Move Enya over into a more operatic mode with a touch of Sarah Brightman, throw in some Kate Bush, garnish with elements of Kate St. John's Romantic sensibilities, and then backdrop with essences of Delerium, and you have Sora. Scorpion Moon is solidly in with the tradition of all those women, so you can also think Clannad, Annie Haslam, Sally Oldfield, and maybe Sonja Kristina. The music is all of a piece, as though a Romantic cycle covering aspects of a theme in episodic viewpoints. The Tower re-tells the Rapunzel folk tale from a modern feminist location while Scheherazade eschews the "farce of monstrous and kingly vice". The blend of instruments on the disc makes for atmospheres both lightly strange and familiar. Alongside the expected, you'll find erhu, dizi, penny whistle, riq, doumbek, and other exotica. The focus, though, is on sung narrative, and Sora's voice remains the sonorous needle threading the quilt together.
Mermaid Song slows down and sheds the more effulgent orchestralism for a ballad metaphorizing broken love for a mermaid's plight and call, an interesting pens&eaccute;e upon a nameless something that somehow rose despite the bewailed absent lover's gifts of trust and kindness. One is hard put to discern who's the betrayer, who the betrayed, if those estates even exist, but the lament is unmistakable, a Gothic plaint ethereal and pining. As far as I can tell, this is Sora's fifth release, and she's locked her territory in, treading a line between classical strains, Celtica, New Age, and World. The lyrics, though, are highly poetic and almost Victorian, the soft side, as it were, of steampunk. Compliments must be paid as this sort of exercise is dangerous, threatening the maudlin should control slip, should the artist slide into the easy way out, the cliché, but Sora handles the words and underlying philoso-emotional content masterfully, resulting in quite affecting mindsets. Don't approach this CD carelessly, don't take the spacily Byzantine beauty for only that, or you'll miss a lot.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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