Slow Flow & Dancer
2022 / AVAF-Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Andreas Vollenweider's Slow Flow & Dancer is an inspiring and genre-defying collection of eleven pieces composed and recorded between 2010 and 2021. Harpist and composer Vollenweider and his talented group of "friends" collaborated with British producer Andy Wright to present us with the second and third installments of the series that began with Quiet Places (2020). The first six tracks are the Slow Flow half of the album and the music is "relaxing, like a leisurely walk in the park." Dancer reflects Vollenweider's connection with Africa and features South African vocal harmony band Africapella and singer Ayanda Nhlangothi. This connection began in the early 1980s when the black communities of South Africa adopted Vollenweider's music as their own folk music. In the struggle to end apartheid, people sang his songs in the streets to express their strong desire for peaceful change. The five pieces from Dancer are "an invitation to move and physically experience the music." The music is a lively and upbeat expression of joy and is generally more rhythmic and passionate than the first half of the album.
Slow Flow begins with "As We Sail On By," an upbeat yet soothing piece that includes the sound of water along with harp, piano, percussion, guitars and more. You can almost feel the motion of a boat gliding smoothly across the water and a sense of excitement in the air! "Deep Green Waltz" is an easy slow dance that is somewhat more orchestrated. Graceful and unhurried, this is the music of dreams! "Slow Flow" drops the tempo a bit and is mostly harp and percussion for the first half of the piece, adding more instruments for the second half - I love this one! "Forevernow" is gorgeous as well as poignant, melancholy and deeply expressive. Silky strings contrast beautifully with the more percussive harp, creating musical magic - my favorite track on the album! If you don't relax listening to "Find Me In My Dream," something is terribly wrong! More ambient than melodic, it soothes with its gentle rhythms, harp, strings and background vocalese.
Dancer begins with "Woa Woa," an energetic song with harp, vocals, drums and percussion, piano, trumpet and more. Try to sit still while listening to this one! (On the other hand - don't! Go ahead and enjoy the spirit of the music!) "Scarabaeus" is a lively mix of African rhythms and chants with horns and harp - intoxicating! "The Golden Bird" is more visual and cinematic with harp, strings, flute and energetic percussion. The closing track,"Up & Out," is my other favorite on the album. It defies fitting into any specific genre with its dancing harp, strong percussion and rhythm, and various orchestral instruments. It's a joyous musical celebration that will have you coming back for more! Where's that repeat button?
Slow Flow & Dancer is a delightful musical expedition for music lovers of all ages, cultures and backgrounds! It is available from Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes, and many streaming sites including Spotify. Very highly recommended!
October 6, 2022