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Binkelman's Corner by Bill Binkelman
Bill Binkelman is a long-time icon in the industry.
Other reviews from Binkelman's Corner by Bill Binkelman:
  Healing Music Volume 2 by Valerie Romanoff, reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 5/7/2018
  Every Moment by Joseph L Young, reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 5/7/2018
  One Drop Became An Ocean by Charles Denler, reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 5/7/2018
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Add Colours to my Sunset Sky
By Trine Opsahl
Label: Heart to Heart Records
Released 5/29/2017
Add Colours to my Sunset Sky tracks
1. Songs from a Mountain I
2. Sunshine on a Stony Path
3. Rosebed Garden
4. In a Grain of Sand
5. Eternity in a Song
6. Lightly Dance Into the Morning
7. Songs from a Mountain II
8. Rose of the Eternal Spring
9. Add Colours to my Sunset Sky
10. Diving into an Ocean of Love
11. Today Will Be Forever
12. Leaving on a Thursday Morning
13. Graceful Like a River
Trine Opsahl - Add Colours To My Sunset Sky
After her acclaimed 2015 collaboration, Unbroken Dreams, with daughter Josefine (a fantastic cellist), Celtic harpist Trine Opsahl has gone solo on Add Colours To My Sunset Sky. However, the word "solo" has a different meaning than on 2012's Somewhere in a Hidden Memory. On her new album, besides her exquisite Celtic harp playing, Trine also, for the first time, adds wordless vocals to four tracks and also plays the monochord (think tamboura drone but slightly different in a way that is hard to put into words) on two selections. Two of the wordless vocal tracks feature her singing with harp, while the opening piece, "Songs From A Mountain I," has vocals and monochord (no harp) as does the closing selection, "Graceful Like A River," and one track features all three "instruments." There are thirteen songs all total, so that means eight tracks are just solo Celtic harp.

Trine's vocals are a lot like her harp playing: delicate, soft, and subtle, although the mood of the vocals can vary. For example, the previously mentioned opening track's vocals are more haunting, perhaps even mysterious, in nature. When combined with the song's monochord, the evocation is not dark, but shadowy. Whereas on "In A Grain Of Sand" her singing has a distinct wistful quality as well as having a more "tuneful" characteristic, including a wordless refrain that is easily recognizable as such. Whenever she sings, her lilting tone and soft approach suits her harp playing perfectly. As for the monochord, it may not add more than an ambient texture when it appears, although I suppose on the two tracks when it is just monochord and vocals, it adds depth to the "whole," that vocals alone would not hold. "Songs From A Mountain II" features all three (vocals, harp, and monochord) and in this setting, the monochord is relegated to much more of a supporting role than its other appearances.

If you have read any of my previous reviews of Opsahl's releases, whether solo or with Josefine, you know how highly I praise her Celtic harp playing. She is certainly among the best in the world on the instrument, and what underscores this even more so (both on this album and on Somewhere in a Hidden Memory) is that she records her own originals, no "traditional" Celtic/Irish tunes. Obviously, the Celtic harp cannot help but sound at least somewhat Celtic, but Trine avoids leaning on any cliché elements of that genre of music, instead carving out songs that utilize the instrument's unique sonic qualities. Even casual reading about her background mentions that she performs in the Danish palliative care system, playing for terminally ill patients in hospitals and hospices. She also incorporates her studies in the art of breathing when she performs (and, in fact, she cites these studies as being an impetus in adding vocals on the album, stating in the liner notes "The introduction of the singing voice on this album is for me the manifestation of a natural development in the art of breathing that is central to my work."). Of course, she also performs at concerts and other venues unrelated to the health care system, but it is her devotion to the latter cause that is so admirable.

Add Colours To My Sunset Sky spins its gossamer thin web of healing melodies from start to finish, including the occasional excursion into singing or the ambient nature of the monochord. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that her exquisite harp playing is what pulls me in emotionally on the album (and on all her releases). While the vocals and ambient textures of the monochord are welcome additions, her harp playing is mesmerizing and holds an almost siren-like attraction for me. Another aspect I wish to mention before closing is how her melodies are never ever saccharine or syrupy, yet they are not abstract or inaccessible either. Sometimes, the harp sounds sweet and beautiful, other times it sounds sad and reflective. Trine Opsahl's abilities to bring forth a myriad of evocations from her instrument marks her as a singular artist possessed of a vision that demonstrates deep-rooted emotions connected to her playing. You truly get the sense that these songs mean a lot to her. What higher praise can I offer than that?
- reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 6/25/2018
 
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