Image © Aquarius Records Ltd 2005
Jorane Live (2005)
(03 September 2005) Cellist extraordinaire Jorane (pronounced Jo-ran) is finally hitting her stride in the United States with the release of her American debut The You and the Now (Aquarius Records Ltd (Canada) | Six Degrees (USA) 657036 1108-2, 2005). Highly acclaimed in her native Quebec and around the world, Jorane is a refreshing artist who combines her unusual and unique cello-playing style and siren-song voice to create exquisitely haunting post-modern/neo-classical/folk music. Nominated twice for a Juno award, fans often favorably compare Jorane to Kate Bush, Enya and Bjork. This prolific artist has already released various versions of several albums, including: Vent Fou (1999), 16MM (2000), Jorane Live (2002), Jorane (2003), "Evapore" EP (2004), and the all-new French release Jorane Live (2005) | (review).
For The You and the Now, Jorane brought several distinguished songwriters to the table including Lisa Germano (John Mellencamp, Simple Minds, Indigo Girls), Simon Wilcox (Three Days Grace, Projet Orange, Randy Bachman) and Daniel Lanois (U2, Peter Gabriel,Bob Dylan). To be sure, Jorane's style is difficult to categorize. With touches of celtic-otherworldliness, french jazz, folk, and classical, The You and the Now is nothing if not exhilirating.
Take for example the lush and unsettling opening track "Stay." With its juxtaposed time signatures layered voices, and epic cello lines, "Stay" is immediately captivating in its intensity. The meditative "Fragile" is a bittersweet and low-key neo-folk song of luminescent loneliness that sounds like the best output from Over the Rhine or Mae Moore. "Blue Planet" relies upon a sinuous Arabic melody and quirky cello plucks that punctuate the strongly political message contained in the lyrics.
Jorane's remake of the Donna Summer classic, "I Feel Love," is suprisingly good. Although the tempo has been slowed a bit for her version, Jorane makes the most of her radiant voice and cello, which she layers lovingly. The minimalistic "Roll the Stars" is another intriguing track that sounds like an old American western folk song reinterpreted by Angelo Badalamenti. "Good Luck" is a true shoegazing dreamscape track that fans of Love Spirals Downwards or Trespassers William would fully embrace. Again, Jorane seems unimpeded by genre boundaries.
Both of Jorane's "Film III" and "Film IV" pieces are painfully poignant and inspired, leaning toward a sound akin to Loreena McKennitt or Adiemus. "The Cave" is another strange and magical piece of harmony and dissonance that surges and recedes like a wave. Throughout, Jorane's expressive voice commands attention.
Although artists like Vanessa Mae, Bond, Josh Groban, and Sarah Brightman have brought classical music to a 21st century mainstream audience, Jorane remains a rare gem--an artist who knows her roots,
but draws upon myraid influences to create her own unqiue sound--and a glorious sound it is.--Justin Elswick in Provo, Utah and Russ Elliot in New York