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Sonic Travels CD

Review by Stephen McSweeney
http://celticmp3s.com/2014/review-sonic-travels-by-star-edwards-and-kingbeat/


 

 

The harp is seen as the national symbol of Ireland. It serves to represent the culture and heritage of the people of this great nation; however, as an instrument it is capable of so much more. Star Edwards and KingBeat’s latest album, “Sonic Travels”, showcases the versatility of this instrument in a beautifully crafted symphonic manner. The album title clearly expresses the concept they were trying to achieve as musically these musicians take the listener on a beautiful journey.

The opening track Barcelona Nights immediately makes one think of brightly colored dresses with young women dancing and old man picking out fantastic rhythms on guitars in the style of Flamenco Nuevo. This five-piece band orchestrates it so that this beat, the heart of Flamenco music, is ever present as the harp and guitar continuously trade back and forth taking the lead.

Next we are taken to Asia with the song appropriately titled, Chinese Farmers Tale. Once again, the rhythm of the piece and the staccato instrumentation immediately makes one think of that particular culture. In this piece, Kent Richardson uses the instrumentation of the group to really pull out some clear intonations to take us on this musical journey.

Following this, we have perhaps one of my favorite pieces, Waiting for Summer. It is upbeat and jazzy with a fun, almost swing, feel to it. I think of Ella Fitzgerald and kids playing on the sidewalk with water spraying from the fire hydrant. It still highlights the harp, but in a very unique and fun manner.

And the journey continues to St. Thomas, The Butterfly (a classic Irish tune), Cuando El Rey Nimrod, Jamaica Farewell and even in our dreams with Dream time Journeys. Through all of these pieces and more Star Edwards and KingBeat flaunt their incredible talent by capturing the listeners ear and taking them on an evocative journey. They call what they do World Harp Music, and they certainly don’t lie. While some may make this claim and only stick their toe off of the Emerald Isle, these musicians explore these other cultures deeply. This album is certainly worth the purchase.

Stephen Mc Sweeney is a High School English/Drama teacher. Besides writing for the Celtic Music Magazine, he enjoys acting, writing and playing Celtic music. He can be seen as one of the members of the band Terrible Musicians, where he plays percussion and mandolin.

 

 

Folk Harp Journay Issue no 161

Winter 2013 - Issue No. 161 ~ Folk Harp Journal, page 15, http://www.folkharpsociety.org/pages/journal.html

 

 

With a band full of keyboards, guitars, electric bass, and percussion to back her up, Star Edwards kicks off this CD with a groovin' version of Ottmar Liebert's "Barcelona Nights." The guitar soon takes over the lead, but throughout the CD the harp and guitar effectively trade off as lead instruments.

Interesting uses of percussion, blending of instruments, and grooves make this a fun collection of music, easy on the ears, with some great energy. Blending both acoustic and electric instruments is often not an easy thing to do. Star keeps a very harp sound, while blending it very nicely with the diverse instrumental make up of this band. Star's original piece "Waiting for Summer" is a fun, catchy piece that some listeners will want to play. Her "Dream Time Journeys" is at a completely different end of the spectrum--very electric, full of effects, and almost a '70s vibe. Star does some interesting explorations of harp in a variety of musical settings.

This CD explores varied musical styles, energies, arrangements, and interpretations of original, traditional, and contemporary pieces. It is a fun CD and a great listen, especially to hear how well a harp not only holds it's own, but steps into the spotlight as lead instrument in an electric/acoustic band setting. And it's got groove--so put on your dancin' shoes!

Alejandro Clavijo
www.reviewsnewage.com
Reviews New Age (translated from Spanish)

"Barcelona Nights" is rhythmic, hot, inviting you to dance. "Waiting for Summer", a cheerful piece and again, full of rhythm. Continuing the festive atmosphere, "St. Thomas" where Star Edwards runs the harp strings with glee. "Dream Time Journeys" where space and synth sounds mixed with crystal harp [create] a sound like oriental style. "The Butterfly" has the Celtic touch and is one of the pieces [that] highlight the album. Although the tempo is quick, we can enjoy an electric guitar with personality and some Uillean pipes that are quite interesting. In addition, we add the Harp. Star Edwards, in this case, moves like a fish in water. The harp presents "When King Nimrod" with a magical, full of fantasies. "Birth of Monmatia" is a promising piece to be drawn to the juice, because the mixture of electronic sounds and a good binomial form bagpipe. Finally, "Jamaica Farewell". A cheerful end marked by the sound of the harp.

