||“Marya Stark is LOVE. Like a sacred, healing prayer, “SAPPHIRE” is gorgeous and profound.” – Dyan Garris
Marya Stark is a gifted vocalist, composer, performer, and multi-instrumentalist. Along with that, I would say she is also a “mystical creature,” a true “Divine Feminine.”
As well, Marya is a “curator of therapeutic concept albums.” In addition to her latest album, “Sapphire,” she has released a journey album for recovery, and a children’s collection based in mindfulness and energetic awareness. The album, “Sapphire,” is a collaboration with award-winning composer, Joshua Penman. Marya wrote the songs on “Sapphire,” and is co-producer with Joshua. As well as her vocal performance here, she also performs on guitar.
Sapphire is an “orchestrated concept album,” weaving themes of “mystical love,” “Divine Feminine wisdom,” and more, into an epic, captivating story. Also contained herein is a strong message from the “Glaciers,” for the people of Earth. That message is to “thaw the frozen heart and restore balance to the waters within.” My semi-educated guess is that Marya is a messenger of sorts for the “return of the Sapphire light” and is thus bringing healing light to the heart and to the planet:
“The return of the Sapphire light within awakens
A revelation of a naturally arising fountain of miracles
Ushering in a return to balanced Bliss-Wisdom
To support all beings in living integrally with the Nature Muses of Earth.”
That is very profound. And the music is equally as profound. If this album and its accompanying visuals don’t manage to thaw the frozen heart, I’m not sure what will. Nothing, I suspect.
“Sapphire” is 10 beautiful vocal tracks with some of the most interesting lyrics I’ve ever come across. Deep. Moving. The album is like a sacred prayer. To get the full experience of “Sapphire,” and I do mean experience, you MUST visit her website, www.MaryaStark.com, because to go along with this epic album is a one hour official music video, plus an amazing – completely amazing – visual production that is a “must see.” Stunningly beautiful.
The album opens with “Echo.” This is a wonderful beginning to this album. There is something very special and sweet about Marya’s voice. Yet, at the same time, it seems to be one that you know and remember from somewhere deep in your soul. You know this person. You know this voice. She is LOVE. “Echo” is equally as memorable. Here is a small sampling of some of the lyrics for this song:
“. . .when I blew upon your forehead, so you knew that I was true
and when the wind now blows, you feel me and remember
waterfalls of diamonds pour into your sweet surrender. . .”
“Stargazer” is a dramatic and enjoyable orchestral-pop piece, which was arranged and produced by Joshua Penman. As well, it was the first release from the album. Along with Marya’s vocals and lyrics, vocalist Elijah Ray joins Marya here, adding even more depth and texture in perfect harmony. Wonderful!
Following is “In Between.” I love this. Flowing, sweet. Heart-touching. Mark Quinn on percussion gives the song a great beat. The guitar is beautiful, along with the perfect vocal. The song also features Guillermo Laporta on the Penny Whistle and Charith Premawardhana on violin and viola, all making a beautiful, soothing, soundscape.
The title track is a favorite and is about love (and feeling) returning. This is haunting and ethereal, with that very memorable and gorgeous voice Marya has been gifted with, superb production, plus nice guitar, cool beat, and of course, profound, heart-touching lyrics:
“I saw Sapphire spinning around me
shaking Holy ground
and my frozen heart is melting
and I feel
I can feel it all. . .”
“Blood Of The Stone” is multi-layered and fascinating. Ditto for “Celestial Butterflies” which is another beautiful, multi-layered tapestry. This one has a whimsical feeling, balanced nicely with strong drumming, as well as both male (Travis Puntarelli) and female vocals. This perfectly captures the feeling of “celestial butterflies.”
“Negra Luz” is beautifully sung in Spanish with a haunting, sweet, and memorable quality. This is hope and light in the dark. Gorgeous.
“negra luz esperanza (black light hope)
flor del agua (flower of the water)
lava mi alma lava me (wash my spirit)”
Another favorite on “Sapphire” is “Baptism.” This is sweet and gentle, yet full of depth and wisdom at the same time. Love the violin, viola, cello, and bass. The mandolin adds another great texture (Phil Lawrence). Pop The Cat joins Marya on vocals here as well. Delightful and wonderful.
“As I am baptised in a downpour of stars
by the depth of the souls that we are
holding this golden thread that we weave
a moment so woken
hold me, all I can do is
breathe. . .”
“The waters are rising. . .” in “Crystal Chambers.” Here our hearts are starting to thaw and become unfrozen. Along with the other instrumentation, the piano by Joshua Penman adds to the depth. The percussion is done in such a way where it feels like a heartbeat. Very nice!
The album closes out with “Rose Lineage.” Here is another gorgeous vocal by Marya, who is joined by Mama Crow on vocals as well. Benjy Wertheimer on the Esraj gives this a mystical, Eastern vibe.
“A Rose Blooms
When She is ready
When She is ready
and not a moment too soon.”
Are you ready? This is a stunningly beautiful, unique production filled with healing light that all should experience.
Available digitally as well as a physical CD, get “SAPPHIRE” on your favorite streaming platform, Marya’s official online store: http://www.marya-stark.com/music-1#store, or directly here at Bandcamp: https://maryastark.bandcamp.com/album/sapphire
Ed & Stacey Bonk
SAPPHIRE - released September 17, 2020
Marya Stark- Songwriter, Co-Producer, Vocals, Guitar
Joshua Penman- Producer and Arrangements
Andy Zenzack- Mixing, Engineering
Alberto Hernandez- Engineering
Cian Riordan- Mastering
Elijah Ray- Vocals (2)
Trill Lebeau- Vocals (7)
Mama Crow- Vocals (10)
Travis Puntarelli- Vocals (5, 6)
Pop The Cat- Vocals (8)
Daniel Berkman- Kora
David Brewer- Bodhran (4, 6, 10)
Benjy Wertheimer- Esraj (6, 10)
Phil Lawrence- Mandolin (7, 8)
Guillermo Laporta- Penny Whistle (3)
Joshua Penman- Percussion and Piano (5, 9)
Matt Szmela- Violin (1, 2, 5, 8, 9)
Charith Premawardhana- Violin and Viola (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9)
Chat Katlinger- Viola (1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9)
Lewis Patzner- Cello (1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9)
Sascha Jacobsen- Bass (1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9)
Mark Quinn- Percussion (1, 2, 3, 5, 8)
Dawn Richardson- Percussion (2, 9)
Andy Z- Percussion (5)
Jah Levi- Bass Drum (5)