REFLECTIONS OF HOPE
Joyce Handler's "Reflections of Hope" is the equivalent of a comforting backrub. In a stream of sonic synthesizers, that ebb and flow, Ms. Handler gears her music in the art of releasing pentup frustrations and anxiety. The music caresses your soul, revealing her gift of healing, masterfully expressed in her compositions. Joyce Handler has a knack for arranging thematic melodies. She creates a fertile ground where imagination and hope give rise to new possibilities of freedom. A freedom borne of compassion and nurturing, new perspectives and introspections. The feelings of joy and triumph permeated her music.
Overall, the music was well played. Ms. Handler presented a well defined musical sense of direction. Her melodic timing conveyed the message and spirit of her compositions. I sat back and let the music move me. I felt myself floating, drifting along peacefully. Her music has become an extension of the wisdom she has gained as a clinical psychologist. "Reflections of Hope" is Joyce Handler's offering to a wounded world. A true, natural form of healing music that cajoles us back to our senses, nudging us to grow and be alive.
For more information, call (909) 9805247 or write to Healing Art, 600 No. Mountain Ave., Suite B-205
Liberty Bloom Music
To understand the significance of Phil Harrington's new release, "Voce," some background information needs to be given. Harrington found his inner voice while participating in a workshop entitled "Transformational Ritual." He began to teach the technique of releasing your inner voice. The term "Voce" (Italian for voice) was coined by an associate and eventually stuck.
Harrington's technique allows the voice to become an instrument. It is a mixture of syncopations and phrasings. He sings in a speaking voice, sometimes actually crooning at other times chanting. The music is quirky and catchy, closely resembling a modern pop/funk style.
The messages in Harrington's lyrics bespeak of a man struggling in the realm of self actualization. The trials and tribulations, explorations and realizations that guide the seekers/ finder are blended together into a contemporaneous portrait of a man sharing his insights and truths. The potential of Phil Harrington's vocal style lies within the realms of personal expression and the sharing of beliefs. The confluence of our audio voice with the reverberation of our soul's voice sets into motion the ability to articulate intimate truths. Within these truths, Harrington shares his vision, his pain, his dream and aspirations.
The title track "Voce" features Harrington and eight others releasing their inner voices. The release brings into focus a depth of emotion that is transcendent and inspirational. The feeling was reminiscent of the psychedelic experiences, a shifting focus combined with spontaneous movement rotating freely to form an amorphous sound that took on a life of its own. Very interesting indeed.
For more information about "Voce" call (213) 694-1475, or write to Liberty Bloom Music, P.0. Box 42211 Los Angeles, CA 90042.
Sire Records CO.
"Sister Drum" represents the cutting edge in today's music. Dadawa (Zhu Zheqin) and He Xuntian have combined their talents to produce a musical stream of consciousness. Xuntian's composing and arranging skills presented a rare listen to avant garde Chinese/Tibetan music. Dadawa's cathartic vocal stylings revealed a sensuous woman searching for meaning in the spiritualism of Tibetan culture. Dadawa is to China what Alanis Morrisette is to Canada and the USA. The trepidation of today's youth is proffered in angst and emotion. These raw feelings allow Dadawa to bridge the cultural and lingual gaps. She has a strong voice that flows with grace and control. There is a kindness and gentility that intimately reverberates your heart strings. Behind the music, behind the Lyrics, awaits real emotion, feelings and sensitivities to the world around us.
There is a fascinating realization about Dadawa'a and Xuntians's project. The perspectives and reasons that are explored by today's Generation X'ers are not far removed from the messages of "Sister Drum." We are all searching for answers and meanings, in this synchronicity lies the spontaneity of life. This is a real message for the world.
For more information about "Dadawa" call (310) 288-3806 or write to 345 North Maple Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210.
THE BEAUTY OF THE SLEEPING FOREST
Inner Worlds Music
Sid Tepper is a story teller. Each instrument, flutes, whistles, acoustic guitar, oboe, harp and keyboards revealed the voice of experience and feelings that words alone can not describe. Each song divulged its own mood and setting, evoking a range of emotions from melancholy to unbridled bliss.
