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Description
Read about the mission, structure, history, staff and current developments of the Musical Discoveries website. Also find out how to submit recordings for review and report site problems.

Content
Overview
Our Mission
Site Map
   Site Updates
   Review Digest
   Reviews
   Featured Artists
   Discussion
   Links
Ratings
Website Background
What The Artists Say
Submitting Material
Editorial Staff
Photographers
Problem Reporting
Overview. Musical Discoveries visitors find thoughtful reviews, engaging interviews, stunning imagery and biographical details as well as links to further information about contemporary, progressive and crossover music featuring female vocalists. Regular contributions from our international staff of industry correspondents are published here.

Musical Discoveries is registered and enjoys a top ten rating in most major search engines in the female vocalists category. Our oustanding webstats are available to artists, their management and promoters on request.

We do not host music files or soundbites but provide many links to external online resources that do. We are affiliated with amazon.com and many soundbites are available there. Purchases made through links from this website help defray our operating costs.

Our Mission. Musical Discoveries actively follows and promotes contemporary, progressive and crossover music featuring female vocalists by reviewing albums and live performances, interviewing artists and by publishing comprehensive features spanning their careers. The Musical Discoveries Network is an ever-expanding resource of online music information, consisting of:

Musical Discoveries has also been closely associated with Michael Dunford's Scheherazade Musical. Our editorial team developed the website that supported the 1997 showcase performances.

Site Map. Musical Discoveries is renowned for two distinct styles of review and has sections corresponding to each. Three additional online facilities support our visitors. Tabs at the top of our menus provide the primary navigation path; subdivisions are generally available on the left hand pane.

Our Atomz-provided site-specific search engine reindexes our material weekly and will readily locate reviews without further navigation. The website's rapidly-loading and attractive magazine-style front page outlines significant website additions and coming attractions.

Musical Discoveries is presently hosted by the the USA-based Internet Service Provider Site5.com. The website is currently verified compatible with both Internet Explorer and Netscape browsers.

Site Updates. The website has evolved rapidly since 1999 and is presently a 90MB online resource. Significant updates and news items are posted regularly in this section. Powered by Greymatter since October 2001, the Site Updates page is actively maintained and provides visitors the capability to comment on each item in the update list. An archive of prior updates and artist news dating back to March 2000 is available from the left hand navigation pane.

Review Digest. The Digest is comprised of hundreds of reviews, each generally less than a page in length. A complete Digest, comprised of eleven or twelve reviews, is published every one-two months; back issues remain online indefinately. Implemented with a MySQL database and php scripts since September 2001, the Digest is one of the most technologically advanced facilities developed by Musical Discoveries. The Digest is further indexed into four genres:

  • Contemporary Celtic and World
  • Singer/Songwriter
  • Classical Crossover
  • Progressive

An Instrumental Digest is also available and can be accessed from the left hand navigation pane. Individual Digest reviews may be selected one at a time from the indexes. Album covers are linked to artist websites and image credits are linked to their labels. Further links to ordering information are also provided.

Reviews. The Reviews section contains hundreds of in-depth reviews that often address an artist's entire catalog, incorporate an interview with band members—with a primary focus on the lead vocalist—and are typically at least two-three sheets of single-spaced A4 in length. Musical Discoveries feature articles are graphically intensive and present images of the artists and their albums' artwork. Individual artist pages are kept up to date as their repertoires expand; links to their own, their label's and online ordering website locations are maintained. Like the Digest, Reviews are indexed into four broad genres and a live performance section:

  • Contemporary Celtic and World
  • Singer/Songwriter
  • Classical Crossover
  • Progressive
  • Artists In Concert

Each Musical Discoveries Review 'feature' is a unique project and while their general look and feel are similar, they are formatted to best suit the artists and their own musical style.

Featured Artists. A growing number of artists, groups and bands have drawn significant attention from Musical Discoveries' visitors since the site's inception. Those that have risen to the top of our own lists are selected to be Musical Discoveries' Featured Artists. A brief, one-two paragraph overview and an image of the respective vocalist is provided for each in this section. Links to their pages within the site and to their own website are provided here. Only a dozen of the hundreds of artists reviewed at Musical Discoveries have persently been selected as our Featured Artists.

