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(06 June 2003) Sarah Brightman has returned with an all new recording entitled Harem (Angel Records (USA) 37180-2, 2003). Originally slated for release in March 2003, it was held back--given its theme--to give world tensions a chance to ease. The artist's stunning soprano voice has sold more than 15 million records worldwide. A musical fantasy inspired by the Middle East of legend, Harem is perhaps Brightman's most unique and personal album to date, showcasing her songwriting talents, her passionate creative instincts and her incomparable voice. The artist's website has been revamped to support the new album.

"With Harem I wanted to do something with a Middle Eastern percussive feel," says Brightman. "I am fascinated by the desert, by the space, the peace and the spirituality, all those fantastic Technicolor images from The Arabian Nights and Lawrence of Arabia, among others. It was a feeling at first but as I immersed myself in Turkish and Middle Eastern music, especially some of the new dance things that are being produced now, I became intrigued by the whole idea. I like a big cinematic feel with music and these sounds and inspirations gave me a framework with a lot of space to create with."

The album is available in CD format and, in some territories as limited edition with bonus DVD. The project features orchestral musicians from as far apart as Prague and Cairo and a host of instrumentalists from all over the world. Brightman is joined by an extraordinary galaxy of collaborating ranging from classical violin superstar Nigel Kennedy to singer Kadim Al Sahir, one of the Middle East's most important and innovative new stars. The album is produced by Frank Peterson and orchestrated by Jaz Coleman, who has broad experience working with Middle Eastern orchestras and musicians.

The title track, "Harem," dramatises the scope and imagination of the album. The song establishes a profound musical connection between Middle eastern sounds and the ancient inspirations of Portuguese fado. The luminious "The War Is Over," a song that embraces an end to the conflicts in love, eloquintly brings Sarah Brightman's voice together with that of Iraqi singer Kadim Al Sahir and the exquisite violin playing of Nigel Kennedy. Kennedy also joins Brightman on "Free," a deeply felt new song inspired by a French lyric, echoing the liberating passion that is the heart of the album.

Sarah Brightman's imagination drives a new sound for some classic hits, bathed in the Middle Eastern atmosphere that has inspired her. "Stranger in Paradise" circles back to Alexander Borodin's voluptuous Polovetzian Dances for its rich orchestral textures, cradling Brightman's shimmering voice, while "What A Wonderful World" is an audacious reinvention of a well-traveled pop anthem--edgier this time and almost melancholy. Brightman also reaches into the world of grand opera again, taking the melody of Puccini's "Un bel di" to spark the dance-inspired "It's A Beautiful Day."

Harem also includes an array of stunning new songs that echo the album's inspiration--"Beautiful," "Arabian Nights," "What You Never Know," "Mysterious Days," "Until The End Of Time," "THe Journey Home" (written by Indian film composer A. R. Rahman) and a fresh take on a song Brightman recorded earlier, "You Take My Breath Away." Like the artist's former albums, there are all-new tracks, covers, unique interpretation of classics and new versions of formerly recorded songs.

Sarah Brightman's talents are celebrated the world over; she regularly plays to packed houses in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Her work has been captured on DVDs, such as the two that support Eden and La Luna. These remain generally available. Over the last few years, she has performed more concerts in the U.S. than any other British artist and will continue to tour the U.S. in the fall of 2003 with a new stage show built around the Harem album.

Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.comhere. Sarah Brightman continues to be one of the leading sopranos making music today. Clearly worth a trans-Atlantic journey like her previous material, this album is undoubtedly a must listen!

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