Michael Brant DeMaria has long been fascinated by sound and the relation it has to the health and well-being of the soul. A counselor to abused children, he has explored the healing process and the role creativity plays in moving beyond trauma. A multiple award winning composer and Grammy nominated artist, DeMaria is well versed in several forms of world music and incorporates them into his work. He has worked with many award winning artists and has produced many albums and books. The Maiden of Stonehenge is his latest release.
When I first heard the amazing work of Michael Brant DeMaria, it was with his remarkable album, Bindu in 2011. That was a journey that stuck in my mind and when I was able to review The Maiden of Stonehenge, I was thrilled. Listening to this album is a journey into a Celtic past with world flavors woven in to take you to another place in time. If DeMaria’s goal is to enable healing through sound and to garner creativity, he has decidedly succeeded. I have been playing this album for almost a week non-stop and can’t get enough of the mellow flute, string instruments, stirring percussion, chanting and synthesized undertones.
“Lost Village” covers you in a mist and unleashes the forces of myth and mystery on all you touch, see, hear and feel. Close your eyes and let the lilting and ethereal beauty of the flute flutter over you and transport you back to the times of pagan gods and goddesses. Free your mind from any constraints and let DeMaria lead you into the past, floating on wings of air and gentle wisps of percussion.
“Chantress” made the hair on my arms stand on end. The ethereal voices and string instruments set against a synthesized background evoke images of pagan rites and a priestess blessing her people against ancient standing stones. The female vocals are clear and brought tears to my eyes as the purity of the piece sunk deep into my consciousness. This song is one of my absolute favorites by DeMaria, and encapsulates the versatile nature of his artistry. Voices rise and fall, the multi-instrumentation resonates in the background and I felt an echo deep in my soul.
“Stonehenge” is the last track on the album. The percussion staccato at the onset meshes well with the synthesized sounds floating in the background. Waiting…we are waiting for what will come. She is there. The enchantress from the ritual, here to bring you into yourself. Into a place of healing. Whispering voices and female chanting take over, very much like in “Chantress.” It is only natural that this song should pull my heartstrings as well. It is the ending of one journey and the beginning of another. The symphony of sound transcends time and takes you beyond the cares of the world.
Michael Brant DeMaria has outdone himself with Maiden of Stonehenge. Every note, whisper of flute, chant, drum beat and ethereal breath is a composition worthy of a master. This album is one of my favorites so far and I can’t stop listening to it. If you enjoy New Age music with a Celtic feel, you have got to add this one to your collection. I know you will love it as much as I do. The flute playing, ethereal sounds and chanting will whisk you away to a vacation of the mind and if you are like me, you won’t want to come back.
Key Tracks- Lost Village, Chantress, Stonehenge
October 25, 2012