Tanya Brody,
Sirens & Lovers
(self-produced, 2003)

Tanya Brody's latest album, Sirens & Lovers, is a lovely collection of original and traditional songs in a style resembling that of Loreena McKennitt. Her arrangements and her original compositions are both inspired and fun to listen to. The traditional songs have a definite Renaissance flavour to them, which is not surprising since she began singing and continues to sing at various fairs throughout the United States.

Starting with "Maid in Bedlam," a tragic tune about a woman put in an asylum by the parents of her lover, Brody's voice does justice to the pain of the young woman. Following this are three original tunes that together make up a larger story. "Siren's Lament" begins the trilogy with the tale of a spurned siren who sings her false lover to his death. Brody's talented writing gives this song the air of a much older tune. Following this is "Sailor's Curse," which tells the tale from the sailor's point of view, providing an interesting counterpoint, especially since he gets turned into a dolphin. The final installment, "Siren's Defeat," describes the vocal battle over the fate of a ship between the siren and the girlfriend of one of the sailors, who eventually saves the ship. The trilogy is well written and tells a wonderful story. One can hope that it will enter into the repertoire of many singers.

Heading back to the traditional music, Brody provides a lovely rendition of "One I Love," sung simply with minimal backing vocals and a beautiful harp accompaniment. "Barbara Allen" and "Thyme" are both also quite well arranged and performed.

The final track, "Gypsy Hawk," is performed as a duet with Matthew Gurnsey, who is also the writer and now Brody's husband. The song of impossible love made possible is well written and nicely arranged. Gurnsey and Brody sing well together and the creative instrumentation gives the song a nice original note on which to close the album.

Periodically Brody's voice turns slightly tinny and sounds mildly off-key; however, I suspect part of that may be her backing singer who sometimes sounds as if she is singing against Brody, not with her. This is infrequent, but does detract slightly from the overall enjoyment of an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable album. At other times the harmonies are quite beautiful, particularly in "One I Love."

The overall tone of this recording is energetic and otherworldly. Brody is a gifted writer, singer and harper. Her backing musicians are equally talented and the arrangements of the songs show this. Brody's voice is lovely, but due to her being a soprano, I find it difficult to listen to this album over and over. It is very lovely to put on once in awhile and would be a wise investment for people who enjoy voice and harp.

- Rambles
written by Jean Emma Price
published 7 May 2005

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