OK to start this review I'll just say if you love amazing voices and great music you should abandon reading this right now and instead simply go out and buy Heartwood by Sora.
It took all of 35 seconds of the opening cut of this CD, which also happens to be the title cut, to totally fall in love with this lady's voice. To term it anything less than stunning, or amazing, would be to do Sora a disservice.
As for the music, well we reviewers love to categorize, but in this case it's interesting to read what Sora herself says.
“I have thought a lot about genre, about where I should place my music and after all these years, I still have no idea,” she said on her website. “My favorite description of my music is neoclassical, although I often call myself Contemporary Celtic or that nebulous singer/songwriter category. As a kid, I had strict classical teachers and mentors as well as folk, neither could seem to find merit in the other, but I see music as simply music. Genre, you always hear about genre. Classify yourself, categorize, but be interesting and unique while doing it. My music, to me, comes from the natural world. That is what inspires me, that is the imagery I place in my songs. Trees, and forests, light dappling through the canopy. The feeling of fiery leaves falling around as you walk on an autumn day, a cherry full to the brim with blushing blossoms, springing to life. The way ice forms in intricate patterns on my window, the sound of the wind in the trees. My lyrics come from there and that is what I want to share with my listener.”
Sora's view of her own music is interesting, in that it shows the poet inside her. The view is descriptive. It is near lyrical.
That is what you get here, music that paints pictures. That comes from the heart.
As for vocals style, two names came to mind Loreena McKennitt and Enya. So it was interesting to read, again on Sora's website her view of her influences.
“I love so many different musicians and types of music, from Rachmaninoff to Enya, and it all has helped to create my music,” she wrote. “But as to style, I guess Loreena McKennitt is my greatest influence. I have loved her music from the very first note on the very first song I heard, many many years ago. She is an inspiration to me. She is the only artist in which I can listen to every single one of her CD's all the way through and love every song. Amazing! Other influences include Tori Amos, Jewel and Sarah McLachlan.”
I won't even try to select a best cut here. They are all just excellent, all written by Sora as well. This lady is an amazing talent. Check it out at http://www.soramusic.ca/
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper July 1, 2009 - Yorkton, SK. Canada