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Hawkins, Fiona Joy: 600 Years in a Moment

Fiona Joy Hawkins has been referred to as the 'Australian Enya'. Hawkins is an Australian composer, vocalist, and pianist. She was born in Cessnock, New South Wales, to a creative family, and trained as a classical pianist. She is currently a 2013 Independent Music Awards Finalist for Best New Age Album and Best LIVE Performance. She was also an ARIA Finalist in 2009 with Blue Dream, (ABC Music). Currently she is travelling the US touring with Trysette promoting the release of the album 600 Years in a Moment. She has released eight albums prior to the release of this new album.

This is a wonderful album concept from the beginning. Imagine creating music that answers the question of the importance of globalization and how it has affected music. The music and the instruments Hawkins use are ancient treasures that help bring forward the music of the past and blend them with the modern music of today. It is a unique journey and one that Hawkins found to be both rewarding and fulfilling.

Hawkins, softly speaking "The end is the beginning", accompanied by soft piano is the way the title track "600 Years" opens. The soft piano continues with Heather Rankin's vocals singing in Gaelic, as Andy Busuttil and Dan Houghton's Irish whistles and Todd Boston's wooden flute fill the air with soothing acoustic sounds. The famous Tony Levin adds bass guitar and Marc Shulman provides warm Spanish laud and electric guitar. Jeff Haynes provides rhythm with soft frame drum as Eugene Friesen brings emotion with deep cello. Off to a wonderful start.

"Naked Love" opens with deep and solemn piano keys from Hawkins before Rebecca Daniel joins in with violin. Bukhchuluun adds Mongolian morin khuur and throat singing. Paul Jarman plays Chinese bawu as Hawkins piano continues amidst Jeff Hayes percussion, playing hopi drum, Romanian bells, and obsidian chimes. Will Ackerman adds ancient Japanese Kubota to the well flavored sound mix.

"The Journey" opens with Hawkins running piano and percussion from Jeff Haynes that includes Egyptian water bottle, tubano and Meinl shaker. Rebecca Daniels adds soft soprano vocals that blend well with Hawkins own alto vocal. Tony Levin provides a solid electric upright bass guitar and Charlie Bisharat plays violin over the soothing mix of ethereal music.

"Earthbound" is over 4 minutes of Fiona Joy Hawkins playing soft rain drop solo piano at its best.

"Gliding" is a masterpiece production full of instrumental participation from nine players. Hawkins piano plays solid over a global assembly of musical instruments. Some have already been mentioned earlier, so I will add the few that make their debut. The orchestration was composed and arranged by keyboard player Phil Aaberg. Paul Jarman plays Hungarian tarogato. Jeff Haynes adds deer skin drum and obsidian chimes to his array of percussion elements. With a title like gliding the music gives you the effect of gliding through the air or water, depending on your preference.

"Tango on Wednesday" opens with some serious piano keys from Hawkins, before John Robinson adds Turkish oud. Marc Shulman provides Columbian tiple. Jeff Haynes brings even more instruments into his percussion array, including: African djun, Middle Eastern doumbek, tam-tam, deer toenails, African cabasa, Tibetan tingsha bell, and Middle Eastern riq. Andy Busuttil plays African djembe and Dave Ellis plays double bass. The rolling piano from Hawkins continues its tango rhythm as all of the instruments provide their unique dialog to the soundscape.

Hawkins provides backing vocals and strong, uplifting piano to "Running on Joy", as Heather Rankin leads with main vocal and Michael Jackson provides Australian didgeridoo. Rankin sings, "Running on joy. The sun is shining. Heart. Light. Shine. Sky. Sun. Sing. Run. Smile". Hawkins positive uplifting piano keeps pace with the optimistic lyrics and singing.

"Ancient Albatross" opens with soft violin from Rebecca Daniel and perfectly matched piano from Hawkins. The orchestral arrangement and keyboard was composed and performed by Phil Aaberg. Eugene Friesen delivers warm cello to add to the soothing soundscape.

"The Lost Ballerina" brings new instrument sounds from Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, who plays Paraguayan harp. It blends perfectly with the piano melody delivered by Hawkins and Daniel's violin. Eugene Friesen's cellos helps balance the sound well. On "Antarctica" Jeff Haynes provides powerful Native American hopi drum for a beat that enriches the soundscape. Hawkins plays piano as double bass; violins and orchestration are carefully added to the mix.

"Captured Freedom" is full of Hawkins solemn deep piano keys. Paul Jarman returns with Irish whistle and Daniel's plays violin.

"Forgiveness" closes out the album with Hawkins beautiful piano and Paul Jarman playing Chinese bawu.

This is an extremely ambitious project, drawing some very important and talented musicians to its concept. Hearing this diverse pallet of instruments alone is worth the price of admission. Some of these instruments have not been heard outside their original cultures for years on a studio album. The idea that music and the instruments from around the globe can maybe help bring us all together is not only a worthwhile and productive idea, it is also a wonderful experience to enjoy, set to soft calm music.

Please get this CD and enjoy the music and experiences of talented musicians from across the globe. We may have to wait for world peace, but we can bathe in the glow of world unity…if only with our ears.

Track Listing:

1. 600 Years
2. Naked Love
3. The Journey
4. Earthbound
5. Gliding
6. Tango on Wednesday
7. Running on Joy
8. Ancient Albatross
9. The Lost Ballerina
10. Antarctica
11. Captured Freedom
12. Forgiveness

Added: October 10th 2013
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
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Language: english

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