 



Fan Comments on the Sonic Travels CD released 2013

New Releases Now Review

You're obviously a very talented group of players ...there's obviously a lot of world music influence --David Avery, Powderfinger Promotions

I like your style - very colorful and great beats - keep doing what you're already doing. --John Winsor, Composer

You do have a good sound and it's an interesting mix. --Shanna Lewis, Colorado radio journalist

"..... seems like if people like classic rock and they like harp they'd love this. " --Deborah Henson-Conant

I sampled your music again and sounds fine ...quite unique ... keep up the good work!! --John Olsen, New Age Music World

Came by to listen to Barcelona Nights. This is really amazing. Great guitar playing. I'm really enjoying this outstanding music.-- The Nonsense Buffer (Ann)

Barcelona Nights. I am loving your spicy world sound! --Rose Lisa

Cuando El Rey- Nice creative jam...I like your feel and the style is brilliant. Arabic classical. Nice. Barcelona Nights...WOW...incredible musicianship. Amazing strings and splendid warmth. --Ashton Haze

Dream time journey is a good song. Enjoy your musical journey. --Cal.

Excellent musicianship, beautiful melodies, and innovative diversity of styles. I really enjoyed listening to these tracks and will be back for more! --Jamazon Cloud

Enjoying "Barcelona Nights" tight band with great groove. Guitar leads are incredible. All the best. --Chuck Brunicardi

The fusion of harp with rock and world styles adds a wonderful extra dimension - Great work. --Sina Lloyd & Buddy Greenfield

I love your original music. Dream Time Journey reminds me of Alice Coltrane. Keep playing that "nontraditional" Harp. --Spooky Kool

Beautifully imaginative musicianship you have on these tracks ..and really getting into the wide, synth blend with acoustic ambience for "dream time journey"..I mean, I hate to "harp on" about it, but that track is brilliant! --Mike White Presents

Had a listen to "Barcelona nights " and really enjoyed the song, fine arrangement, melody,instrumentation with harp and wonderful style..good stuff! ..blessings and peace! --Dean Jablonski

Pretty impressive. Uniquely arranged, instrumentally tight & mixed very well. This is the type of stuff that I hear from somebody like Sting. It's definitely appreciated by some one like me, a musician who realizes the complexity of the arrangements, the dynamics, and the time and effort it takes to put all that together in the studio. I thought it was cool, especially all of the keyboard patches and licks that were predominant on some of the songs... nice to hear that again. I enjoyed it. - Dave W, Denver, CO

Amazing CD!! What a great accomplishment. Great, wonderful music. - Don Slepian, host of Art Music Coffee House

I was highly impressed with the CD. Very, very unique music presentation. And the graphic design of the sleeve was also really cool. - Corey F, Valley, AL

Impressive!!! I was pleasantly surprised when I first heard this CD, as I immediately recognized that this is not the work of amateurs. This CD is clearly the work of professional musicians who are tuned in to the sounds of the international music beat. "Barcelona Nights" and "Cuando El Rey Nimrod" on this CD are nicely done and seem to capture the spirit of the title Sonic Travels. Definitely worth purchasing. - Herb J., Denver, CO

It's a very sophisticated sound and quite unlike anything else I ever heard. A very interesting style of music, combining Celtic harp with Australian Aborigine digeridoo. Certainly a new style of music which is enjoyable to the ear. Innovative, creative, very well arranged and original.Also impressed with the level of professionalism in the mixing/recording . I liked it very much. - Jim K., SD

This whole album is divers in genre but all connected in a familiar in a comforting way. I lent a copy of the Sonic Travels to an art teacher and she plays this album during class. The music seems to promote the creative process. - John R., Denver, CO

