"Silent Voices" review on Higher Plain Music!
Soulful world folk.
Ayla Schafer has been creating new age world folk music for many years and has become a cornerstone in the new age community. On her new album ‘Silent Voices’, Ayla pays homage to Mother Nature and also offers a flavour of indigenous music too in her acoustic and roots work.
‘Silent Voices’ is an album that bathes in the element of water. Many of the songs include water lyrics, speak of giving new life to the world and there are even baby sounds included. Just as interesting is that with tracks like ‘Fluydendo’ and ‘Grandmother (I Am the Earth)’ feel like they are transitioning from generation to generation. The guitars, kalimba, flutes, strings and occasional hang that permeate the album also emphasis the water and heritage themes too. The album is beautifully produced and thoughtfully tracked to tell a story.
One of the other things that Ayla Schafer has done with this album is to make all of the tracks extremely long and cathartic. Over half the tracks are over seven minutes and this allows for audio storytelling. Be it a kalimba trickle, a gentle call and response vocal or lots of healing hums. Schafer also loves an extended outro and whilst that may feel like it drags the album out for some, this 83-minute album is all about taking the time to listen. The warm production allows you to sink into its mellow mood and drift off and away with Ayla and her silky clean voice.
Personal highlights include the Celtic Asian fusion ballad ‘Rose’, the vocal delivery of the angelic ‘Cuatro Direcciones’ that lets the harp and guitar flutter by, the uplifting celebratory feel of South America in the title track and the final trio of songs. The final trio of songs really taps into the indigenous side of the album. Whilst Ayla could have gone full in for a huge drum circle (and I’d have been here for it), instead, her delicate acoustic folk tendencies allow her to skip through the forests of sound. Add in a dulcimer, guitars, warm soft drums and the softest of flutes and ‘Song of the Drum’, ‘Wisdom of the Invisible’ and closer ‘Plumajera’ make a triple hug finale that warms your soul.
I’m delighted that my final review of 2020 is for an album that sings of unity, healing and presence. Ayla Schafer manages to feel genuinely connected to her surroundings and produces some of the most beautiful world folk I’ve heard all year. It’s not devotional, it is spiritual. We all needed to call on our own resolve at some point in 2020 and right at the end of it, Ayla Schafer’s album is the hug I needed. Thank you.
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