(29 August 2010) The Welsh vocalist Christina Booth (Magenta, Trippa, Caamora) is based in Cardiff. While she has been singing her whole life, her career took off since connecting with Rob Reed where the duo formed Trippa. Their 1999 EP drew attention to the project and to the singer. The full length Trippa album Sorry finally emerged in 2006. Christina provided backing vocals to several tracks on Reed's Cyan project before Trippa. Afterwards Christina and Rob worked together Magenta's five studio albums, two live albums and two DVDs. With Magenta, Christina Booth was named a Musical Discoveries featured artist in 2004. Of the over 1,000 reviews in this publication there are only sixteen featured artists today.
Christina's vocal work will appeal to a wide range of audiences and her voice has been likened to Renaissance's Annie Haslam. In fact, Annie introduced Magenta at RosFest in 2005 and sang a version of the title tracl on Magenta's Night and Day EP. Christina sang another version on the same EP. See comments from Annie and Christina about the project at Magenta's website here. Christina's recordings are therefore certain to delight Annie Haslam and Renaissance fans.
Christina also collaborated with Clive Nolan on Caamora's She album in 2008. With Clive's troup, she performed the rock opera with Caamora (website) in Poland, Argentina and Bolivia. She also appears on the DVD of the show's premiere at the Wyspianski Theatre in Katowice, Poland. Christina has also recently contributed vocals to the forthcoming Parsivals Eye (website) album Fragments where she has worked alongside Chris Postl (RPWL), Ian Bairnson (Alan Parsons Project), Alan Reed (Pallas), Hannes Weigend, Ossi Schaller Yogi Lang (RPWL) and Martin Keeser.
Word of Christina's solo album first reached our editorial staff in the early summertime of 2008. Since that time the artist has evolved an online presence with an official website and up-to-date MySpace and FaceBook sites. April 2010 saw the release of Christina's album Broken Lives & Bleeding Hearts (Tigermoth Records (UK) TMR010, 2010). Ten accessible tracks spanning the artist's varied styles have been extremely well produced, engineered and mixed by Rob Reed. The album was recorded at Big Studios between 2007 and 2009. The outstanding three panel gatefold digipak and 16-page booklet accompanying the CD were designed by Rossella Buemi (MySpace).
Christina contributes lyrics and lead vocals to the album and is supported by a wide ranging supporting cast of talented musicians including members of the Magenta line-up. These include: Rob Reed (keyboards, piano, bass, acoustic and electric guitars); Chris Fry (classical guitar and acoustic guitar); John Mitchell (lead guitar on "Deep Oceans," "Do or Die," and backing vocals on "Immortality," "Down To The River"); Steve Blsamo (lead vocal on "Immortality," backing vocal on "Free," "Tales of Broken Hearts"); Fran Brimble (backing vocals); Troy Donockley (uillean pipes); Ryan Aston (drums); Andy 'Wal" Couglan (fretless bass on "Deep Oceans," "Immortality) and Kieran Bailey (drums on "Hanging by a Thread," "Helen's Song"). In addition to the cover photo that embraces the digipak and the booklet, seven beautiful illustrations are included inside.
The album's music not only spans Christina's work with Trippa, Magenta and ChimpanA. It also includes several stunning singer songwriter tracks. The album opens with "Free," an upbeat track with a somewhat ChimpanA styling although it is a true hybrid of Magenta, Trippa and ChimpanA when peeled back to basic ingredients. Soaring vocal work will bring tingles to every listener. The robust bass and light brassy arrangement contributes to the singer songwriter style of "Way Back To My Heart." The vocal work is stunningly produced; Fran Brimble's backing vocals add contrasting harmonies in the chorus.
"Deep Oceans" is a more richly arranged singer songwriter track. Listen for the rich rhythm section and warm keyboard washes. Christina's vocals gently soar above the arrangement and are backed with lush self-harmonies. The guitar solos are also tremendous. An 'Oceans Deep Jem Godfrey Remix' bonus track is also included on the album. In contrast, the remix has stripped back the vocals and altered the arrangement to deliver a substantially more angular version of the track giving the album additional breadth.
The bluesy "Down to the River" builds further on the style later in the album. The upbeat primarily acoustic guitar backing of the "Hanging By A Thread" rocker provides a notable stylistic contrast within the album. Harmony vocals add thickness to the sung passages. The warm ballad "Tales of Broken Hearts" continues to establish the breadth of Christina's solo album. Rich arrangements in the chorus add depth to the overall sound. "Helen's Song" is a lovely singer songwriter track sung atop acoustic guitar and additional light instrumentation that builds in the chorus. Christina's performance is everso delicate in this tenderly delivered track.
The most Magenta-feeling track is the album standout "Reel Life." Rich string-based arrangements support the singer's crystalline and soaring vocal work in this accessible rock track. Listeners will be drawn in by the guitar work during the instrumental break between the stunning vocal passages. A Trippa-styled but somewhat downtempo track entitled "Do Or Die" is wonderfully arranged to highlight the power of Christina's vocal work. Individual instruments appear with tremendous clarity in support of the lead and harmony vocals. The album's last original track is "Immortality." With strong allusions to both the Magenta and ChimpanA sound, Steve Balsamo's vocal harmonies and the instrumental arrangements provide the foundation for Christina's evocatively delivered vocal performance.
The Broken Lives & Bleeding Hearts CD is presently available from the the Magenta website and at Magenta's live performances. The album will eventually be available at Christina's website and at amazon.com; the link is provided for reference only. This is a most stunning album and wonderful collection of recordings by Christina Booth.
Our staff adored Christina's vocal work since Magenta's Revolutions and this solo project more than adequately shows her vocal prowess. Bravo!