Wow, I am really impressed. Great songs done well and the recording and mixing is superb. I really liked the originals (Little Betty) and Barcelona Nights is one of my favorite Ottmar Liebert songs; very well done. - Bart B., San Antonio, TX

Just a note to let you know how much I'm enjoying the new CD! For some reason it reminds me a little of Santana on some of the tracks. I'm not sure why. I think my favorite track is Dream Time Journeys. It's really great. - Mark L., Stillwater, MN

The engineering was great ..and the content was excellent...this is a really cool CD. - Dennis G., Lowell, MA.

I truly love the work you have done on this album. I particularly like listening to it when I am on the Internet. Soothing enough to keep me focused, challenging enough to pay attention to it, and zippy enough to keep me alert and thinking. It is even better though when I am just lying down relaxing. Superb job!!! - Mark F., Denver, CO



The Emerald Crossing CD

Star Edwards, The Emerald Crossing, reviewed by Valerie Frankel

The Emerald Crossing is a lovely collection of music performed on the Celtic harp.

The combination of nylon and wire-strung Celtic harps gives this music a fairylike quality, crossing it with new age relaxation music to offer tunes that flow like waterfalls. Each track is a gently blended instrumental. Pipes, pennywhistle and bodhran help to complete the mystical sounds.

Tunes range from the lively rambling "Stu Mo Run" to "The Harp of Dunvegan," a haunting melody when set to harp and bodhran. A well-known selection is "Minstrel Boy," which has been featured everywhere from The Man Who Would be King to Star Trek, but here is presented in a slow, lyrical fashion. The emphasis on this recording is soft, dreamy melodies rather than dance tunes. Offering tunes from Ireland and Scotland, this soothing collection is perfect for a relaxing night under the stars.

Rambles.net

Published 1 May 2004

Folk Harp Journal
The Emerald Crossing by Star Edwards reviewed by Jennifer Pratt-Walter

Star's album is a journey through Celtic harp traditions, touching on many emotions and styles along the way. From lightheartedly playful to sweetly pensive, from courageous to somber, Star's choice of tunes complements those seeking to expand or enhance their Celtic collection.

Both nylon and wire strung harps in turn take center stage. Nimble fingers make the jig "Pet of the Pipers" an energetic start. "Sheebeg Sheemore" takes on new character with unexpected and interesting rhythmic changes, casting the wellknown tune into more of its descriptive battle role. Those big and small fairy mounds aren't being lulled to sleep in this version!

Star's strongest musical skill is undoubtedly the wire-strung harp. I enjoyed her evocative ancient sound, precise ornamentation, and varied rhythm treatments on the wire harp feature pieces "Stu Mo Run," "The Harp of Dunvegan," and "Feahgan Geleash." The plaintive call of uilleann pipes made "Sea Invocation" the standout of the collection. Pipe and harp call to each other, like selkies from afar. Insistent drone and repetitive patterns are a constantly present, reminiscent of sea tides.
Pennywhistle dances with harp on a unique version of "Wild Mountain Thyme." "Dark-Eyed Molly" has a chord structure that concludes the album on a contemporary wistful note.

For those seeking harp masterful handled in the ancient wire-strung style look no farther. "The Emerald Crossing" is a pleasant jaunt over the fields and cobblestones of the Celtic lands. For more information on the web, visit www.starharp.com or write Enoch productions, PO Box 18464, Denver, CO 80218 Tracks: Pet of the Pipers (2:10); Minstrel Boy (2:26); Stu Mo Run (3:30); Coolin (2:20); The Harp of Dunvegan (2:26); Sheebeg Sheemore (3:09); Wild Mountain Thyme (2:58); Feahgan Geleash (2:46); The Sea Invocation (4:01); Marquis of Huntley's Highlanders (2:32); Dark Eyed Molly (2:32).

