangement that really shows the musical maturity of Lynn Tredeau.
As we move to Looking to Lowman, I feel that I have drifted back in time, to a place I one visited in the states when my life turned chaotic, the place was beautiful, but I had sadness in my eyes. This for me is a song in two parts, one that seems to illustrate beauty, but also one that has a sense of sorrow built deep within its structure, a very moving and deeply reflective piece indeed.
I must own up here now, this track is my favourite off the release, it moved me so much I had to stop writing at one point, it’s called Travel Me Home. A sense of longing can be found here in this performance, and the piano is played with such a tender hand at the helm. I have given this a few listens now and each time I can hear the lyrics of a song run through my mind’s eye. This is perhaps a theme for that moment, when you just want to be back at home and with a loved one, who is many miles away.
Life at Four is once more a change in course and the arrangement has a sense of lightness about its construction; this very playful composition seems to flow with a seamless energy of wonder and happiness.
We now move over the half way marker and come across a piece called To Breathe at Last, I must applaud Lynn Tredeau for this song, it has a clever “sigh” of notes played here, one so obvious, that I found myself letting out air each time it was performed. This is a really beautiful and an empowering track and another favourite of mine. The use of a very slight pause here is so very deft, and created by a musician who really knows her stuff, please listen carefully to this one, it’s a real masterpiece, oh and, breathe!
The Last Mile, could have been also called the last breath, the last smile, the last kiss, but you will get my meaning. This is so deep it touches each of us at a level that reveals our vulnerability to a deeply emotive moment in our lives. The slow, but weighty introspection of this piece is dramatic in its tones, a sadness, a musical moment is created here of when we never want to say goodbye, but have no choice.
We all dream of reaching that Oasis in life, when all is just a bit too much and we need a sanctuary, and perhaps with this rather charming opus we can do just that, perfect in pitch and tempo, this is a restful slice of beauty manifested into our realm by the musician, at a perfect point in the album.
Our penultimate offering is called Whispers of Hope and once more Tredeau creates that with great clarity and style, it’s still reflective in its overall nature, but a slight elevation of notes is enough to allow that feeling of hope to come shining through.
Seems almost a shame dear constant reader that I now must say that this is the last track off the album, the artist will gift us one more offering before she closes the doorway to the album for us here, and it’s called If Ever in My Life. This is probably the gentlest composition on the release and is played with a certain sensitivity that is so very impressive; it is also a calming and uplifting way to leave the musical journey.
Shifting Sands has seen Lynn Tredeau shift gears and deal a hand of musical cards that show a whole new side of her performance, the reflective nature of this release, the professional artistry and stylish arrangements are a delight to behold and I can say that without doubt, the musician is on to a real winner with this one, one that will no doubt carry her far higher that she has ever gone before. If you’re a solo piano fan this has to be an absolute must for your collection. Shifting Sands is a cathartic musical journey of great meaning, it will touch you at the deepest level and move you with every beautiful twist and turn throughout the release. This is a truly special and very honest album, and one that you cannot afford miss out on.
Rating: Excellent
Dancing on the Edge of Infinity by Ashaneen
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 5/28/2017
An album of amazing quality
When one dances on the edge of infinity, one can truly feel the heartbeat of the universe beneath.
The sentence above was created by the inspiration given to me by the opening refrains of this most delicious of albums by Ashaneen. Each composition, each arrangement, is layered with a perfection that is rare to find, and what a better example can I offer, than the title track that sits proudly as the first piece off the release.
“Dancing on the Edge of Infinity” is a veritable portal to a dimension of music that will open a whole new realm of peace and tranquillity to all that open up their minds to listen to it.
You will find a vast and wide open quality of music in the track “Timeless Voyager”, a piece that seems to float on the borders of galactic bliss and then onwards into an inspiring opus that contains a real sense of honouring the ancients, within the empowering, “To Eternity and Beyond”. You can then allow yourself to drift and be the musical observer, in the realm of “Space of Creations”.
If you have a love for electronic space music that will take you on a journey, that is impressive, creative, but also incredibly peaceful, then you need to look no further that Ashaneen and “Dancing on the Edge of Infinity”, it is an album of amazing quality and a journey you may never wish to return from.
Rating: Excellent
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