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By Lizary Rodriguez Rios
Libre Productions (2009) 58:18 minutes
Review by Kate Russell
Walking through a glade of shimmering notes, “The Purple Bamboo” marks the beginning of what is to be a magical journey through Lizary Rodriguez Rios’ Harp Therapy CD, a perfect hideaway of songs for an escape from the heat and stress of your worldly day into a place more calm and magical. Predominantly featuring the elements of water and air, Rodriguez Rios also manages to surprise the listener with a unique take on some familiar classics.
Alive with sounds of nature, “The Little Fountain” takes you to a place of calm serenity and running water, along with the more pensive “Water Spirit”. “Le Cygne” is a musical dance of strange dignity. “Atardecer en el Mar” is a piece for sunset by the water; dancing half notes like the dancing of salt spray on surf. “Concerto in D., 2nd mov” is wistfully beautiful, a playful alternation between pause and movement. “Little Black Swans/Russian Lullaby” is a melody for reflection when the sun has set on your day.
For transcending your present time and space, I thoroughly recommend the complex and beautiful sound of “Fantasia Las 13 Lunas”, as well as the more airy, floating “Harp of the Western Wind”.
Lizary has also added a few familiar comfort tunes to the album: the classic “Scarborough fair” features a violinist playing the main soulful melody with the harp singing alongside, “Morning Song” shines brightly with the high harp arpeggios, tranquil sounds of nature and soulful strings. “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring” is the perfect wedding partnership; where constant harp marches sparsely alongside singing violin .
My personal favourite song on this album is the ever beautiful “Gymnopedie no. 1.” To me it feels like a darker version than others I have heard before; the harp echoing a hollow late evening shadow to the pensive almost-hum of the guitar. My only complaint, per-se about this particular song is the choice to have the guitar play the main melody (as opposed to the accompaniment) at the beginning – the sound to my ears came over as unnecessarily harsh and twangy – breaking the spell of the rest of the album to my ears – until the harp transitioned over to play the main melody. A little niggle, perhaps, in amongst the almost perfect flow of the rest of the album. “Canon” (in D, by Pachabel) is a more dreamy version than I have heard played by full orchestra’s before; but has a quiet confidence and purpose to it that lifts the heart and starts a daydream.
All in all, this is an enjoyable and pleasingly diverse album which I believe is perfect for taking one on a journey of relaxation and meditation as well as simply for listening to for its unique takes on familiar songs.
Kate Russell is a singer/songwriter and busker from Vancouver, up until recently performing under the stage name Jadis Gloom (www.myspace.com/jadisgloom). Currently she is taking some time out from her solo music projects to write, listen to other styles of music and gain inspiration from other artists and their own creative journeys. Believing that to look into someone’s art is also to look inside their soul, she enjoys the intimate opportunities for understanding others in new ways that being a music critic provides.