The Adventure Continues
In our last exciting adventure we had the new Canadian Celtic/Folk hero, Sora, releasing a remarkable album called Heartwood and me saying that she is the contender for the position of first Celtic songstress of North America. This time the heroine takes on the world! Seriously, Sora returns with an album of crossover Celtic that is more lushly orchestrated and intricately plotted than her last, which I rated excellent. On Scorpion Moon she takes stories, myths, and legends from around the globe and manages to interconnect them into a cohesive musical adventure. All of the eleven tracks feature Sora’s wondrous vocals. Her range starts at the whisper stage and ascends to the height of the angels. In between does not seem to be problematic. The music is mostly acoustic, piano, guitar, flute, and light ensemble, with just a touch of the electronic to make it interesting.
Scheherazade (Scorpion Moon) opens the album with a horn fanfare and flowing melody. The Middle East influences add charm to the tale of the ancient storyteller, but from the listener's point of view. The king, listening to the fantastic tales of Scheherazade begs to be distracted if only for a one night.
“Spin me a tale for your life,
And make me a believer again.
Take me away from this farce,
Of monstrous and kingly vice.”
You would never think that a simple little word like hiraeth would have such a deep meaning, but if you have ever longed for home, then you know the feeling of profound yearning. Sora sings about that very thing in Hiraeth. She captures the sadness and memories of a distant land and extracts the sense of loss that is like a hunger unfulfilled.
Mermaid Song is the tale of the Selkie, a creature that comes upon the land and changes into a human and adds magic to the mixture of life. Most of the tales of the selkies end in tragedy and this one is no exception. This maiden of the sea is brought up from the depths of the ocean only to sink deep into the heart of her lover. The story goes on, but you will have to discover the ending of this sad, sweet tune for yourself.
Sweet harmonies and a resolute cello team up to keep a promise on the song Hold. What more can love offer than a vow to heal when you are hurt, catch you when you stumble and hold you when you are lost in sorrow. Sora’s engaging vocal is supremely in tune on this one and the song became a quick favorite.
It is very hard to give up someone and go on once love has grown down into your roots, but Sora sings of that and more in the number Moving On. Love that cannot grow lingers like a mist, visible, but untouchable. The lover would rather let go and move on, than try to struggle and hold on to the impossible.
“My yearning heart is not strong enough to hold you through the veil. To hold you through the veil”
The cover art Sora selected is eerie and ominous. It is a beautiful woman in a royal purple dress floating freely in clear water as if she is suspended between different worlds; the land above, solid, real and firm, and the water below, fluid and ever changing. Such is her dreams and the strength of her storytelling. She balances well the real and the imagined and does it with music that appeals to the senses as well as the spirit.