Tepper's music speaks to you. If you listen you will hear the words in the melody. The instruments are vessels of soul, the musical dialogue bespeaks of the majestic and transcendent. One moment you are soaring through the clouds from the eagles' eye, the mountains, valleys and streams pass by. The next moment you are walking through the forest, surrounded by enchantment and mystery. Sid Tepper's ability to musically express actual events in his life is truly a gift. In the song, "Sunday Afternoon Affair," the moment was tender and definitely from a male point of view.
Tepper is an inspired artist, when the muse is upon him he creates. The music was never forced, pouring freely, sometimes cascading, sometimes spiraling, other times droplets bursting, then flowing effortlessly, seamlessly. The multicultured influences added a flair of individuality to the music. It was not unusual to hear a classical cadence with a folky/canticle feel. This was a subtle form of fusion music combining traditional contemporary and cultural influences making "The Beauty of the Sleeping Forest" an adventure in good listening.
For more information about Sid Tepper, call (800) 444-9678 or write to 154 Betasso Rd., Boulder, C0 80302
Press Pak Public Relations
Listening to Shakeh Herbekian' "Undeniably Yours" is an intimate experience. Shakeh is a woman with no qualms about baring her soul. In opening her heart to all who will listen, she reveals poignant revelations about her troubled relationship. She explores her feelings showing all sides of the human condition, taking blame when necessary, realizing her strengths and weaknesses.
The music was catchy and contemporary. Mostly romantic ballads that had the proper guitar hooks and strong backup vocals that could fit this music within more than one radio format. Shakeh's vocals were smooth yet emotional. She reminded me of Carly Simon or a very laid back Pat Benatar.
"Undeniably Yours" is a story of true love through the eyes of a hopeless romantic. Shakeh shows that true love, unrequited or otherwise, discloses who we really are. What separates Shakeh from other artists performing the same topical songs is her sincerity. Her loyalty and devotion portrayed a grounded woman whose demeanor and charm makes her attractive and irresistible. She is not relating her experiences just to sell her CD. Shakeh meant every word she sang. In doing so, her position and feelings about love had no sexual barrier, we're all in this situation together.
THE MYSTIC HARP Derek Bell
Music in the Celtic Tradition
By J. Donald Walters
Clarity Sound and Light
If you are at all familiar with traditional Irish music, the group "The Chieftains" should come to mind immediately. Derek Bell, harpist for"The Chieftains" since 1972, applies his multiinstrumental talents to this collection of Celtic traditional songs. J. Donald Walters, an arranger and composer of varied cultural music, showed his penchant for capturing the meaning, truth and intuitive soul of traditional music by writing the songs.
Derek Bell's propensity for expression is explored through the Celtic harp, concert harp, oboe and English horn. Bell brings the sensitivity of true Irish heart to the music. The music is lilting and poignant, signifying the pain, survival and triumph that prevails throughout Ireland's history. Bell's interpretations also bring to life the visual imagery of Ireland. The music floats and drifts over hill and around craggy cliffs, harkening to the beauty and mystery of the Emerald Isle.
"The Mystic Harp" is a definitive collection of songs. The heart of Ireland has a commonality to all who will listen. Bell and Walters should be applauded for revealing the tenderness of the Irish spirit, a spirit that has endured through many troubled times.
For more information call 1-800) 4241055, or write to 14618 Tyler- Foote Road, Nevada City, CA 95959.
Chuck Diliberto is a resident of New York state. Having written for a home town publication that covered local and national musicians, reviewing CDs is an extension of that experience. Chuck has also written short stories, children's stories and essays on a wide variety of subjects. His main interests are spiritual in nature, and right living in practice. If you would like to have a CD reviewed, please submit two copies to Awareness Magazine, 5011 1 Argosy, Suite 3, Huntington Beach, CA 92649.
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