Discussion. Our moderated Discussion forums, now powered by MercuryBoard since April 2004, may be viewed by anyone. Ability to post requires visitors to complete a confidential registration process. Presently subdivided into four categories, the forums are principally used by the development team to announce coming attractions and provide an area for visitors to comment and suggest directions for the website:

  • Announcements: Significant Website Changes and Plans
  • Coming Attractions: Internet Features and Album Reviews
  • Artists: Recommended Artists and Music Industry
  • General: Website Commentary (Development Status)

Our thousands of unique visitors each month are generally quite reserved in their views and therefore have not posted extensively using this facility.

Links. While the website contains thousands of links to external internet resources within its Digest and Review pages, especially noteworthly links to external resources are provided here. Musical Discoveries has been reciprocally linked to by many external resources. A server-based registration facility within the site ensures that all major industry-wide search engines (AltaVista, Google, Lycos, etc.) are aware of the website's latest updates.

Ratings. Musical Discoveries has adopted a more universally accepted rating system for our reviews beginning in January 2004: (Excellent), (Good), (Satisfactory), (Disappointing) and (One to miss). The publication focuses on material our editors and regular correspondents rate in the top three categories.

Website Background. Our editors' first project was the compilation of the Renaissance Band History for the world wide web; this project quickly evolved into a collaborative effort in 1996 from which Northern Lights—The Renaissance Website emerged. We built the official website for Michael Dunford's new musical Scheherazade the following year.

Musical Discoveries was born in late 1996 with a few brief reviews but began to take off in 1998. By 2000, the website has grown and today includes hundreds of album and live performance reviews by a vast array of recording artists. The website is very popular amongst female vocal enthusiasts. With a broad following from every corner of the globe, many of our visitors return daily.

Musical Discoveries focuses on contemporary, progressive and crossover music featuring female vocalists. The majority of the work reviewed shares this common thread and although we've branched out significantly from our earlier roots, the project was initially encouraged by following the Artists Similar to Enya page. Musical Discoveries is well known for its in-depth reviews, however, the now expansive Album Review Digest (Digest Index) and Instrumental Album Review Digest were built to provide concise reviews of a broader range of music for our audience.

Musical Discoveries began to expand significantly in 1998. Several exciting new progressive music album reviews were published (see Strangers On A Train for example) and the first in a series of full length online features was created for progressive vocalist Tracy Hitchings and her live performance with Landmarq was also reviewed here. Similar in-depth articles were constructed as 1999 drew to a close on the progressive vocalist Lana Lane, the group Arise From Thorns featuring Michelle Loose, and Hungarian progressive group You and I and their vocalist, Fanni Völgyessy Szomor.

Additional work has stretched the site exponentially with new online features, often containing interviews, being constructed for a broad variety of recording artists. Musical Discoveries added album and live music reviews by two exceptional progressive rock groups in 2000: Karnataka (Wales) fronted by vocalist Rachel Jones and Nexus (Argentina) fronted by Mariela Gonzalez.

Our interest in Karl Jenkins' Adiemus albums led us to further explore Miriam Stockley's solo work and to develop an on-line discography now found at her official website which our editorial staff constructed and currently maintain. The work of other Session Singers In The United Kingdom, including Mae McKenna, inspired a new feature on this website. A biographical sketch and reviews of her earlier CDs have been published here. This line of investigation also led us to the music of session vocalist Jeni Saint and led to further discoveries in 2000. See Site Updates for details!

During 2001 several of the sections of Musical Discoveries had significant make-overs and updates to the Adiemus Unofficial Homepage and Miriam Stockley's websites were made. Karl Jenkins Music agreed to sponsor the Adiemus UHP in 2002. In late 2002, following several months of planning with the artist, Musical Discoveries editors developed a new website for Renaissance drummer Terry Sullivan. More in-concert reviews were written during 2002 than in any prior year.

