Copyright 1998, MB - 1012 - Sabbath Day's Journey
Copyright 1999, BM - 1015 - Entrances
P. O. Box 4193
Bellingham, WA 98227
This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 8/00
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Put these two releases on late at night, especially "Entrances," the more contemplative of the two, and prepare to pontificate, pray or possibly even go blank. This is music, in the form of poetry, chants and prayers, that fills you up by emptying you.
"Entrances" is more meditative, seemingly a private spiritual liturgy of inner reflections and, as the liner notes indicate, one piece to be played in its entirety. Each cut is gently piano-grounded and the overall instrumentation (double bass, alto, soprano and sopranino recorders, viola, doumbek, acoustic guitar, synth, chimes, congas and percussion) produces an ethereal atmosphere transporting the listener to something seemingly akin to a convent, monastery or cathedral setting. This is music that has the power to alter and create moods. It is not necessarily fully melodic but McCauley's vocals and the accompanying music make it comforting to experience.
The lyrics of "Hope Grows" are a prime example of what to expect from these inner journey explorations:
"...I draw prayer around me
Like a dark protective wall
Enter in as one in a cell
Then come out again
Calmer and stronger
And more collected again...
Clinching the beads
Holding onto the words
Open to small love
Space is growing
And hope grows..."
The more melodic and rhythmic "Sabbath Day's Journey" highlights strings (violin, bouzouki, sitar, and recorder), along with piano. A nice touch is that each cut's inspiration, it's date and place of genesis, are provided in the liner notes. "Burning Bush" is one of the stronger cuts and also provides further insight into McCauley's spiritualism:
"Moses, your bush was burning
You were standing on holy ground
All of your soul was yearning
You were part of the flame you found
And all around the world was turning
Your people were down below
Your face was lit with sunlight
And your heart became aglow
Burning bush of universe
The flame of created kind
Fill our hearts and light our souls
Until in You our home we find
Go before us and behind us
Be our guide throughout our night
Burning bush on holy mountain
We are in the fire
We are in the fire..."
Some might say McCauley's offerings are similar to that of Loreena McKennitt. To a degree, yes, but McCauley's music exposes us to a far greater intimacy. Will it convert the uninitiated? While both releases are well produced, offering a clear, crisp sound, it will probably depend on one's openness and readiness for such subject matter.
"Sabbath Day's Journey"
All songs written by Lydia MaCauley unless otherwise noted.
Copyright © 1998-2015 Kevin & Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews. All rights reserved.
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