New Reviews: February 7, 2001

Voices of Life
Bulgarian Women's Choir
Globe Music Media Arts/City Hall Records

Eddie Jobson of art rock (Jethro Tull), New Age and electro-acoustic fame produced and remixed these spectacular voices, while adding a few of his own. Most of the tracks feature now well-known Bulgarian favorites, which are purported to illustrate the array of the human condition, as well as a record of Jobson's endeavors with the ensemble. This is a foretaste of his upcoming release Legacy which also features the Bulgarian Women's Choir, along with Yes, Genesis, the Prague Philharmonic and musicians from India, Russia and the band King Crimson. The most remarkable experience is the unraveling of a two thousand year history that is the nature of Bulgarian women's music.

Harps, Pipes & Fiddles
Various Artists
Temple Records

An enchanting, high-energy ode to the great spirit of Scottish Highland music, with some examples hailing also from Ireland, England and the U.S. The instruments featured here are gut and wire strung harps, Northumbrian pipes, Border pipes, Highland bagpipes and the fiddle, with each being equally represented. In addition to fine renditions of traditional tunes, there are several new compsitions which harken back to a past bardic era. Excellent liner notes detail the performers, composers and stories accompanying a sonic foray into a strong musical tradition.

Richard Leo Johnson

Rhythmic slapping rising and falling like breath during an aerobic workout are the hallmarks of this CD by Richard Leo Johnson. This guy is a true guitar virtuoso with an eclectic repertoire spanning personal creations from Irving Berlin to Rodgers and Hammerstein, all in a funky Southern blues and jazz kick up. Other credited influences include Miles Davis and Led Zeppelin. Mr. Johnson, in collaboration with other fine musicians, is particularly fond of double neck six and twelve string instruments, which support his vast array of sonic resources in seamless weavings illustrating explorations into previously cloudy waters. The CD will appeal to those who like a groove, regardless of traditional musical preference.

Jenece Gerber is a perpetual student of culture, religion and music, as well as a graduate student in composition at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green Ohio USA and member of the International Alliance for Women in Music, Society of Composers and Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers. An avid composer, Ms. Gerber writes from her musical travels in the context of sociocultural realities and dreams. She is the winner of the 1995 Music Teachers National Association CPP/Belwin student composition competition for her work employing the Indonesian flute (suling). Ms. Gerber is also soon to have a work entitled The Night of Brahm published by Earnestly Music.