Songs of Solace
This CD is described in the booklet as a musical response to Julie Nicholson's book, A Song for Jenny, which details the harrowing events surrounding the 7/7 London bombings, in which Julie's daughter was killed. It is a very difficult CD to categorise or describe. It features the unusual combination of soprano voice, saxophones, organ and various percussion instruments including marimba, in an airy, reverberant acoustic, which at times sounds otherworldly. From the opening song, 'The Traveller', soprano, Grace Davidson's voice in set against the sax and organ in a 'free-jazz' style, but this doesn't describe all the music on this album or Grace's beautiful, pure voice. The next track, 'Fear no more' includes instrumentals, wordless chorale and recorded train sounds! Somehow it creates the illusion and confusion of the 7/7 bombings. Other songs include texts by Shakespeare, Tennyson and Julie Nicholson herself. The ethereal soprano voice accompanied by marimba, gentle sax and discrete organ accompaniment really does provide a very new, even avant-garde or 'new wave' feel to this beautiful music. I hadn't come across these performers before: Christian Forshaw: sax/director; Grace Davidson: soprano; Alexander Mason: organ; Rob Farmer: percussion and occasionally: The Sanctuary Voices (3 further sopranos), but playing this CD a few times, I found the music gradually grew upon me and I enjoyed the experience tremendously. I urge you to try this unusual combination of voice, sax, organ and percussion. It reminded me of the atmosphere created by Jan Garbarek & the Hilliard Ensemble's recording 'Officium'. I'm sure it will give you food for thought and much musical enjoyment.