Gabrielle Roth And The Mirrors

Raven Recording, 2002

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Sometimes, you have to approach a recording with no preconceptions. This was definitely one of them -- but it paid off, I think.

Gabrielle Roth is a fascinating person in her own rights. My only experience with her before this involved her writings on shamanic practice and dancing, so to find out that she had a musical group -- that has apparently released several CDs -- was somewhat of a revelation. On top of that, the current vocalist (or guest vocalist -- the CD liner notes are unclear) is Boris Grebenshikov, who I vaguely remembered as being a Soviet expatriate musician who had at least one interesting album in the late eighties or early nineties. (Having long ago lost my copy, I couldn't remember for sure.) my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 (Editor's note: That album, Radio Silence , was released on Columbia in 1989.)

Then, of course, I read the liner notes and found out this was an album of chants recorded in a "found language" that Grebenshikov had developed (or channeled, if you believe his version) from the spirit world. Now, as a Wiccan, I believe in the spirit world, and I suppose that it's possible one could channel songs or chants from there -- I've heard it done before in religious ritual, and it's not different from a Christian praying in tongues, for example. But for your average music fan, this is going to be a stretch.

You know what the oddest thing of all it? It's a stretch that's worth making.

It's hard to describe exactly what the music is on Bardo. It has elements of Arabic, Native American, Indian, Celtic, South American, and African music to it -- one might argue that it, in fact, defines the term "world music" by having no real cultural focus to it. I will also say that whatever or whoever Grebenshikov got these words from, they do sound like a "found language;" they cannot be understood, but they have the consistency, rhythm, and repeated sounds one finds in normal speech. Between the listener's inability to determine the cultural focus of the music and the mystery of the lyrics, this does, indeed, sound like music from Somewhere Else. When you add in that it's good music -- pleasant to listen to, relaxing, almost inducing a meditative or trance state -- you come to the realization that Roth and Grebenshikov achieved their goal.

Bardo is a weirdly wonderful work. It comes strongly recommended.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2002 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Raven Recording, and is used for informational purposes only.