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Current concise reviews of the albums by adult alternative, contemporary, and crossover artists. Images of album artwork and links to both internet-based resources are always included. Click on the title to view the article.

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The Myth Of Red CD Cover
Image © OmTown Music 2002

Interview and Photos
  (02 August 2002) Joining forces with producer Frank Fitzpatrick and DJ Mark Raskin, the classically trained opera singer, Sasha Lazard has released her thematic debut album, The Myth of Red (OmTown Music (USA), 2002). As explained inalbum's liner notes, Sasha believes that the color red represents various traits of the female spirit, among other things.

The ear-catching opener "Stabat Mater IXXI" is derived from Baroque composer Pergolesi's work of the same name. Sasha provides both foreground and harmony vocals that intertwine passionately with snake-charmer percussion, cello, and subtle synthetic textures. The end-result is a captivatingly romantic soundscape.

Another treat is the funked-up version of Caccini's "Ave Maria" entitled "Ode to Innocence." This same melody was given a choral treatment by Paul Schwartz on the Aria 2 (review) album. Sasha's music video of the track (see interview for further comments) filmed in exotic surroundings is visually enticing and illustrates her sensually graceful and dance-oriented movements.A vocally augmented choir opens with a haunting refrain on Sasha's version. Guest vocalist E-Day adds interesting and effective ethnic-based chants to the song.

Tracks like the techno/salsa flavored "Forbidden Dance" and "Battle of Erishkigal" (featuring DJ Spooky) move into the trance and dance realm and provide lively breaks throughout the album. Other pieces like the Chopin-influenced "Romance" are actually more traditional in style but nonetheless performed by Sasha with panache and sensitivity.

David Shamban--who extracts the most luminous sounds from the cello--adds a lush texture to the divine and appropriately-titled electronica track "Angeli." Sasha's performance of the "Princess Mononoke Theme Song" is simply heart-rending. Although the track is only 1:33, the pristine power of Sasha's voice is on full display demonstrating her formidable talent as a singer. It is difficult not to be awed by the tonal clarity and vibrancy of Sasha's vocals which are backed on this track by gentle strings.

Fans of Emma Shaplin (feature),Sarah Brightman (La Luna review,Classics review),Aria, and Operatica will find much to appreciate in The Myth of Red. Sasha is an expert and gifted chanteuse, without doubt. Her selection and adaptation of established classical works is indicative of an artistic ability to marry past and present in creative ways. With such a promising debut, Sasha may very well be the next international classical-crossover superstar to reign in the charts.--Justin Elswick

Click on the link to read our indepth interview with Sasha Lazard.Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the albumfrom amazon.comhere.Clearly worth a trans-Atlantic journey, The Myth of Red is a mustlisten!

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