Saturday, March 14, 2015

Spotlight: Heart Song by Elise Lebec

Heart Song is the sophomore album from composer and pianist, Elise Lebec, who is a self-taught musician. As a child, Elise would fall asleep at night while listening on headphones to artists like George Winston, Enya, Loreena McKennitt and Andreas Vollenweider, which led her to explore a world of musical composition at a young age. Combining neoclassical and ambient piano with other instruments, Elise is joined by a handful of guest musicians on several of the compositions, which include cellists Elizabeth Vandervennet and David Darling, as well as Jeff Oster on Fugelhorn. A theme of sailing, seaside and the ocean is conveyed throughout by wistful melodies that often create feelings of both serenity and solitude. Contemplative, romantic and beautifully tranquil, Heart Song is evocative of the past, like drawing upon memories that are sacred to the heart, or rediscovering love letters long tucked away or once forgotten only to be reflected upon sometime later.

One of my favorite pieces on the album is "Ghost Ships", which opens with Tibetan singing bowls, bells and synthesized vocal sounds. Mesmerizing and haunting, the song is named for the centuries-old phenomenon where ancient sailors would see phantom ships in the distance due to an optical illusion. The equally gorgeous "Moonlit Waters" showcases the delicate, ethereal vocals of Elise herself amidst solo piano. She sings a forlorn melody with melancholic lyrics of love and longing, and I certainly hope to hear more of her captivating voice on future recordings.

With Heart Song, Elise has created one of the loveliest piano-centric albums that I've had the pleasure of listening to in recent memory. The pensive, tender moods and overall sense of nostalgia really resonated with me, making it sure to be among my personal favorite albums of the year. Creative, innovative and most of all heartfelt, Heart Song comes highly recommended as a musical gift that beckons repeated listens!

For more information please visit the artist's website. This album is also available at Amazon and iTunes.

This review was originally published on Journeyscapes Radio on 03/14/15.

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