Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Angelic Strings: Stairway to Heaven

I was channel surfuring after work today and caught site of a show called America's Got Talent or something like that. Anyhow, upon recovering from whiplash and tempoary but painful blindness after noticing that both David Hasselhoff and Regis Phibin were on TV at the same time, my ears saved my senses and caught something rather pleasant. No, it wasn't Angelic Strings (I'll get to that later) but it was a gal name Corina giving a soulful performance on voice and celtic harp. I loved it. The judges hated it. :(

Why? They were expecting something more soothing and angelic. One of the judges mentioned that she didn't seem to showcase her technique.

Now, I happen to play harp and I happen to play the fluffy pouffy sucrose filled grandiose heavenly sounding stuff because that's the only stuff I can play. It is much easier to play big fat angelic chords than to do the complex R&B arpeggios, finger picking and note bending stuff she was doing (celtic harps use individual levers instead of foot pedals to get half notes). It simply takes more precision to play in her style. Yeah, in my opinion she has oodles of technique and talent...but no, the judges wanted something more soothing.

Needless to say, I have great respect for harpists who not only have technical aptitude but can think outside the box and break out of the be-wingged mode. One such musician is Michael Morris of Angelic Strings. Yes, the name is sweet and it is true that weddings are the usual venue, but they're much more profound than what the title and instrumentation would indicate. Coupled with his beautiful wife, Belinda who plays viola and percussion (Michael also plays flute), these two are not only capable of producing heavenly tunes, but they're able to groove and jam as well. The album Stairway to Heaven is a excellent example of their celtic, blues and latin infused style. This CD is full of energy and features interesting arrangements while still maintaining the elegence of a string ensemble.

Listen to:
"Sunset and Moonshadowe"
"Moon Cat"
"Nylon Bongo Passion"

Angelic String's Official Website
Purchase Stairway to Heaven from CD Baby

(photo by Cindy Chang)


Anonymous Shawn said...


Friday, July 14, 2006  
Anonymous Shawn said...

Great picture by the way, I like the color.

Friday, July 14, 2006  
Anonymous cchang said...

Thanks. That's sepia tone, BTW. You can get it in the darkroom when you process the film, but in this case I used a special film that is sort of a "fake" black and white film.

Friday, July 14, 2006  

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