2007 / Tula Records
Review by Michael Debbage
The cover of Eternal encapsulates a snapshot of the flowing flaming red hair of vocalist Miriam Stockley. Before even a single note is heard the expectations would suggest something undefined and perhaps exotic. However, they say do not judge a book by its cover though this time around a rush to judgment maybe acceptable. Musically Eternal is about as random and sizzling as the locks of the artist as Miriam continues to intertwine her classical background with her with cultural roots.
Associated as a back up singer with mainstream artists such as Tina Turner, Freddie Mercury and George Michael, this South African born vocalist secured her big break when she was the featured singer on the Karl Jenkins Adiemus series. In fact, Stockley even revisits this series when she performs the title track of the series “Ademius” which was first featured on the album Songs of Sanctuary. However, this album is not about her past but a continued growth and extension of her solo material.
Eternal represents her third stellar solo effort and continues to be a musical exploration that refuses to be restrained and restricted by one specific genre. Miriam continues to incorporate classical, new age, world and jazz music though this time around the emphasis would lean toward the classical influence. The spirit of this album is essentially encapsulated by four standout tracks starting with the romantic classical beauty “Alla Notte”. Skipping forward, you are engulfed by the old Irish ballad “The Star Of Country Down” that is steeped in sweet violin work of Clio Gould and the lush more restrained vocal work of Miriam. If you enjoy Secret Garden you will unreservedly fall in love with this haunting rendition. In utter contrast, there is the festive percussion and vocal chants featured on the JS Bach composition “Nagana Ka Lona”. Then once again you are transported to another musical world courtesy of the sublime jazzy Gershwin track “Prelude #2” that has Stockley swooning in the microphone.
Between the above stellar tracks there is very little platitude resulting in a recording that is simply breathtaking and inspiring. As expected from this expressive artist there is a multitude of musical exploration and expression that this record may not leave an instantaneous impression. But with repeated visits you will leave with the yearning of musical eternity with one of 2007’s top picks.
July 7, 2007