(13 May 2000) Gabrielle Angelique's stunning and richly
arranged song "Ancient Souls" is featured in the Celtic
Mystique compilation (review).
Hailing from Minneapolis, MN, Gabrielle's debut album,
Echo (Lantern Productions (USA), 1998), includes
thirteen vocally- or instrumentally-oriented tracks with a
variety of keyboard-based instrumentation. With the exception
of lyrics on two of the album's tracks ("Star Seeds" and "Where
I Run To" by Anna Klein), the entire project was written and
performed by the artist herself; the recording was completed
when she was only 17 and was digitally mastered on her
Yamaha MX-3. The title of the album is based on a poem
by Christina Rosetti (1830-1894); Renaissance fans will
recall that Rosetti wrote the hymn "In The Bleak Midwinter"
recorded by Annie Haslam and Michael Dunford as Nevada in
Gabrielle's debut album drew attention from Tandem Music's
Graham Way who arranged for Gabrielle to train with Canada's
one of North America's top pop vocal and talent
development coaches. The resulting three-way collaboration
produced "Ancient Souls" for Celtic Mystique when
Gabrielle was 18—the song illustrates significant artistic
development from her debut and the tremendous potential of
this singer / songwriter / harpist. Gabrielle has just
finished her first solo harp album. Entitled Light,
it will be released in June 2000.
Echo's tracks are primarily soft ballads or
instrumentals alternating between classical derivations, new
age sounds and soft rock.
Many of the tracks feature complex orchestral arrangements
while soaring vocal excursions are most reminscent of progressive
rock artist Sally French especially in the incredible epic
"The Third Insight." Moody and evocative soprano vocals carry
many of the songs and are supported by lovely and highly impressive
classically-derived and expansive instrumental arrangements.
"Creation," "Monsoon" and "Where I Run To" both contain a
stunning piano solos.
Masterful of her keyboard both in songwriting and arranging
as well as instrumental sample selections, Gabrielle's songs are
equally written to demonstrate the breadth of her vocal talent.
Multi-tracking is used in various places within the album to add
texture and additional dimension to the songs. Vocal passages
are evocative, sensual and sensitive, soaring to effectively
illustrate emotional content.
Ocean effects compliment instrumental arrangements
in "Ancient Travelers," an upbeat instrumental piece that
effectively combines new age sounds with contemporary themes.
A similar sound emerges from the lovely instrumental "Awakening"
while "Star Seeds" is a folk rock ballad with a rich orchestral
arrangement and a stunning lead vocal part. The album concludes
with "Where I Run To," a lovely ballad sung over light piano
Gabrielle's debut album is available from the artist's website. Echo is a lovely
album in all respects. With expressive vocals and imaginative
songwriting, it is a fantastic introduction to this talented
young woman and certainly worth a long-distance journey;
we think it is a must listen!