Add Colours To My Sunset Sky
2017 / Heart to Heart Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
Add Colours To My Sunset Sky is the third solo recording from harpist Trine Opsahl following her critically-acclaimed Unbroken Dreams (2015), a harp and cello collaboration with her daughter, Josefine. Opsahl’s 2012 release, Somewhere in a Hidden Memory, was nominated for “Best Instrumental Album - Acoustic” and “Best Relaxation/Meditation Album” awards by Zone Music Reporter. In addition to the Celtic harp, this album introduces two new elements to Opsahl’s music - her own wordless vocals on five of the thirteen original tracks and the drone of a monochord (which resembles the Indian tamboura in sound) on three. The art of breathing is utilized whenever Opsahl plays and creates music and she explains: “The introduction of the singing voice on this album is for me the manifestation of a natural development in the art of breathing that is so central in my work.” (quoted from the liner notes).
Beyond being a performer and composer, Trine Opsahl takes her music to the Danish health care system, providing music as part of palliative care in hospitals and hospices sharing her soothing melodies and gentle, caring soul. I found it interesting that, as a young person, Opsahl wanted to be either a doctor or a musician, and by providing harp therapy, she is actually accomplishing both ambitions by making a positive difference in people’s lives.
Add Colours To My Sunset Sky begins with “Songs From a Mountain I,” which introduces both vocals and the monochord. Opsahl’s voice is haunting and ethereal, and the single droning tone of the monochord throughout the piece - and the two other pieces where it is included - (to me) adds tension, keeping the sometimes mournful voice grounded. “Sunshine On a Stony Path” is a Celtic harp solo that is incredibly soothing and peaceful. It’s a perfect example of why the harp became the traditional instrument of angels and of heaven itself. “Rosebed Garden,” also a harp solo, evokes images of pastel flowers slowly waving in a gentle spring breeze. “In a Grain of Sand” is a bittersweet vocal and harp piece with a delicate folk song feeling. “Eternity In a Song” and “Lightly Dance Into the Morning” return to solo harp and are both delicate and hypnotic. “Songs From a Mountain II” is similar to the opening track, with the addition of the harp. The monochord is used in this version, too, but is mostly in the background, giving the piece a lighter sound. The title track is a gorgeous harp solo with somewhat more vibrant tonal colors that express joy and contentment - my favorite piece on the album. The poignant and haunting “Diving Into An Ocean of Love” is another favorite, this time vocals and harp. I’m not sure why, but I always see shades of blue when I hear this piece. “Leaving On a Thursday Morning” warmly floats on the air as it caresses the soul.
I have to admit that I’m not crazy about the sound of the monochord, but I like everything else about this beautiful and heartfelt album. It is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.
February 28, 2018
with Josefine Opsahl