Sacred songs for the planet – another triumph from the Lowlands’ Melodic Madame, Elly Kellner
Release Date: 30th April 2021
Label: Self release
Formats: Download, Streaming
Well – as we predicted – she’s done it again! Hot on the heels of her March EP, the wonderful The Right Tools (see our review here), The Most Melancholy Lady of the Lowlands, Holland’s Melodic Madame, Elly Kellner has, with her latest EP release, Earth Vibrations, come up with something that is extra special.
Elly is a strong advocate of, and a keen participant in the Beyond Music Foundation, an internet platform established to unite musicians across the globe and to provide a forum in which they can connect and collaborate. Elly describes the Foundation as “…a great way to find and collaborate with artists from around the globe and the best way to stay active when concerts and other cultural events have been cancelled.” And – wow – she has certainly discovered the awesome potential of that forum with the four tracks that comprise Earth Vibrations.
Described as “An ethnic fusion and new age experiment,” and “Sacred songs for the planet,” the EP features 11 artists from nine different countries – Netherlands, Syria, Portugal, Cameroon, Japan, Armenia, Germany, India and Mongolia – and captures flavours and influences from each of those countries. Those flavours are then mixed with a healthy serving of Elly’s signature jazz/folk stylings and pull-no-punches lyricism, and the result is a short collection of music that is challenging, thought-provoking and, above all, highly, highly enjoyable. And, as Elly herself admits: “If it wasn’t for the internet, none of these connections [and none of this wonderful music] would have been made.”
The four songs have been produced and mixed by Elly and her collaborator, Portugal’s Senhora do Ó, both of whom participate on each of the tracks – Elly on vocals, bass and guitars, Senhora do Ó on vocals and a fascinating variety of exotic percussion instruments. For each track, they’ve selected musicians to inject the feel of a different part of the planet – and it works a treat!
The EP opens with the collection’s title track and, from the outset, you know that this EP is special. The tune is dreamy, drum-heavy and ethereal, with a strong African flavour provided principally by the vocal contributions of the track’s chosen collaborator, Cameroon’s Dyllann. It’s a stunning piece of work.
For She Gave Us Everything, Elly and Senhora do Ó are joined by Germany’s Natalia Mateo and Swiss/Indian Bijayashree Samal on vocals. The song is a wonderful fusion of western folk and Indian classical styles and Elly’s lyrics provide the strongest of reminders that Mother Earth (the “She” of the song’s title) is the source of all we have – and will ever have.
The Netherlands’ Tom Baartmans (bass), Armenia’s Jivan Gasparyan Jr (Duduk – an Armenian flute) and Mongolia’s Hulgo Drumming (vocals and percussion) join the party for the middle-eastern flavoured Breathe where words and melody come from Senhora do Ó. The song is an observation and contemplation of an action that we all undertake – subconsciously and constantly – and recognizes the role that trees play in providing the oxygen we need to continue with that life-affirming activity. As always with an Elly Kellner song, it’s a strong message wrapped in a deliciously melodic wrapper.
Closing track Thinking Caps is a sobering reflection on how the human race continues to consume the planet’s finite living and non-living resources and prompts us to reconsider our lifestyle habits with the refrain “I think it’s time to think again” – a reminder that to carry on doing what we’re doing will just drive us, ever more rapidly, to the inevitable ending… Elly and Senhora do Ó are joined this time by Yuji Nakagawa (Japan) on sarangi (an Asian violin-type instrument), Nezar Omran (Syria) on Syrian trumpet and Juan van Emmerloot (Netherlands) on drums, along with the returning Tom Baartmans and Dyllann, and the tune is jazzy, with a distinctly Asian edge.
If, as Elly says, Earth Vibrations is a “New Age Experiment,” then, all I can say is that it’s been a very successful one. I love these tunes, as I’m sure will anyone with an interest in the music of this planet and the way they can be used. To re-use a quote from Iain Matthews – a strong supporter of Elly and her music – “She has it all. The voice, the songs and the charm. The Full Monty. She’s a star in my book, and once you hear her, I know you’ll agree.”
Listen to Earth Vibrations. I’m sure you WILL agree.
Watch the Official video to the EP’s title track, Earth Vibrations, here: