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The Road Home by Peter Calandra
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 7/13/2017
A stunning album
I admire the musician who doesn’t settle, one who keeps raising that musical bar and forever marching onwards and towards something new, exciting and fresh. That description suits Peter Calandra. The Road Home isn’t just special, it is an uplifting collection of magical compositions that will inspire and empower you along your way in life.
Listen to the quite breath taking opener called The New Dawn. The aspect of a new day breaking into our lives has been done by many, but here Calandra draws on a deeply spiritual narrative to make this one of the best dawn based tracks I have heard for eons. The utilisation of vocalisations by Joy Askew and the timely use of percussive crescendo, make this a simply sublime cinematic opener.
Mi Amore is up next, you will find lying underneath the satin sheets of music, one of the most chilled and sultry tracks you’re likely to hear. A delicate and delightfull mood can be found here and one that sets a scene perfectly for a moonlit night of sensual love under the stars.
I remember listening to a Morning Dove whilst in the states, now I listen to it here in Cyprus each morning. It gives me a sense of grounding within a new day that has started and wishes my participation in it. Calandra draws a very light essence of ambience here; his very delicate performance on keyboards and the dreamy nature of this piece all go to make it a total winner in my book. There is also a very clever backdrop of sound that builds with a simply lush perspective as the piece grows and the day shines, and yes, this was one of my favourite pieces off the release, a perfectly meditative slice of ambient genius.
Take a step now through this next musical doorway as we listen to the title track called of course, The Road Home. We know that Peter Calandra has created music for films and TV, and this amazing track is a prime example of his skills. A perfectly composed and arranged title header and one that I would not be surprised to hear on a television show at some stage in the near future.
The shortest piece on the album is at the midway section, and we can ease back and listen to the calming refrains of Night into Day, a composition so blessedly peace filled and calming, to ease us gently into the second half of the album, it is a track of transition and tranquil piano vibes.
The Cat’s Eye is upon us, this has a lightness of energy about its construction. Calandra is a master narrator of musical genius and with each note played it allows us to go with the flow of the music, it opens up our imagination and we always arrive at the end in a state of happiness and bliss. This piece feels like that to me, a lightness of heart and happiness, and a journey along summer roads. This one is well over 6 minutes of musical fulfilment, carefully layered with a slight Jazzy motif, it doesn’t get much better than this.
There was something very intriguing about this next piece; it is called Points in the Sky. The vast nature of this composition and the grand soundscape to which it has been manifested is without doubt supreme in its structure and stature. This emotive and masterful composition brought tears to my eyes and raised every hair on my skin; this has to be one, if not the best piece I have ever heard from the artist. This is what I call absolute genius and must surely be one that is selected for a track of the year award, and yes, you guessed it my favourite on the album.
The hovering nature of this next offering created such delightful warmth, and is called Nocturnal Moods. The smooth and confident performance here will thrill you; the added instrumentation gave the piece depth and class, and once more added a slight Jazz influence, with a little Latin feel dropped into the mix, simply the perfect early night time composition.
Our penultimate offering is called At First Sight. The bass and piano here make this a real chilled arrangement, the slight pause and change in performance made this a fascinating track to listen to, one felt a compulsion to just keep listening to find out exactly where we would be going next, a clever and wonderfully narrated song indeed.
Our last piece is called Distant Dreams, we have been on this musical sojourn with Peter Calandra throughout this release and have been charmed by the utter magnificence of performance and composition and here within this track, he leaves us with the perfect parting gift. The fluency and melodic nature are so endearing and delightful to listen to, and as such eases us out of the journey with a smile upon our faces. Calandra is at his very best on piano here.
The Road Home is a release that Calandra can be very proud of, he has brought into our musical continuum something truly captivating and entrancing. It is no wonder Calandra commands the respect he does. The master composer has not rested on his musical laurels; he has sought out perfection and pushed the boundaries once more, and in my view, has utterly succeeded with style and creativity. This has to be the best so far in his collection and one that you really should add to yours as well; as such I completely recommended this stunning album.
Rating: Excellent
Moorland Winds by Sarah Copus
- posted by Gail Roberts - Ceili Magazine on 7/4/2017
Stunning in its beauty and polish!
Sarah Copus is a local treasure, only 13 years old but with a resume many adult musicians would envy. She has had two albums hit the Billboard Charts and won Best Vocal Album Award from Zone Music Reporter Awards Show in 2015. Just this year, Sarah was a featured performer at the 2017 North Texas Irish Festival and has performed with internationally acclaimed groups such as Celtic Woman, The Irish Tenors and Celtic Thunder. Her musical skills include singing and playing the harp, violin, piano and ukulele.

Moorland Winds is her latest release and it is stunning in its beauty and polish. It’s a perfect showcase for both her talent as a harpist and her lovely singing voice. On several songs, she performs in both Gaelic and English, bringing an authenticity to traditional Irish tunes.