© 2000 Folk Harp Journal - Winter 2000 http://www.folkharpsociety.org/pages/journal.html

 

Easy Celtic Harp Solos book

I'm always pleased to see collections for Celtic harp that make an effort to draw on all the different Celtic cultures. In this book Star presents a diverse mix that includes tunes from Manx, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Hebridean, Cornish and Breton backgrounds. It also includes some old favourites like Minstrel Boy, Suo-Gan (Welsh lullaby) and My Love She's But a Lassie Yet. The pieces lie easily under the fingers and the left hand parts are quite simple, making this an accessible book for anyone who is at the playing-with-both- hands stage. However, this is not a book for total beginners, as there are no fingering or placing notes. There are also 3 lever flips, and some sixteenth notes, although the pieces that look fast can be played slowly at first and still sound fine. The keys range from 2 sharps to one flat, and there is one A# in Mylcharaine, so ultimately best suited to a harp tuned to F with full levers. Note that those with harps tuned to Eb can't just substitute a Bb for the A#, since there are also B naturals in this piece (so a lever flip would be required). However all the other pieces would be playable on a harp with levers on the B's, F's and C's. Not suitable for small harp. - T.H. http://www.celticharper.com/musicbooks.html



Play Celtic Harp by Ear. "EZ Beginner's Guide to Harp Tablature
Book & CD

This book is for people who cannot read music, although as Star says in her intro, "Tablature is not meant to be in the place of reading musical notation. It is a bridge into playing and listening as you explore the nature of sound through your chosen instrument". Something beginners should be aware of, is that not all harp tablature is the same. There are several different varieties out there (Star's tablature, for instance, is not the same as Laurie Riley's harp tablature). However, Star explains her tablature clearly at the beginning of the book, so that after a bit of practice it should be quite easy to follow. The book and CD are focused on learning the tunes by ear, with the tablature mainly providing fingering and placing. As with most tablature, there is no way to know from the tab the lengths of notes, rhythms, etc., so it is really meant to be used in conjunction with the CD. While obviously aimed at beginners, this is not a method book, in the sense that it does not give instruction on technique (how to hold your hands and arms, plucking, etc.). My one concern with any book aimed at beginners that does not include notes on technique, is that people may feel they only need to learn to play a melody to be a harp player, and may neglect things like hand position, which can cause problems later on. (This is not a problem with the book itself, more of a general concern that beginners are not always aware that technique is quite important when playing the harp). So as always, I would suggest that any beginning harpist take at least a few lessons with a qualified teacher, to learn proper hand position and plucking technique, so you don't pick up any bad habits. That said, this book is quite self-explanatory and would be very approachable to anyone new to the harp, and would not require any previous musical experience. - T.H. http://www.celticharper.com/musicbooks.html



Two's Company book

Music from the Colorado Celtic Harp Orchestra arranged for two harps. Beginning and Intermediate level. Published by Enoch Productions. Contents: Christmas in Killarney, Christmas Day Ida Moarnin', Eileen Aroon, Eleanor Plunkett, Gentle Maiden, Mo Ghile Mear, Taladh Chriosta, Thugamar Fein an Samhradh Linn. While I haven't had a chance to personally try out this duet book by Star, I did review several of her other books: Easy Celtic Harp Solos, Learn to Play the Celtic Harp, and Play Celtic by Ear. More information about Star Edwards and her music books can be found on her website,- T.H. http://www.celticharper.com/musicbooks.html

 

Learn to Play Celtic Harp book

I especially appreciated the discussion of proper sitting posture and avoidance of injury for harpers. The 34 melodies presented as teaching aids reflect a multi-ethnic, international approach to the repertoire... I enjoyed her discussion of the "dominant hand" determining which shoulder the harp should be held on, since the dominant hand will naturally have more melodic facility than the weaker hand.

