(09 January 2002) I have been following Miriam's career since Adiemus became popular in 1995, and it seems that the wonderful musical experiences will not be ending yet. Miriam's superb voice still warms, relaxes, soothes and gives power on this brand newsolo album of her, Second Nature (Flavour Of Sound (Japan)FVCK 80146, 2001).
Already when listening the album for the very first time I wastaken by surprise how much Miriam has improved through theseyears that I have been listening her music. Her new album isvery versatile, both compositionally and when taking also otherkinds of musical aspects into account.
On Second Nature, there are even more different musicalstyles that have been mixed together: thanks to her versatility,Miriam can now sing nearly whatever style is wanted. Forexample, "Ifemeli" has Afro-American (even Latin American)influences, "Butterfly" shows how well Miriam's voice suits jazz singing, while the sweet "A Finnish Summer Night - Finlandia" is a superb ballad-type song and one of my absolutefavourites! I think that the African mood is the most recognisable style used, but for a South-African born singer it's a small wonder.
But I think that writing lyrics in many languages instead of usingEnglish all the time is nowadays an important thing: by doing thisit is one of the most outstanding ways to personalise as asinger-songwriter. Otherwise the singers would be far toosimilar.
All the pieces are catchy and it's not difficult at all tolisten to them. Only the increased usage of electrical instrumentsand drums may annoy some of the fans who have been used tolike the peaceful solo album Miriam. Also, although thereare some "Adiemus-like" characteristics in some of the pieces,this doesn't mean that the album is more like Adiemus. Instead,it's 100% Miriam Stockley, mainly Miriam's own style in itspurest with only few things in common with Adiemus.
In addition to the new "Finlandia" version--the composer isby the way one of Karl Jenkins's favourites, Mr. Jean Sibelius--there is one song which some of the fans may have heard before,and this is "Massai Rain." Because it was not released in all overthe world a while back, I think that it was a good thing to havethe track included in Second Nature because there are manyfans who haven't had any chances to get the track heard beforethis.
Now that Miriam has released two recent solo albums, it would be a good time to get her on to stage to perform these wonderful songs throughout the world and therefore makeher own music more known, because it deserves to becomeas world-renowned as her other "project", Adiemus! A music video or two might be a better solution in the meantime,but it's never too late to stop hoping for that there may be someconcerts organised in the future. At least we have nowtwo recent first-class albums to be enjoyed: Miriamand this brand new release Second Nature!--Suvi Kaikkonen
Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.comhere. Clearly worth a trans-Atlantic journey, this Miriam Stockley is a must listen!