Prism: The Human Family Songbook

Prism: The Human Family Songbook

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by Beth Nielsen Chapman
     
 

Beth Neilsen Chapman remains on the spiritual journey that began with the moving meditations on life and death on her powerful 1997 CD, Sand and Water, penned in the wake of her husband's passing, and continued on her celebrated 2004 collection Hymns, a celebration of Catholic praise. Exploring the universal spiritual light infusing diverse religions,…  See more details below

Overview

Beth Neilsen Chapman remains on the spiritual journey that began with the moving meditations on life and death on her powerful 1997 CD, Sand and Water, penned in the wake of her husband's passing, and continued on her celebrated 2004 collection Hymns, a celebration of Catholic praise. Exploring the universal spiritual light infusing diverse religions, Chapman here presents two discs of music. The first consists of original and traditional songs that testify to the common ground shared by all faiths, beginning with the propulsive, percussive "The Mystery"; the others, each in its own way, also demonstrate the common humanity informing different religions and different styles of music -- from pop-country on "God Is In (Goddess In)" to hip-hop on "My Religion" to a stately Protestant hymn form in the stirring "For the Beauty." On the second disc, Chapman goes global, singing songs centered on the spiritual quest in nine different languages, including English (the stark, a cappella rendering of "The Flame"); Zulu; Welsh (her voice an ethereal near-whisper in a tender old Gaelic hymn, "Durrow"); Farsi; and others. She concludes her ambitious journey with a searching, solemn "Navajo Chant" to summon the Great Spirit, with Bobby Klein adding a rumbling, commanding baritone vocal, accompanied only by John Ragusa's airy flute lines. Remarkable and challenging, Prism is the stuff of life, and Beth Neilsen Chapman's finest hour.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - J. Poet
Beth Nielsen Chapman's warm, honeyed voice has a homey, intimate feel that's perfect for the songs here, religious and spiritual tunes from a variety of traditions and many writers. Chapman contributes several stunners of her own that could easily become pop religious standards and covers material by Jean Sibelius, 19th century British poet Folliot Sandford Pierpoint, Joe Henry, and Hafez as well as traditional and contemporary material from South Africa, Tibet, Cuba, Iran, Israel, India, and the Hopi Nation of Arizona. This 23-song, two-disc set is the second album of an ongoing project Chapman started in the '90s in a desire to pay tribute to the Earth's great religious musical traditions. Chapman's liner notes describe the specific genesis of the album. Self-penned liner notes can often come off coy or overly sentimental, but on Prism they're just as sincere and moving as the songs she's chosen to record. The musicians she works with come from many traditions -- the album could just as easily be filed under world music as pop, folk, or singer/songwriter -- and while all the songs are spiritual in nature, they never sound like sermons. Many, in fact, are graced by a gentle humor that's often missing in spiritual songs. There's not a weak track or a wasted note here, but some songs naturally stand out. "God Is In (Goddess In)," an original with a long list of co-writers, is an ecumenical salute to spirituality that nods to Christians, Jews, Muslims, pagans, Hindus, Rastas, and even atheists. "My Religion (Sweet Love)" is a rap -- yes, you read that right -- that prays for unity and transcendence, with an Arab-flavored Cuban rhythm and classic Indian and African-American gospel backing vocals. "For the Beauty of the Earth" is a hymn of thanksgiving written by Folliot Sandford Pierpoint, its unadorned poetry simply delivered by Chapman and pianist Gary Malkin. "Beautiful Fool" was penned by country hitmaker Don Henry, a moving tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. and non-violence that will have any feeling person weeping by the second verse. "Yemaya" is a Santeria song praising the Mother of Orishas, the spirit of the sea. The quietly driving rhythm track blends Cuban and West African instruments, drums, balafons, banjos, booming udu clay drums, and shakers with passionate vocals from Chapman and Annie and Marie Burns. "Bad-e Saba" is a poem by Hafez set to music by Nader Majd, who shares lead vocals and plays tar. The simple droning arrangement fills the air with hovering overtones, while the vocals ornament the end of each line with quivering melismas. "Pilgrim of Sorrow" is one of the oldest-known Negro spirituals, probably written in the hold of slave ships on the way to the American South. The vocal arrangement by Chapman and Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock is stunning. "In Yonder Valley," another bravura a cappella performance, is one of the oldest-known Shaker hymns, a song that doesn't mention heaven or God, but rather the unity of all beings and the beauty of springtime coming after a long winter. Secular and sacred, newly written and ancient, fully orchestrated or delivered with a single voice, the songs all resonate with a deep spirituality that will awaken the timeless voice within us all.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/05/2008
Label:
Thirty Tigers
UPC:
0898161001772
catalogNumber:
610017
Rank:
63577