Darhon Rees-Rohrbacher © 1999 Folk Harp Journal
1999
Spring Issue

As the front of the book says, "Four levels of learning; Learn one hand at a time, one clef at a time." Divided into four sections. Includes practice tips, "musical athlete stretches" and avoiding injury, as well as photos and diagrams showing hand position, stretches, sitting with the harp, etc. Basic theory, including tips on reading notes and counting rhythm. Notes on the various tunes are included at the back of the book. For self-taught harpists or those taking lessons. -- T.H. http://www.celticharper.com/musicbooks.html

 

Dirty Linen Issue #61


S
tar Edwards Arc of Promise [Enoch Productions (1995)] Celtic harpist Star Edwards presents a savory plate of traditional and original tunes that are strikingly beautiful and dense in structure. Edwards plays not only harp, but also Arabian drum, recorder, bells and keyboards on songs that range from her original renditions of the Sephardic tunes "King of France" and "Puncha! Puncha!" to the trio oftraditional Israeli songs "Dodi Li/Shalom Chaerim/Mana Vu." There's also some French,English, Spanish, Irish and American tunes, but her original compositions like the cleverly written "Silken Yoke," the more urbane love song "Song for Life" and the haunting melody of "Amethyst Rising" are the most intriguing works offered. Edwards' playing is impeccable with the distinct ability to infuse these tunes with her passion and sincerity. Amidst the dozens ofCeltic harp albums available, Arc of Promise stands out with its unique selection of spiritual material. (JM) Used by permission of Dirty Linen. © 1995 Dirty Linen

STAR EDWARDS, Arc of Promise: This radiant album of harp music opens with the hauntingly beautiful title cut, harp and recorder blending and dancing around each other. Though a piece inspired by the faith of Joan of Arc, it was hard not to feel transported to an Irish wood full of faeries and elves. The album goes on to cover a wide range of musical origins and traditions. Edwards' uses her harp to create lovely renditions of traditional Israeli & Sephardic songs (Dodi Li/Mana Vu), Italian (La Rotta, played at a more somber tempo in the beginning than usual, then jumping into a sprightly beat accentuated by Arabian drum), as well as traditional Irish & English tunes. Edwards' use of other instruments is sparse, such as a few notes of bells on Searching for Lambs, moving into a brief drum accompaniment of single beats, then back into harp alone. In her choice to keep the accompanying instruments simple, she has made them more memorable in each piece by their very simplicity. Edwards has done a marvelous job of blending a world palette of harp music that is unique and inspiring.--Anna Alekner © 1995 Heartsong Review Heartsong Review Issue #19

The Music Paper, May 1996

"STAR EDWARDS, Arc of Promise (CD15):Celtic harpist Star Edwards plays sensitive, gentle, new age-ish renditions of traditional Israeli,Spanish, French, Italian and Irish folk tunes, as well as six of her own moving compositions, on this soothing disc." © 1996 The MusicPaper


NAPRA ReVIEW ABA 1996, Vol. 7, No.5

ARC OF PROMISE by Star Edwards, Enoch Productions, 303/831-1744. Those interested in true Celtic harp sounds and melodies will enjoy this imaginative and refreshing mix of voices. Edwards delivers an uncommon mix, modern renditions of traditional melodies that take us on a journey from Ireland to France, Italy, Spain, and America; even ancient Sephardic and Israeli love songs combine pleasantly with her original music. Her mastery of the wire and nylon Celtic harp lends visions of faraway landscapes, helping awaken ancient stirrings as we journey along the paths of the human heart. This is definitely not boring; it is a manifest forward movement in the effort to bring back the vibrational quality of musical expression; through the rebirth of the Celtic harp in the contemporary music scene. -RGW © 1996 NAPRA ReVIEW


Denver Talent Magazine, November 2011
Article on Star

Celtic Harp Music Star Edwards
Denver, CO 7/29/05 at 8:58 pm

Star Edwards is a great performer, and true to the Irish/Celtic spirit. Her music speaks to the soul, whispering images of the Emerald Isle, rolling Highlands, and crystal seas. It evokes the spirits of the Fey Folk said to live there, and one can almost see them dancing joyously as her nimble fingers play across the harp strings. Her music is most definetly worth the price for a CD, which is reasonable and fair. It is often hard to find her music in the large music outlets, however I bought mine off of her website, www.starharp.com. Her next performance is on August 13th, at the Colorado Scottish Festival Heritage Park in Highlands Ranch.


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