New Reviews: April 24, 2001

Ronan Hardiman

Anthem is a magnificent album produced and composed by Ronan Hardiman of Dublin, Ireland. Delicate and lush lead vocals performed by Leslie Dowdall, emanate effortlessly from track to track. The lead vocals are accompanied by electronic layering that sounds surprisingly similar to musical pieces by Enya. Additionally, the contemporary keyboard, piano, string and drum arrangements are amazingly reminiscent of Enigma. Lyrically, the content of the songs are very positive and uplifting. The contemporary instrumentation and operatic and angelic vocal pieces are essential ingredients for one of the year’s best contemporary world music albums. Ultimately, the catchy arrangements and creative lyrical styles will certainly bring enjoyment and delight to anyone interested in contemporary world music.

Seven Nations
Seven Nations

The music of Seven Nations combines their Celtic roots with American rock/pop melodies and vocals to create a unique Celtic rock sound. A few instrumental tracks demonstrate the traditional influences in their music. Acoustic and electric guitars, Highland bagpipe, mandolin, jembe drum, bodhran, shakers, piano and fiddle are blended from track to track with uncanny ease. The vocal songs are very catchy and enjoyable. The immense musicianship of Seven Nations definitely shines through on their latest, self-titled album. The addition of rock arrangements reflects the incredible versatility and compatibility that Celtic music has in the North American rock/pop music scenes.

Planet Chant
Various Artists

Paul Santos had a keen interest in the chanting traditions from around the world. His interest led him to approach Triloka Records for the completion of a world music album devoted exclusively to chanting traditions. Planet Chant features the music by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Michael Brook, Sheila Chandra, Jim Donovan, Angelite, Krishna Das, Russian State Symphony, Saraband, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Lama Gyurme among others. For the most part, traditional instrumentation accompanies the chanting pieces. Tibetan Buddhism, Qawwali, Hindu, Zulu, Bhakti Yoga, Native American and Orthodox chant traditions characterize the varied scope of this recording. Planet Chant offers an excellent glimpse into the rich history and culture of the world’s diverse chanting traditions.

Reviews by Matthew J. Forss.