Beginning with the haunting Wind on the Moor, the ethereal melody of the harp transports the listener to a windswept moor, borne by her angelic rendition of Gaelic song of longing. The sweet sadness of remembering long ago love also comes through softly in her rendition of Fields of Gold.

Gleanntáin Ghlas’ Ghaoth Dobhair was made for Sarah’s haunting harp and delicate Gaelic voice. It really showcases her mastery of the instrument, conveying much emotion in her song. Lest you think this album is all delicacy and lightness, she captures the traditional spirit of festive dancing in Rights of Man/Off to California and Merrily Kiss the Quaker/The Mist Covered Mountain, as well as several other traditional songs.

Her arrangement of the classic Foggy Dew was not the usual aggressive almost martial sound one usually hears, but a thoughtful, melancholy lament of lost youth and lives given in search of freedom.

One of my favorites on this album was Walking in the Air. It’s mystical and magical and so exquisite. I could listen to this song over and over. Close your eyes, listen and you will be walking in the air and floating in the midnight sky along with Sarah.

For the ultimate enjoyment of the nuances and delicacy that a talented harpist can achieve, the haunting beauty of Dawning of the Day makes me appreciate the emotional impact of the instrument that is the ultimate symbol of Ireland – the harp.

The sound mixing in this album was pitch perfect and her arrangements suited both her voice and her instrument. It’s an excellent production and a pleasure to listen to.

Sarah’s skill at such a young age makes me excited to think of what a wonderful future she has ahead of herself making music. I look for her to be a Headliner at the North Texas Irish Festival in not too many years!
Rating: Excellent
All About Love: Music from the Heart by Ban Brothers
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 7/3/2017
A fine example of good quality world music
To kick off todays writing spree, I come across an album of global appeal, by the Ban Brothers, called All About Love. The title is apt, as it truly reflects just what the entire album is about, love in all its aspects.
This world, global fusion of Bollywood, and east meets west, is both colourful and inspiring, and contains a really beautiful production to its overall manifestation. The opening piece is called Bitee Huyee and is sung with such a smooth, soft gentle voice.
The influence of master music producer Ricky Kej is very evident on the album, and it’s great to hear and feel. On the next piece called Panchhee Banke we have some wonderful movement with the added percussion and strings in the mix, and the tempo is raised just that much, that this composition becomes fun and addictive to listen to, the female vocals of Supriya Joshi is simply stunning here.
These real life brothers in Gautam Banerjee and Swagata "Ban" Banerjee have really created something very special here, and on Tumi Bhorer Paakhi, a male song, we have a composition that has a delightful sense of mystery crafted into its weave and the vocals of Debasish Shome are a great narrator within it, this his sole appearance on the album.
The longest piece on, All About Love is called Jeevan Kee Nadiyaa and at well over six minutes, gives us the opportunity to explore the vast array of musical instrumentation used and once more, the imploring vocals of singer Supriya Joshi are incredible in bringing a track that has a real depth and weight to its construction.
Warm sounds of summer, birds and natural sounds, give us a real outdoors feel to the next song called Aaj Tum Tere. There is a smooth flowing tempo here; some delicate piano and a creative use of strings that is very appealing to listen to. The delivery of some very harmonic vocals is provided by the stylish Prajoth D'sa, in what is truly a lively, but controlled arrangement.
One of my personal favourites from the album was the symphonic offering called Chupi Chupi. The ever attractive singing of Supriya Joshi can be found at its best on this track, and we must also congratulate Debasish (Babu) Shome for his masterful whistling on this fantastic song, listen also to a very creative bass here on this piece.
As a guitarist, I really appreciated the opening of Dil Se Dil, a lively song this one with some wonderful acoustic work contained within, it also had a little 1960’s movie style in its construction, but that’s my western point of view, and also may have something to do with the very addictive and memorable orchestration in the song itself.
However full marks must go to the penultimate track off the album and a thoroughly outstanding song too, called Tumi Bhorer Paakhi. This for me had everything, a careful build, a sensual tempo and of course, the perfect response to the male version earlier, on track three.
Our last musical gift from the Ban Brothers is called Hum Se Zamaanaa and starts with an almost western dance or trance styled ethic, also incorporating a mix of electronica from the 80’s into its overall build, a lively and upbeat way to leave the release.
All about Love is a clever and well produced album, about the only subject in the world that really means anything, love. They have brilliantly produced a release which I feel may well catch the hearts and minds of western ears.
I must also state that it’s rare these days to find good quality artwork on albums, and it is so very refreshing to see an original piece created by artist Aniruddha Mukherjee for this release, it certainly raises the profile of the project splendidly. As they enjoy a roam along the corridors of music from Eastern culture, All About Love is a fine example of good quality world music, with its modern style and its crafted compositions, this could very well be the album that opens up a whole new realm of music to your ever eager ears, go on and give it a spin.
Rating: Excellent
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