During 2003, Musical Discoveries continued to expand content to over 800 reviews with the 400th review in our digest being Adiemus' Vocalise. More feature articles than ever before were published and included interviews with best-selling artists Heather Nova, Moya Brennan, Emilie Autumn, and the multi-platinum singer Hayley Westenra. As the year came to a close the demise of mp3.com caused our radio station to cease operation as well. Our five star universal rating system was developed and launched in the final days of the year.

What The Artists Say. Our reviews are well received by artists, their management and fans. Progressive rock vocalist Michelle Young wrote, "Your review was outstanding ... it was actually more in-depth, articulate and educated than some of the 'professional' reviews I've received." From the alternative sounding Xyra & Verborgen, lead vocalist Xyra Harper-Cann wrote, "We were duly impressed with your thoroughness, originality, knowledge and sensitivity! Glad you are writing, as this must be a true calling."

After reading our review of their debut self-titled album, Mark Gollihur of Second Story wrote, "Everyone was ecstatic with the cohesiveness and content of your review." Our feature on her independently produced albums inspired Scheherazade 'ZaZa' Selah to write, " ... beautifully expressed and written review of my albums ... flattered and touched by your deep understanding of what my co-producers and I tried to achieve in these three releases." Similar comments were received from Janison Edge vocalist Sue Element and many of the other artists whose work is reviewed at this site.

Praise for our editorial content has continued into 2004. Says Noog of the UK band Sal (review), "For the first time ever, someone outside the band has actually understood exactly what we are about and what we are trying to create." On our coverage of her new album (review), New York singer songwriter Sylvia Tosun wrote, "As I was reading your magnificient writing, I had tears in my eyes ... your writing is amazing and you have painted such a picture for the whole project, your talent is absolutely magical."

Submitting Material For Review. Musical Discoveries is always seeking new musical artists to feature in our webspace. Although the site editors' interests are very broad, we prefer to consider artists' work that lies within the genres presently reviewed here. Our focus is on contemporary, progressive and crossover music featuring female vocalists but we review instrumental work and recordings featuring male vocalists as well. Please e-mail us if you have material to submit for consideration by our editorial staff. We do not review mp3s.

Editorial Staff. Musical Discoveries' Editor-in-Chief and founder is Russell W Elliot and we are headquartered in the greater Boston, MA area (USA). The new millenium has expanded the team that bring our content to the world wide web. A significant number of reviews published in our digest are prepared by co-editor-in-chief Audrey Elliot (USA). Visitors will find reviews by associate editors, Gabrielle Angelique (USA), Yael Akron (Israel), Jonathan Edwards, (UK), Deborah J Elliot (USA), Justin Elswick (USA), Jamie Field (UK), Mark Fisher (USA) and Stephen Lambe (UK) as well as correspondents Don Baer (USA), Scott Bassin (USA), Yorgos Dalman (Netherlands), Steven Digman (USA), Pamela Dow (USA), Evelyn Downing (UK), Charlie Farrell (UK), Suvi Kaikkonen (Finland), Kristen Kissinger (USA), John Morley (UK), Richard Moloney (Ireland), John Rodda (USA), Paul van Vliet (USA), Ken Wood (USA) and our Scandinavian Bureau Chief, Mauri Osterholm (Finland). Chief Technical Officer Mark Elliot (USA) is responsible for the website's graphic design, java scripts, php, MySQL, advanced HTML, image-based feature webpage design and technical reviews of equipment and software we publish.

Photographers. Photographic credits are always presented underneath images included in our pages and permission obtained for work generated by sources outside the Musical Discoveries team. The new millenium has enlarged the team that provides photographs to the site. Steven Lambe (UK), Chris Walkden (UK) and Joseph Voncken (Holland) are regular contributors of photographs, especially to our in-concert reviews and graphically intensive features.

Problem Reporting. Musical Discoveries is interested in all feedback, positive or negative. Visitors experiencing problems with the website—e.g., broken links, missing images, or unacceptably slow response time—are encouraged to report them to the editors. Please e-mail us with your feedback. All e-mail message traffic from our visitors is replied to.

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