2006 / Evzone Music
Review by Michael Debbage
Born and raised in the sunny state of Florida there is something very illuminating and peaceful about the music of George Skaroulis. Dedicated to the healers of the world, Sanctuary continues to support those synonyms associated with the music of Skaroulis, walking the fine line of using a memorable melody wrapped in a meditative parcel that is captivating yet non intrusive.
Though raised in the sunshine state, Skaroulis’ ancestry is rooted in the exotic Mediterranean culture of Greece. Always understated, his cultural roots come through every now and at times parallels the serene yet inspiring romantic qualities of his peer Yanni. That said, Skaroulis has found his own musical signature courtesy of what sounds like an echoed piano that has a rich yet reserved resonance to it. Since his 1996 debut, George has become a very prolific composer, producing nine discs if you were to include his “best of” Athena, the Christmas Season Traditions, and Adagio, which is his tribute to the music of Chris Spheeris. Yet whether he is playing an original composition or revisiting a fellow composer, Skaroulis always manages to create his own musical world.
That said, Sanctuary clocks in at over 61 minutes representing a total of eleven original compositions and three covers, largely smothered in a soft subtle serenity. There are a couple of exceptions such as “My Star, My Moon” that also includes keyboard string embellishments. Better yet, there is the sweet sway of the title track as Skaroulis gently and slowly moves up and down his keyboard. Accentuated by the emotive string arrangements this is certainly the central focus of this outstanding album.
There is also the pitter patter percussion embellishments of “Rain” and the even more colorful “Goddess”, the latter fortunately sequenced toward the end of the album. While these songs do not ruin the pastoral theme of the album the moody yet stellar “Goddess” could probably have been excluded and left for another project. With the exception of that minor hiccup, tracks such as the reflective “Ray Of Hope”, the warmth of the classically influenced “Healing Waters” and the ambience of “Breathe” exemplify and emphasize the themes of peace and tranquility.
Those of you not familiar with the world according to George, as previously mentioned, he has been creating captivating compositions since his 1996 debut Homeland. If you enjoy escaping from the daily hectic challenges of your world, then Sanctuary is your essential emancipation. Go ahead and introduce yourself to a new musical friend. You will not be disappointed.
November 23, 2015