Belgian musician Kerani is gaining notoriety for the albums she's released since 2014. Her trademark sound is a strong piano leading with the melody over layers of live instrumentalists and orchestral synth textures. Her recent CD "Stardust" (2017) topped the ZMR Chart for two months. The digital music market's breakdown of the "program album" format that came into being after the Beatles "Dr Pepper" and the Beach Boy's "Pet Sounds" albums in 1966-67 is in part responsible for the success of Kerani albums. Listening to the whole CD from start to finish is an exercise in mind-bending monotony; but when a part of a diverse play-list, her songs are awesome. This isn't wrong or bad, but it is a strong trend that's becoming increasingly evident over the past decade of music production. Ideally, having a "theme" album means songs that are inter-related in concept, but not identical in sound and texture.

Previous albums have all had distinct thematic ideas. This is her most unusual album so far. Each song is associated with a poem from writers around the world. Track 1: Temple of Roses made me swoon! It's unlike anything I've heard from Kerani to date, and it's absolutely witchy - enchanting, darkly moody, and haunting. The vocalist, Chanele McGuinness, sings the poetic lyrics inspired by American lyric poet Sara Teasdale (1884-1933):
 
    "Her voice is like the water/that drips upon the stone
    In forests far and silent/Where Quiet plays alone
    Her thoughts are like the lotus/Abloom by sacred streams
    Beneath the temple arches/Where Quiet sits and dreams."

The video of this song on YouTube is well worth watching. You'll run (not walk) to download the tune or get the CD.

I greatly appreciate that while subsequent tunes do feature piano, Kerani steps back and allows other instruments a chance to take the lead - especially when she has utterly amazing live performers adding their talents to the mix, including a string quartet with players from Andre Rieu's John Strauss Orchestra and other guest talents. Track 8: Echo of our Souls is a tribute to a poem by Kahlil Gibran. It features Brazilian musician Carla Maffioletti on the guitar in a dialog with the piano.

This is Kerani's most digestible album since "Arctic Sunrise." I highly recommend that listeners in the witchy-pagan world download a copy of "Temple of Roses," and those who would like to experience the entire CD won't be disappointed.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Kerani
Kerani Music Production 2018
10 tracks, 54 minutes
CD $15.00, mp3 $9.99

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