(01 April 2002) The latest album from New York's Sylvia Tosun, entitled Anthem (Sylvia Tosun (USA), 2002), is comprised of twelve tracks featuring ten national anthems plus remixes of two featured in a more traditional arrangement. Tosun writes, "We are all different. We are all the same. Countless divisions. One voice. Anthem." A great concept that has been incredibly produced. Sylvia's unique arrangements of these classic pieces are certain to enthrall Musical Discoveries readers. The website makeover includes soundbites, a series of new photos and an updated gig guide.
Sylvia Tosun's critically acclaimed debut album Too Close To The Sun (review and interview) drew broad attention from the music press, female vocalist enthusiasts and October Project / November Project fans. Her latest project features equally stunning vocal work and charts the artist's further development by re-inventing ten of the best-known national anthems. Breaking from traditional arrangements, Anthem's musical and vocal styles range from electronica to world-ethno pop. The countries featured are Great Britain, Canada, Austrailia, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan, Israel, France and the United States.
On Anthem, Tosun is joined with Hungarian arranger/producer Miklos and New York-producer Harold Stephan and world-class violinist, Allison Cornell. Tosun comments, "The contrast of the folkloric quality of "Hatikvah"'s melody--a 2000 year old piece of music--to the high tech arrangement of the "God Save The Queen" remix suggests that while humanity is as old as the ages it is also as new as its technology and interpretation, allowing limitless possibilities."
Anthem is not merely a collection of national anthems--instead, it is a dramatic production blending contemporary sensibility with some of the world's most well-known themes. Listeners will be delighted with each number from the modern layered vocal, electronic and orchestral violin arrangement of "The Star Spangled Banner." Sung in Hebrew and influenced with worldly techno percussion and backing vocals, the Israeli national anthem "Hatikva" explores dramatic excursion's of Sylvia's vocal range. In sharp contrast, a whispy interpretation of "God Save The Queen" with piano accompaniment follows. Crystalline vocal layers add texture in the latter half of the recording.
The upbeat worldly percussive interpretation of the French national anthem is certainly one of the album's standout numbers. We especially enjoyed soaring vocal expression of national loyalty and additional harmony layers in Syliva's delivery. The heavily layered wordless vocalise interpretation of the Russian anthem is perfectly supported by light electronic and string arrangements. The instrumental solo is especially notable.
Sylvia's arrangement of the Canadian national anthem is one of the most traditional on the album with only the percussion and a lovely acoustic guitar solo taking on more of a modern flavour. The arrangement of Germany's national anthem is a swirling dance-oriented electronic mix with the vocals soaring well above. Sylvia's crystalline vocals--in a very Sarah Brightman-like arrangement--dominate the upbeat Italian anthem.
Another certain standout, Australia's anthem is arranged as a gentle ballad with evocative vocal, guitar and piano blending perfectly with additional harmony layers. We especially enjoyed Sylvia's harmonies and the more powerful moments within the vocal performance. Sylvia picks up with the Japanese anthem where she left off with Austrailia's. Arrangements are light and airy perfectly supporting a lovely vocal.
The upbeat and extended dance remixes of the Israel and Great Britain anthems conclude the album in significant contrast but build on a sound introduced earlier in the recording. Clearly this is an imaginative album--whose release has been perfectly timed by sheer coincidence--with memorable melodies and stunning vocal performances by an artist that continues to amaze her listeners. Certain to please a vast range of audiences Anthem is worth a trans-Atlantic journey and is a must listen!