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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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Notes from a Journey
By Kristin Amarie
Label: Kristin Amarie Music
Notes from a Journey tracks
1. First Light
2. Amore Eterno
3. Prayers
4. Beloved (and I'll Dream in Blue)
5. Winter in Shimla
6. Without You
7. Fra Beatrice
8. Evening Bells
9. Elusion
10. Sulla Meg Lit
Nota Bene
Take note of this world traveler, for her seraphic voice will surely inspire your next musical journey. World music songstress Kristin Amarie takes her rightful place in the New Age/world arena with such notables as Sarah Brahman, Seay, and Hayley Westenra with the release of her album Notes from a Journey. The captivating ten-track album is a mixed bag of genres, but all sung with a balance of verve and delicacy. Popular music, light opera, and stage musical numbers are on the album and the combination is appealing in many ways. The accompanying music is rich and vivid and features one tune, Without You, with world-renowned pianist David Lanz at the keyboard.

If you imagine that each and every sunrise is produced by angels placing the daystar into its rightful position, then First Light is what you are probably hearing in the background. The sweet cooing sound of Amarie is uplifting and sumptuous. It is proof positive that sound is transformed into light.

A bit of electronic intro begins the song Amore Eterno, sounding like a James Bond theme or something from Paul Schwartz, both good things. The guitar is samba-like as Kristin creates her own brand of polyphony. The song is a lullaby for lovers, a prayer for safekeeping and a promise of eternal love.

Winter in Shimla is a snowy adventure into a mystical place. Somewhere in the Himalayas is the magical world of Simla. The sprightly trip into the mountains reveals towering, snow-laden trees that bow to the mountains and azure waterfalls frozen in time. The tempo is lively in this frosty, exotic tune with Kristin's warm vocal as our guide. Keep up, there’s a lot to see.

Without You sounds Enya-esque with its strong plucked cadence (Orinoco Flow) and colorful melody, but that is a close as she gets to Enya. Kristin's tone is not even close to Enya's. It is all her delightful style. The elegant waltz is a love song of swirling emotion like a princess on the dance floor. As the charming prince takes her in his arms, hearts entwine and the story has a happy ending. The lyrics are as memorable as a W. B. Yeats poem and the piano interlude is pure, enchanting Lanz-work.

Evening Bells turned out to be my favorite on the album. The interplay of voice and flute has an engaging balance. The haunting, wordless melody is unforgettable. Kristin's evocative vocal adds a sweet note of sadness to the song. It is a cantata to catch your breath from the weary day, a pause in the life that allows for reflection.

Sulla Meg Litt is a Norwegian lullaby or Bånsull. Kristin's voice really shines in this simple tune with scant guitar and silver flute. Putting the baby to bed has never been more heartfelt and tender in this old air. It is a fine finish for the album. I’m a little sleepy.

Kristin Amarie is a world-class singer that crosses several genres. Her voice is quite pure and inspiring and her compositions have great lyric to music balance. Speaking of music, she is very well accompanied on Notes From A Journey by Tony Aiello on flute and sax, Joe Deninzon on violin, David Lanz on course, on piano, and Alex Salzman on keyboards and guitar. There are never enough great voices catering to the New Age listeners, but this is surely one of them worth hearing.
Rating: Very Good   Very Good
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 4/11/2014
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