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Henta: Butterfly Song
I learned of Henta, from Ethan Matthew's Echo Us project. Henta was a guest singer on that project, but she is an independent Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and producer originally from the UK, now living in Roslyn, Washington, USA. Butterfly Song is Henta's fifth release, and follows her last album release Laserium for the Soul which was nominated for a Grammy in 2009 and highlights her musical evolution over the past 20 years.
As Henta states in her PR statement, Butterfly Song is a story of metamorphosis, transformation, passion and compassion. It documents the flight back into the world following a time of reflection, self-discovery and recaptured joy, gained during a new chapter of life. It speaks of freedom from the paralysis of fear so deeply and inherently engrained within us. It is also a call to action for people to awaken from a state of passive observation into a proactive mindset that benefits both community and the planet" (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/henta4, 2012).
The guest musicians sharing their gifts on this album include: Maria Scherer Wilson, (cellist on Rain); Ethan Matthews, (acoustic & electric guitars - (Magic Queen); Jim Graham, (upright bass on Magic Queen); Marcell Marias (dumbek Magic Queen); Roger Beardsley, (acoustic bass Shine Again and Back to Peace); and Hugh Fraser, (banjos on Shine Again).
"Magic Queen" is a peaceful, joyous opening, like the first breath of light from a sunshine filled spring day, after a long cold winter. The guitar work from Matthew's tracks perfectly to the rhythm of Henta's voice and the dumbek keeps pace with both. You can hear Henta's passion throughout this piece, especially in the lyrics, "Gonna take you…on a beautiful dream. Gonna warm you with my desire".
"Shine Again" is fun romp in Eastern Washington's western culture, like a walk through the Methow Valley in the summer, full of banjo, foot stomping and clapping. Just try not to dance. "Well I say love will never die. Push the dark clouds up from the sky. I say truth will conquer pain, as people learn to shine again".
"Rain" is one of the best tracks on the album. It is full of emotion, tears, and yet there is a wink of light that shines through. The lyrics even reflect the hard times, "And all I see is a dry land. And it's screaming out for life. It's been so many years now. Since the drought." Beautiful piano and soft cello comfort and surround Henta as she sings. But this is also a protest song against the destruction of the Earth and natural resource depletion by large corporate farming.
"Yellow", I have to admit took me right back to one of my favorite albums by the Innocence Mission. The feelings and the motion of the wave like rhythm just takes you away. "Ye…aaaaa..llow", yeh, that sounds so good when Henta sings it. Yeh, the drums and guitar set the perfect pace for sitting in a field of green on a mountain side or a field of daffodils in the Skagit Valley. Yellow, the happiness color in the world!
"Gingerbread House", will take you back to childhood with fairytale like girlish singing. Henta actually owns a cute home that almost looks like a gingerbread house in Roslyn. The song reflects the joy of owning her own place in one of Washington's most fascinating locations. Pitched directly between the cold, wet Western Cascades and the dry eastern desert, Henta has plenty of vistas and opportunities to appreciate the overwhelming landscapes that surround her. Yes, it is tough to make a new start, and this song captures those emotions well, but Henta has stood tall through it all.
"Hummingbird" is another great song full of reflections on the past wrapped up in the feelings of the moment. Well-paced drums, acoustic guitar and keys follow Henta's vocal humming as she drifts through the emotions and moments of ascension and decline.
"People Come Alive" is another fun romp full of powerful uplifting emotion and wonderful lyrics. "Today is a good day with a vibration strong". The guitar work is some of the best on the album. The keys and percussion support the rhythm well. The lyrics really lift your emotions high. A real energy provider.
"I've Come Home" is another wonderful story of happiness and love. "Right up to daylight I will love you. Through the mist and the rain I will carry you. When the sun shines down I will know you. That's when I know I've come home". Powerful lyrics driven with soft cello and excellent keys.
"Whole Heart" opens with excellent guitar chording and then Henta's soft voice. "Give me that…whole heart". Yeh, it almost sounds like a Laurie Anderson/Peter Gabriel track. Henta's voice fills the soundscape like no other song on the album. All the glory of her voice spread across the fine layers of keys that weave in and out. Simply amazing.
"Back to Peace" opens with soft acoustic guitar that will simply hold your attention spellbound. The chords weave their magic as you close your eyes and contemplate the sky above, sitting in a meadow of tall grass, as the soft trickle of the river rolls by.
"Sway With Me" opens with soft, warm keys over a drifting dreamscape. Then Henta sings, "Pictures in my mind. So many times…so many times. Just sway with me. Just you and me". Henta's British accent is wonderful.
Henta ends the album with the epic track, "Whisper". "My mind is rolling along. My heart is broken. But I am strong". "When you whisper I get lost in the sound". A near whisper, but full of emotion, with a Gaelic sounding melody and feel. "My life is changing. The weight is getting lighter".
This is an amazing album of transitions and original, heart – felt music. Butterfly Song traces Henta's recent development and move from Seattle, and like a butterfly she transitions well, rising above circumstances and a move across regions.
1. Magic Queen
2. Shine Again
5. Gingerbread House
7. People Come Alive
8. I've Come Home
9. Whole Heart
10. Back to Peace
11. Sway With Me
Added: April 16th 2012
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: Hentamusic.com
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