Image © Great Northern Arts 2002
(18 January 2004) New Age/World Music artist Serahís newest
release, Late Harvest (Great Northern Arts/Ryko (USA), 2002),
derives its name from an old fable that tells the tale of a vineyard
owner who journeyed from his village on a quest to defend his
ideals, and returned home very late in the summer, well after
the normal harvesting time. There he discovered that all of the
people who helped him harvest in previous years had waited for
him out of deference. The grapes hadn't spoiled, but instead were
tremendously sweet and fragrant, and with them the village
created a heady dessert wine called the 'Late Harvest' wine.
The story of an individual voyaging to a distant land, upholding
strong moral and humanitarian ideals and returning home to reap
a sweet harvest supported by their friends and admirers could be
Serahís own story. In the 80s, she traveled to Africa to work in a
drought-stricken region of Northern Kenya. She took along her
guitar and after work, shared her music with the local families,
as they shared their music with her.
She returned to America
with the firm belief that music can reach across cultural barriers
to inspire and heal. With that in mind, she has gathered an
incredible family of multi-cultural musicians around her, not least
of which is Senegalís renowned Wasis Diop who co-produced
and co-arranged quite a few of the songs on Late Harvest,
as well as contributing vocals, guitar and percussion.
In addition to her own standout compositions, on this album
Serah takes us in a new direction, bringing her own fusion of
African and western musical influences to well known pop
standards by Van Morrison ("Crazy Love"), Christopher Cross
("Sailing"), and Ben E. King ("Stand By Me"), which is already
a hit on the AC charts.
Serah's original contributions to Late Harvest are a
celebration of the human experience, with themes ranging from
romantic love--Iím partial to the bouncing "I Think I Know," with
a beautiful assist from Diop--to spirituality and our ongoing
struggle to be the best that we can be. "Psalm Song" and
"Inner Voice Dialogues" particularly resonate.
of the album is the haunting "Dolce," which uses beautiful
imagery and amazing instrumentals and, for me, expresses
the struggles and rewards of the long journey we all must
take to find the best in ourselves and each other.
The mood of the album is wide-ranging, with tracks spanning
moods from the uplifting to the meditational, which is probably
why it hasnít left my 5-disc CD changer since the day I got it. Recommended for its evocative imagery,
thought-provoking lyrics, beautiful music and amazing African
flavor, anyone who has enjoyed Serah's other albums
(Senegal Moon, Flight of the Stork, Wing of Mercy, Out of the
Wind) will love it, and for everyone else, this is definitely
worth a listen.
For a taste of what Late Harvest offers,
there are mp3s and very interesting
behind-the-scenes videos at her
album is available from her site as well as