Customer Reviews for

Portals of Grace

Average Rating 5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Discreet Beauty

    How lucky was I when I randomly picked up this CD when I was being urged by my companions out of the store? Ali's unique combinations of Arabic music and traditional european lyrics is enough to keep me listening, but her voice can be both warming and haunting. I enjoy this CD tremendously, and recommend it to any fans of Loreena McKennit as a slight "branch out" from her sultry tunes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Earthy, elegant, ethereal ¿ exceptional!

    How can something be earthy and ethereal--a complete contradiction in terms--at the same time? I wouldn¿t have considered it likely either until I heard this CD, but these are the qualities of Azam Ali, both as a vocalist and an arranger. Her voice has a bell-clear purity reminiscent of Anonymous 4, but she easily incorporates the microtonal croons and quavers of her Persian and Indian heritage as well. On this release she interprets primarily Sephardic and medieval European songs to the accompaniment of instruments from east and west alike. Her arrangements are alternatingly lush and spare as the selections demand, but resonate always with a surprising depth of sound and feeling. Guest musicians include her partner from Vas, percussionist Greg Ellis; viellist Shira Kammen; Chris Bleth on duduk; Pejman Hadadi on tombak and def; Naser Musa on oud; and others. As an enjoyable contrast to her vocals, Ali allows the instrumentalists free reign on several numbers of their own. ¿I see the human voice as a reflection of the truest self within us,¿ says Ali, ¿through which we can mirror forth, either through prayer or song, the beauty and Grace of God.¿ Well said, and well sung. This is one of my favorite albums to have come out in the year 2002, and another is somewhat of a companion work: the solo album ¿Kala Rupa: Explorations in Rhythm¿ by Greg Ellis. Ellis and Ali form the duo Vas, and as such have three other releases which also stretch the boundaries of vocal and percussive music. If you enjoy Ali¿s vocal work, you might like that of the groups Sarband, Vox, and Anonymous 4 as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Ancient Sounds and Moods; A Work of Musical Art

    This album is a mixture of medieval harmonies and haunting Eastern vocals. It's not a piece of modern 'pop', but a revival of ancient sounds and moods that stirs the soul. Light your fireplace and/or candles and prepare for an incredibly seductive evening with a special someone. It¿s a magical work of musical art.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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