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4.7 4
by Ronan Hardiman
Well known as the composer behind Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames, Ronan Hardiman shifted to a softer, more soulful tone in 1997 with his solo opus Solas. That exploration continues with the comforting wash of Anthem, which


Well known as the composer behind Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames, Ronan Hardiman shifted to a softer, more soulful tone in 1997 with his solo opus Solas. That exploration continues with the comforting wash of Anthem, which layers smooth melody lines upon invigorating rhythms, allowing the listener a heavenly textural ride or an energetic engagement with the beats. Vocalist Leslie Dowdall joins in on tracks such as "That Place in Your Heart," which asks the universal question "Why can't we live as one?" Echoes of funky bass create a lonely city ambiance, contrasting with her silky harmonies. The title track flies atop the airy cadence of a Chariots of Fire runner, as Dowdall's voice blows like the wind behind. "Ancient Lands" pounds with militaristic tribal drums, while heartbeats, nature sounds, and choir chants lift the melody to cinematic proportions. "Ready for Life" takes things into a smoother plane with a broad spectrum of strings and lyrical piano melodies, while the lovely "Where Are You Now" begins with the healing sound of rain and hammered dulcimer before it sets into a full-on groove. The final track is the touching "Heaven (Waiting There for Me)," which whispers a longing for celestial reunion. Anthem comes from the heart and should be a delight to all Hardiman fans.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
The greatest joys of composer/keyboardist Ronan Hardiman's spiritually minded Anthem derive from the fact that he cross-pollinates his lilting, ultra-melodic melodies into so many different genre settings. Best known for his score to Michael Flatley's stage show Lord of the Dance, Hardiman draws heavily upon Celtic influences (texturing his hypnotic atmospheres with Leslie Dowdall's Enya-like vocals on the title track), but also creates throbbing trip-hop rhythmic foundations and ambiences which sound reminiscent of Enigma. On "Runaway," he plays a jazz-influenced melody in the vein of Keiko Matsui between heavily percussive, spirited vocal chorus parts sung angelically by Dowdall; however, an operatic vocal interlude seems a bit excessive. Likewise, the spoken voice over the hip-hop-influenced smooth jazz flavors of "Ready for Life" are unnecessary to get the emotion of the song across. Despite this stylistic variety, there is a certain similarity in Hardiman's approach: lay the rhythmic grooves, add atmosphere and vocals, and play great melodies. "Ancient Land," however, opens with dense tribal drumming and ominous orchestral overtones which draw world music and a classical influence into the equation. Listeners might have a hard time creating an exact definition of what Hardiman is doing here, but that's exactly why there's never a dull moment.

Product Details

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Decca U.S.


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Anthem 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My friend let me borrow her ANTHEM cd and I now have a few favorite songs! The best songs are #2 and 5 (That place in your heart, Salve) But there are some songs on this cd that aren't so great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cd took me completely by surprise. I was actually walking through Barnes and Noble when I heard "Anthem" playing. I stood around for awhile, listening to the following songs. I knew I had to have it and immediately bought it! The music is so soothing that it actually relaxes me when I listen to it. "That Place in Your Heart" and "Run Away" are my favorites. I don't typically listen to Celtic, or Celtic- influenced, music, but this was a cd that made me expand my listening range. I think anyone who wants to relax and experience music at its height should listen to this cd!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD was a pleasant surprise. I came across this CD while trying to find the music to Russian figure skater Alexei Yagudin's exhibition performance at the 2002 Winter Olympics. The Men's Figure Skating Gold Medallist skated to the song ''Ancient Lands'' on this CD. By far the most powerful track on the CD, it's rhythmic tribal drums and haunting choir vocals evoke images of dark armies marching towards battlefields of both dread and glory...you could easily use this piece to herald a band of Uruk-Hai Orcs from Tolkien lore or a group of Klingons from Star Trek lore. Foreboding, blood pounding, and exhilarating. This was the song I was looking for. So why was this CD a ''pleasant surprise''? As much as I was drawn to the power of ''Ancient Lands'', I found myself equally enchanted by the more soothing tracks like ''That Place in Your Heart'' and ''Run Away''. These songs feature the beautiful vocal talent of Leslie Dowdall. One part Vangelis, one part Enya, one part Delerium, one part Robert Miles. Forget that this was the same composer of Michael Flatley's ''Lord of the Dance''--this CD is all Ronan Hardiman and 100% pure genius.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this CD. It will definately cheer you up, give you energy and want to make you dance around. The opening song ''anthem'' would be great to listen to while either watching a wonderful sunset or while cruising along on a 40 foot sailboat with nothing but blue skies and blue water...waves crashing over the bow.