Color Me Home
2017 / Time Art Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
Color Me Home is the ninth recording from vocalist/ pianist/ keyboardist/ composer/ arranger/ lyricist/ record producer/ author/ actor/ educational speaker/ music industry consultant/ international voice teacher/ touring artist/ and sonic therapist Darlene Koldenhoven. (Wow!) Although her resume would fill pages, Koldenhoven is possibly still best-known as the lead soprano singing “Aria” on Yanni’s 1993 tour and “Live At the Acropolis” concert video and PBS broadcast. That was an unforgettable performance, but Koldenhoven has done so much more than that. She has been awarded one Grammy and has been nominated for three more; she received an MVP award from the GRAMMYS organization for “Best Studio Singer” for singing on more than a thousand recordings that include movies, television shows, CDs, commercials, live shows, and charitable causes. She was the tambourine-waving nun in both Sister Act films; she also worked off-camera as the production vocal coach, vocal contractor, and music director for those films. This is still just scratching the surface, but I think you get the idea! I have reviewed two of Koldenhoven’s previous releases: Solitary Treasures (2011), an eclectic collection of eleven vocals and one instrumental from a wide variety of musical genres; and Tranquil Times (2013), a collection of eight instrumental pieces, seven of which are original.
Impossible to categorize or pigeon-hole, Koldenhoven’s Color Me Home is a very impressive package that includes a 24-page coloring book with images chosen by Koldenhoven. The booklet also incorporates the liner notes, lyrics, information about the creation and recording of the music, credits, etc. Now let’s look at the personnel on the album, a virtual “who’s who” of world music artists that includes Koldenhoven (of course!), Charlie Bisharat, Ricky Kej, David Arkenstone, Tom Scott, Wouter Kellerman, Jeff Oster, Al Jewer, Brent Fischer, and many more. Again, wow!
The album itself is a collection of eleven original songs and vocalise (no lyrics) instrumentals that draw us “home,” a word that can mean our own families and dwellings, the places and people who make us the most comfortable, protecting the earth and its inhabitants, and the need for all of us to work toward living in peace and harmony. The coloring book was included with the idea that listeners can color while enjoying the music for maximum calming, centering, restorative benefits. The images correspond to each track on the recording, so it’s a very creative package! The songs and instrumentation are influenced by a variety of cultures and musical styles, but the album as a whole has a nice, easy flow. Koldenhoven’s voice is always distinctive, but adapts so beautifully to the individual songs - sometimes soaring and operatic, sometimes sweetly innocent and gentle, and often somewhere within those ranges, hers is a voice for the ages.
Color Me Home is truly an exceptional project and one that will undoubtedly be up for many awards for 2017. It is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. Recommended!
April 2, 2017