Deborah Henriksson - The Heart's Cry
Still, it is good to re-evaluate your prejudices every once in a while to verify if they are worth holding on to. There's no point having a prejudice if you're not going to challenge it occasionally and Deborah Henriksson's new release, The Heart's Cry, provided me with just such an opportunity. Now forgive me my prejudice, but when I read up about Ms Henriksson's work I chanced I could see, out of my window, the leprechauns running in panic for their burrows. But the written word on Ms Henriksson does not do her music justice. To avoid putting off the prejudice of fools like me, the music needs to be given a prominence over the descriptions to be found on the internet.
Let me explain. What I expected and what I got were two entirely different things. There are no bells and whistles on The Heart's Cry, no hey-nonny-no's and no hint of craic. The opening track, "Snow" begins with a gentle acoustic guitar-piano combination which immediately conjures up an image of a babbling brook. A harp, a violin and a flute (of sorts) gradually join in (or perhaps their electronic equivalents), but the effect is more like an acoustic version of the darkwave of French bands like Artesia than Clannad let alone their pseudo-Irish imitators.
Ms Henriksson's voice has an almost medieval quality to it. If Sandy Denny were alive and still making music, I can imagine her singing something like this. "My Lagan Love" conveys just such a sensation. While I can see the Celtic influence in this, it would entirely wrong to call this Celtic music except insofar as it would befit a musical accompaniment to an Arthurian romance by Chrétien de Troyes. Ms Henriksson has the voice of a modern day female troubadour and it suits her music to a tee.
There are, inevitably weak points. Few releases - very few - are devoid of them. The middle track, "Ae Fond Kiss", a piano dominated ballad is perhaps the weakest song on the EP, the one song where the theme is strained. No one these days uses the pronouns "thee" and "thou" and there is something naïve about rhyming "fancy" with "Nancy". But this is soon redeemed by what comes after. "My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose" would not be out of place on a seventies Renaissance album, (although the recurrence of the phrase "Fare thee well" is unfortunate) while "Only a Woman's Heart" has probably the best melody and the best guitar playing on the whole EP.
Overall, the EP starts strongly and finishes well. And from my point of view, it does not confirm me in my prejudices. It may not have me converted fully, but it does not conjure up any of the images the internet-blurb would have me believe. Deborah Henriksson has produced an EP which is replete with gentle sounds, capable of creating a vivid imagery in the mind of the listener. There is more here than is first apparent and repeat listens make the EP more enjoyable by opening up new vistas. And above all, the leprechauns can rest easy.
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on 2013-03-12 Michael_Morrison Said:
Most would agree most popular artists out there have something truly special to give to their fans. This goes above the typical attributes like raw talent, amazing songs, nice voice, or even a very marketable look, sound and image. There's something truly infectious at the core of these artists that simply makes us feel good when we listen to them. Whatever "it" is - they all seem to have "it".
Today I listened to the latest CD from Sweden's own Deborah Henriksson. She just released her latest CD entitled: "The Hearts Cry" in 2012. Venturing to her website I get the impression this is one Celtic artists that's extremely determined and passionate about their songwriting craft and know what it means to be a "Real" Celtic artist. From start to finish this CD delivers and is a very entertaining musical experience from beginning to end. It is full of peaceful tranquility and has a very Orchestral quality to it, and even dabbles in Pop, and Alternative Folk. Henricksson reminds me of Shirley Collins, Mary O'Dowd, Margaret Christl, Brenda Wooten, and Capercallie. Any fans of any of these artists or musical styles or bands will enjoy this latest release from Henriksson. It's clearly marketed for those who like a soothing female vocal front and playing that never lets its guard down. I get the impression Henriksson and company are letting it all hang out via this compelling 14 track line up. In other words they hits the mark remarkably well by just by being who they are musically. Favorite tracks include (Snow) and (The Hearts Cry). All songs strike the perfect balance between Soundtrack Celtic Folk and Classical. Within each one of these pieces Henriksson capture lightning in a bottle as she bares her soul and delivers what I would call pure musical mojo. It offers much in the way of compelling lyrical content. The playing from all members is spot on and just makes the whole CD even more enjoyable The overall vibe of the production is very eclectic, poetic with pockets of joy and hope shining through.
I see Deborah Henriksson as a diamond in the rough, with an amazing amount of potential. As time goes by we will no doubt hear more her. I also wouldn't be surprised to hear their music featured in a Major Motion Picture or Prime Time Documentary. In close most famous artists out there have "it" I'm not so sure what it but Deborah Henriksson has whatever "it" may be.
West Lothian, Scotland (UK)