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Gabrielle Angelique Echo
Image © 1998 Lantern Productions 

(13 May 2000) Gabrielle Angelique's stunning and richly arranged song "Ancient Souls" is featured in the Celtic Mystique compilation (review). Hailing from Minneapolis, MN, Gabrielle's debut album, Echo (Lantern Productions (USA), 1998), includes thirteen vocally- or instrumentally-oriented tracks with a variety of keyboard-based instrumentation. With the exception of lyrics on two of the album's tracks ("Star Seeds" and "Where I Run To" by Anna Klein), the entire project was written and performed by the artist herself; the recording was completed when she was only 17 and was digitally mastered on her Yamaha MX-3. The title of the album is based on a poem by Christina Rosetti (1830-1894); Renaissance fans will recall that Rosetti wrote the hymn "In The Bleak Midwinter" recorded by Annie Haslam and Michael Dunford as Nevada in 1980.

Gabrielle's debut album drew attention from Tandem Music's Graham Way who arranged for Gabrielle to train with Canada's Jan Cooper, one of North America's top pop vocal and talent development coaches. The resulting three-way collaboration produced "Ancient Souls" for Celtic Mystique when Gabrielle was 18—the song illustrates significant artistic development from her debut and the tremendous potential of this singer / songwriter / harpist. Gabrielle has just finished her first solo harp album. Entitled Light, it will be released in June 2000.

Echo's tracks are primarily soft ballads or instrumentals alternating between classical derivations, new age sounds and soft rock. Many of the tracks feature complex orchestral arrangements while soaring vocal excursions are most reminscent of progressive rock artist Sally French especially in the incredible epic "The Third Insight." Moody and evocative soprano vocals carry many of the songs and are supported by lovely and highly impressive classically-derived and expansive instrumental arrangements. "Creation," "Monsoon" and "Where I Run To" both contain a stunning piano solos.

Masterful of her keyboard both in songwriting and arranging as well as instrumental sample selections, Gabrielle's songs are equally written to demonstrate the breadth of her vocal talent. Multi-tracking is used in various places within the album to add texture and additional dimension to the songs. Vocal passages are evocative, sensual and sensitive, soaring to effectively illustrate emotional content.

Ocean effects compliment instrumental arrangements in "Ancient Travelers," an upbeat instrumental piece that effectively combines new age sounds with contemporary themes. A similar sound emerges from the lovely instrumental "Awakening" while "Star Seeds" is a folk rock ballad with a rich orchestral arrangement and a stunning lead vocal part. The album concludes with "Where I Run To," a lovely ballad sung over light piano accompaniment.

Gabrielle's debut album is available from the artist's website. Echo is a lovely album in all respects. With expressive vocals and imaginative songwriting, it is a fantastic introduction to this talented young woman and certainly worth a long-distance journey; we think it is a must listen!

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