Miriam Stockley,
Second Nature
(Narada, 2003)

Miriam Stockley's name may not sound familiar, but there is a good chance you have heard her beautiful stunning voice. She has performed with some of popular music's biggest names, including David Bowie and Elton John, sang on several commercials and movie soundtracks, and is best known for her work as the lead vocalist for the group Adiemus. Born in Johannesburg, she combines elements of classical, pop and the vocal chants from her native country. She has often been compared to Enya and Sarah Brightman.

On Second Wind, her second solo project, she includes these elements and adds in some jazz influences. The CD opens with "Umoya," which sounds very much like her work with Adiemus. "Rainsong" contains more of her beautiful multi-layered complex vocals. "A Finnish Summer Night" opens with a beautiful sounding a cappella vocal arraignment; it's melody is the classical tune "Finlandia," which has been used for several familiar hymns.

"One Dream" has a Sarah Brightman classical pop-like sound to it. Several songs have jazz influences -- most notable is "Butterfly," which contains some vocals reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald combined with some excellent flute playing. "Massai Rain" also features some African rhythms and vocals combined with some wonderful smooth jazz elements. On the more uptempo side, "Ifemeli" opens with some driving Latin-flavored percussion and once again combines them with beautiful vocal harmonies. The CD closes with "Tula," a nice gentle ballad.

On Second Nature, Miriam Stockley does a great job of combining elements of different styles of music. This, combined with a fantastic voice, makes this a very enjoyable CD.

- Rambles
written by Dave Townsend
published 13 September 2003

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