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Beth Nielsen Chapman   Primary Artist,Organ,Synthesizer,Bouzouki,Guitar,Mandolin,Piano,Tuba,Keyboards,Ukulele,Vocals,Background Vocals,Bazouki,finger cymbals,Synthesizer Pads
Bill Lloyd   Bass,Bass Guitar
Bonnie Raitt   Background Vocals
Matt Rollings   Piano
Martin Allcock   Bass,Mandocello
Annie Burns   Background Vocals
Marie Burns   Background Vocals
Ernest Chapman   Drums,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals
Viktor Krauss   Bass,Bass Guitar
Victor Masondo   Bass
Takaaki Masuko   Percussion,Shaker
Susan Mouton   Cello,Viola
Kirby Shelstad   Percussion,Drums,Zither,Slide Guitar,finger cymbals
Michael McGoldrick   Flute
Annie Roboff   Organ,Keyboards
Richie Stearns   Banjo
John Ragusa   Flute
Nery F. Arevalo   Shaker,Udu
Bobby Klein   Vocals
Ivo Ivanov   Viola
Kara Reed   Track Performer
Dafydd Roberts   Flute
Keith Horne   Bass,Bass Guitar
Jim Roberts   Percussion,Balafon,Shaker
Doctor Ysaye M. Barnwell   Vocals
Godfrey Mgcina   Percussion
Gwenan Gibbard   Harp,Vocals
Drew Ramsey   Electric Guitar
Christina Quinn   Background Vocals
Ruth McGinnis   Violin
Jessica Friedman   Bass,Vocals
Keio Stroud   Drums
Lodovico Gabenela   Double Bass
Jessie Friedman   Bass Guitar,Vocals
Parker Leonard   Background Vocals
Carel Henn   Cello,Viola
Barbara Malinovski   Violin
Nader Majd   Tar
Mahadevan   Vocals
Mpilo Tutu   Background Vocals
Evert van Niekerk   Viola
Tripp Dudley   Percussion
Elbe Henkins   Violin
Camelia Onea   Violin
Vine Street Christian Church Children's Choir   Vocals
Irene Tsoniff   Violin
Olga Korvink   Viola
Elsabe Laubscher   Viola

Technical Credits

Beth Nielsen Chapman   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Engineer,Liner Notes,Executive Producer,Artwork,Vocal Arrangements,Audio Production
Martin Allcock   Arranger,Producer,Cover Photo
Ernest Chapman   Programming
David Leonard   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Victor Masondo   Producer
Gary Remal Malkin   Arranger,Producer,String Arrangements,keyboard arrangements,Audio Production,Piano Arrangement
Kirby Shelstad   Producer,Engineer
Huw Warren   Arranger
Trina Shoemaker   Engineer
William Sullivan   Graphic Design,Graphic Editing
Annie Roboff   Producer,Audio Production,Language Adaptation
Joseph Arthur   Engineer
Erick Jaskowiak   Engineer
Andrew Mendelson   Mastering
Jim Roberts   Arranger,Producer,Engineer
Eryl B. Davies   Engineer
Evert de Munnik   Engineer
Mike Paragone   Engineer
Doctor Ysaye M. Barnwell   Arranger,Vocal Arrangements
Sandy Mueller   Graphic Design,Graphic Editing
Brian Pruitt   drum programming
William Sender   Engineer
Heather Sturm   Engineer
E. Chapman   Programming

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Prism: The Human Family Songbook 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago