It takes a lot of courage to take something like this on, especially when you are a musician, no matter how accomplished, who sits outside the "mainstream". Clive Nolan (vocal, keyboards, orchestrations), is no novice and his work with Arena and Pendragon has helped shape those bands. This is a Rock Opera in every way - you get a real sense of the operatic stage. 'Telling' the story of She and based on the novel by H Rider Haggard, it is a passionate and emotional retelling, with sweeping orchestrations and wonderful rock passages. Nolan and his principle cohort, Polish Rock diva Agnieszka Swita (together they are Caamora), have brought this to life in a sensational way. Joined by Mark Westwood (Neo) on guitar, John Jowitt (IQ)on Bass and the impressive Scott Higham on Drums and percussion you get a strong musical package. There is also a small horn and string section. For me a real delight is the presense of Christina Booth of Magenta - I love her voice! And - Alan Reed from Pallas!! The vocal interplay is superb at times. To be fair Mr Nolan has a pretty decent voice. This really is an impressive performance and deserves success - it has to be heard. In my opinion - and I repeat myself - this is a true Rock Opera. Now, I suppose that might put some people off; it shouldn't! Great music and sparkling performances. The packaging is excellent with some stunning images - it is put together beautifully. Give this a chance; it is the result of hard work and dedication. Well done Clive et al - you should be proud of this. 2 CDs coming in at around 130 mins - give or take! I am SO glad I took the plunge with this! PS - I have not focused on any particular tracks because it is a "whole work", in my opinion, some tracks stand out more than others but this is influenced by my bias towards Christina Booth perhaps?. This a fine work with some outstanding and powerful performances. Many songs are sung with passion and power. The "Rock Opera" is back in style!! 5 stars - absolutely!
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I had a fair idea of what to expect from Clive Nolan's latest project having been a fan of his music in various groups (Pendragon, Arena, Shadowland), side projects (Stangers on a Train, Casino) and of course his collaborations with Oliver Wakeman (Hound of the Baskervilles and Jabberwocky), the latter perhaps providing the most obvious sign-post for this latest piece of work. Caamora is a collaboration between Clive and Polish born vocalist Agnieszka Swita. The project came about in 2005 when Nolan was introduced to Swita they got into deep discussions about Nolan's idea for a musical version of the novel, `She' - the classic novel by H. Rider Haggard.
And to an extent, I was right. The themes, musicianship and overall performance bear the markings of neo-progressive rock with some power metal riffs. However, what has surprised me is the sheer size of this project; it is enormous in scale. And it succeeds in spades. With 2 discs totalling over 2 hours of music, She provides a grandiose epic rock opera, featuring great musicianship, a wide range of instrumentation, anthemic choruses, very melodic tunes and of course, beautiful vocals.
As for the vocalists, all are superb. Agnieszka Swita has a strong voice, reminiscent of many of the European female Gothic rock singers, such as Simone Simons (Epica), Floor Jansen (After Forever) and Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation). Clive Nolan sings well too and it's a mystery as to why he hasn't taken more substantial lead vocal roles in the past, aside from Shadowland. Then we come to the guest vocalists for the project and they are incredible additions to the cast with the beautiful voice of Christine Booth (Magenta) - if ever there was a voice that one could fall in love with, this is it - and of course, not forgetting the fabulous vocal contributions from Alan Reed (Pallas, Neo).
Other featured musicians include John Jowitt on bass (IQ, Jadis, Neo), Mark Westwood on guitars (Neo), and Scott Higham on drums (Pendragon). Nolan appears to have struck a fine balance between the storytelling and ensuring the music lives up to (and indeed surpasses) expectations. The variety of styles, tempos and emotions ensure the listener doesn't get bored, even as the end of the 2nd CD approached, I honestly enjoyed every moment of this epic.
It would be totally inappropriate to single out individual tracks for praise; the whole piece flows rather seamlessly, as a story should and to be honest, I've resisted the temptation to sit and read liner notes and pin point each track for now, simply enjoying the whole experience. I would heartily recommend that when you buy this wonderful package, you do the same. You will not be disappointed. 5 stars.
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Based on the book by J. Rider Haggard,"SHE" is a Rock Opera by Clive Nolan's side project CAAMORA. Pure and simply "SHE" should be on the West End Stage, it's an incredible piece of work. This seriously has to be heard and seen live. A composer, musician and lyricist as brilliant as Clive Nolan surely has to become Stratospheric after this Substantial Concept. The incredible music just flows effortlessly from one song to the next, sung by Clive Nolan as "LEO," Alan Reed as "HOLLY," the part of "AYESHA" is sung with power and jealous heartache by the superb Agnieszka Swita and "USTANE" by one of the greatest singers of all-time the serene and angelic vocals of Christina Booth. "SHE" by CAAMORA is a Rollicking and Immense interpretation of a classic novel, performed by the Bright Young Things of the Prog Rock Scene. We all can sit back and relax in the knowledge that our wonderful world of Avant-Garde music is held in the safe hands by these Neo Immortal Gods.
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The deluxe box set with two cds two live cds and 2 dvds is really great value for an exellent piece of music, well crafted and brilliantly performed by a supurb cast. The only thing for me which lets it down comes in the DVD, and thats the fact you can't watch it and suspend your disbelief that Clive Nolan is playing the part of the 25 year old ward of Alan Reed. That aside,you should certainly purchase this recording in one form or another it really is very good.