Image © 2000
(23 June 2000) Spirits of the World (Earthtone (USA) 963-277-922-2, 2000)
is one the better various artist compilation albums available today. Our
exploration of the album was initially inspired by Miriam Stockley's recording
entitled "Brave New World." As expected, her contribution was exceptional,
but the other songs presented an unexpected and surprisingly good bonus.
In fact, the first cut on the album, "Lyra," by Celtic Spirit, is a very
close rival to Miriam's "Brave New World." It is a thoroughly enjoyable
"Lyra," by Celtic Spirit, a hauntingly beautiful song, is very close to our
favorite on the album. The nostalgic a capella introduction gives way to a
lively, upbeat musical accompaniment which leaves no doubt that it is a
traditional Irish ballad. Ikarus' "In My Deepest Dreams," features
Middle-Eastern vocals and percussion mixed with electronic accompaniment
and produces a pleasant, upbeat listening experience. Godvina can always
be counted on to produce interesting, unique sounds. "Compassion" is no
exception. It is very difficult to categorize; a touch of Indian, Spanish,
Middle-Eastern, and a few others we couldn't identify. The homogeny of
styles and instruments creates a unique and appealing musical event.
"Summertime," by Angelique Kidjo is on of the most enjoyable renditions of
Gershwin's Summertime that I've ever heard. It is sung in an African language
and accompanied by traditional and non-traditional instrumentation. The
total affect is pure listening pleasure. "Turale" by Yasue is haunting,
seductive and thoroughly enjoyable. Upbeat, with interesting melodic intertwines,
it is sung in an invented language, with unusual, unexpected vocal mixing.
"Namah Shivaya," by Krishna Das is a Hindu chant, set to upbeat percussions,
with interesting vocals.
As a chant it is somewhat repetitive and might not appeal to a broad audience.
Natacha Atlas' "Mon Amie La Rose" will certainly steal your heart.
The style is a mixture of Middle-Eastern and Asian, the language is French, and
the beautiful, seductive voice of Natcha Atlas brings it all together in an
intoxicating, erotic musical experience certain to please listeners.
"Brave New World" by Julia Taylor-Stanley and sung by Miriam Stockley is one
of our favourites from the album. Miriam Stockley, is one of the most talented singers/composers in existence today. And her voice is purely angelic. Given that,
the track will appeal to the broadest of audiences. Sung in English, with African
choral overlays, it is a celebration of Africa, Miriam's home. Totally,
thoroughly enjoyable, the song is the best on the album. Primal Instinct's
"Heart of the Rainforest" is relaxing, meditative, with the lush rain forest
quietly overlaying the music. The mild percussions and flute prevent the common
desire to doze off to environmentally inspired music. "Hope," by Bryan Miller
begins with a quiet, serene score, which is gently modified with percussions and
background vocals. The connection to a Central American primitive culture, as
described in the insert, is obvious throughout. The theme of hope is solidly
pronounced in this delightful instrumental.
Gaia's "The New World" can best be described as electronic and primitive.
With the introduction of the vocal chanting, it almost sounds as if it might be
Australian or Native American inspired. Whatever the inspiration, the deep
spirituality of the song is its primary message and it is delivered with skill
and talent. "Lhasa Love," by Suzanne Teng is a lively Chinese folk instrumental. Charmingly beautiful throughout, the children audibly playing in the background
lend an added touch of cultured innocence. "Shivo'ham, Shivo'ham," by Dave Stringer
is Middle-Eastern in style, the combination of instruments and vocals creates an
obvious spiritual production that is pleasing, without the repetitive chanting
found in the previously described Namah Shivaya. As with Godvina, Dead Can Dance
can always be relied on to produce the unusual and unexpected. In "Yulunga," there
is an obvious Middle-Eastern overtone, but the vocals remind of a Native American
influence. A unique and penetrating musical experience.
This thoroughly enjoyable album will appeal to new age and female vocal
enthusiasts alike. You can order Spirits Of The World at a variety
of online shops including amazon.com by clicking
here. With a stunning new track by Miriam Stockley bracketed by excellent
work by various artists it is certainly a
must listen!—K. Donald Baer.