quinta-feira, 6 de junho de 2013

Review: Beautiful Alchemy - Kathryn Hegarty (Spoken Word album)

Beautiful Alchemy by Kathryn Hegarty
Publication date: September 3rd, 2013
First Single: Mirror Image (July 3rd, 2013)
Source: The author, in return for an honest review
Track listing: Invisible Empires; Tip of my Tongue; Wicked; From the Ashes; Gift from the Sea; Mirror Image; Elizabethtown; Red Balloon; The Beauty of Tattoo; Gutterflower; Sugar Tits; White Rabbit; The Duel; Beautiful Alchemy; La Luna; Evening; Blood is Thicker Than Water; Rosé; The Ballerina; I Dreamed of Africa; Safe & Sound; Pressing Flowers; The Open Eyes; Linger
Where to get  it: Bandcamp 
Rating: 3.5/5

I have to admit that I had no idea of what to expect from a spoken word album, but I actually liked it! The poems aren't very big so it's not tiring. Also, I was a bit afraid since english isn't my first language but Kathryn's voice is very clear, making it quite easy to understand. 

Some of the poems seem to have a common topic, but for the most part I think they are a bit disconnected from each other. 

Two of my favourite poems were Gift from the Sea and Tip of the Tongue. For some reason I just wanted to curl next to a fireplace, drinking tea (I don't even like tea, but it just felt right). Even though I loved these poems, I think that some breaths were taken in the wrong place which cut the flow a little bit (only a little bit though).

I thought that Gutterflower was a rather fun poem, not because of the theme, but because of the way it was recited. It reminded me of Over the Moon from the musical Rent (again, not because of the theme)

Another one of my favourites was Invisible Empires. As I listened to it I found myself holding my breath. The middle part of this poem is energetic and almost agressive, which made me picture a stand up poetry show.

I found The Ballerina to be a rather enjoyable poem as well. Especially if you listen to this song at the same time (starting at 0:26)

Finally, the debut single MIrror Image is very interesting. It's a message of tolerance and acceptance of others who can be different from us.

All in all it's a very interesting project.

Author's biography: There is something about the simplicity of sound that has intrigued generations. The Irish have done it best, keeping oral storytelling alive with vibrancy and verve. Kathryn wants to bring that alive again. With a simplistic sound and emotional themes, Kathryn explores what it is to be human and a woman in this extraordinary world.

“I grew up listening to singer-songwriters like Carly Simon, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and my father reading stories to me and my younger sister from our vintage copy of The Grimms fairytales. I love the juxtaposition of the dark and the light. I don’t think we’re always happy, nor do I think we are all depressed. We follow ebbs and flows of emotions. I try to explore that when I write, and with this album.”

Kathryn is very keen on wanting to find active listeners, those that can see beyond the words and pictures she verbally paints, by stretching the boundaries of spoken word art; and in doing so inspire others to search out answers for themselves in their own lives. Coming from a plethora of musicians, cousins: Bill Kreutzmann, drummer of The Grateful Dead; Willie Karpf of Satchel Grande; and poets: her great uncle Geoffrey Chaucer of The Canterbury Tales, and cousins: Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Edna St. Vincent Millay, to name a few, creativity is in Kathryn’s blood. She feels compelled to do it, yearns for it, and hope that it brings comfort, solace, curiosity, and thoughtfulness to those that listen.

“The immediate choice of simple vocals is to create an intimate sound, as if you’re there listening to the story, in the back row of a dimly lit theater. I have always been attracted to simplified, yet complex sounds. I would like to think that with this album I am paying homage to my American folk roots as well as Celtic storytelling.”

Artist Statement: I think art is in my DNA and that’s definitely apparent when I tell you that my Dad’s 2nd cousin is none other than Bill Kreutzmann, drummer of The Grateful Dead. Even my own Dad played an instrument growing up. Oddly enough, also the drums. My sister was a talented ballerina and is now a successful graphic designer and I, myself, am a writer, a poet, a doodler in on napkins and un-opened envelopes, and an amateur photographer.

I’m of royal ancestry on my mum and dad’s sides. Thankfully I got freedom from the bondage that that history can sometimes bring, though I am steadfastly protective of that history too. I was born here in the USA, in Nebraska, in a tiny little town called Valentine. I think that began the beginnings of my poetic nature, especially when I came from such a visual place as the word ‘Valentine’ suggests. Throughout my teen years in the Central Valley of California I continued to write, the odd story and plenty of poems. My friends would scoff at me hibernating in my bedroom preferring the quiet and ooze of my ballpoint pen to their laughter and giddiness. In 1999, I submitted my poem Southbound Bus to my city’s annual poetry contest, albeit it unwillingly. My mother saw the ad on the bulletin board at the public library and told me I had to submit some of my poems. As fate would have it, I was one of 27 poems chosen that year. Southbound Bus made the cut.

I got into spoken word pretty much by accident. I’ve always kept my poems to myself, very…close to the vest, as they say. They were my little jewels that I had not really intended on sharing. I wrote a poem for my sister’s Girl Scout awards ceremony and read my poem aloud. It was amazing to hear the silence. Not an irritated silence, but an interested one; Active listeners, intent on actually hearing what I was saying. My sister, when she got married in San Francisco last year, asked me to read something during the ceremony. It was Aristophanes’s Speech from Plato’s Symposium. Again, I felt that quiet silence. Hushed breathing, as if my sister’s guests didn’t want to interrupt the movement of those words.

Spoken word poetry is an art. It’s a flowing exhalation of melodic simple sound. I hope to ignite a spark in listeners and inspire them to take their pens out, find the quiet, and be brave enough to share their art. And, for anyone who doesn’t think using one’s voice is a form of music, well…I beg to differ. If you look closely at the categories for a GRAMMY Award, there is one given every year for Best Spoken Word album. Need I say more?

All images (except for the rating system) were taken from http://kathrynhegarty.wordpress.com/

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