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Album Review: A Gift From Janie
Janie Campbell
Cover image of the album A Gift From Janie by Janie Campbell
A Gift From Janie
Janie Campbell
1999 / Metaxy
53 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
A Gift From Janie is a deeply personal, mostly solo piano album by Janie Campbell, a pianist/composer/dancer/healthcare professional. She founded Metaxy “as a method which incorporates music and dance as a process in which individuals can connect with their emotions, deal with them, and move forward to the next level in their life.” Campbell performs this music solo and with a troupe of seven dancers, and The Metaxy concept has been embraced by many in the medical and therapeutic communities. As dance music, one would expect a lot of movement and rhythm, but these pieces are almost minimalist, and the silent passages are nearly as important as the notes. Campbell’s piano is accompanied on some of the pieces by guitar (Rick Ruskin), violin (Daniel Kobialka), and/or cello (Joan Jeanrenaud), and the sounds of birds, water, and weather are woven between several of the pieces to soothing effect.

The entire album works as a wonderful whole, but the second track, “Journey” is a real stand-out for me. A duet for cello and piano (one of my favorite combinations), the mournful cello part borders on tragedy, but, somehow, the piano brings a feeling of hope and gentle strength and support. This powerful masterpiece is worth the price of the CD by itself! “The Gift” opens the album in the introspective tone that carries through the whole CD. None of the music can be called “jaunty” or “light-hearted”, but it encourages reflection and thoughts of where ones life has been and is going. Emotions are deep and genuine, and come from someone who has experienced personal tragedy several times and grown from it. One gets the feeling while listening to this album that he or she is looking directly into Janie Campbell’s soul. The liner notes and Janie’s website give more insight into what she has been through and where she is going with her music, dance, and Metaxy itself. She is an inspiration on many levels.

The music on A Gift From Janie is often abstract, but listening with an open mind and a receiving heart can yield a powerful and moving experience - this is artistry borne of emotion and the need to communicate on a musical level. It is indeed a very personal gift. It is available from Janie Campbell’s website at metaxy.org, and Amazon.com.
August 8, 1999
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