Artist: Elizabeth Meacham
Genre: New Age
I was checking my email and I found an email from one Elizabeth Meacham asking about the possibility of a review for her CD. Like with most emails of this sort, I replied by reiterating what I have up on the Muse’s Muse web site: I am really interested in music that is unique and expresses the artist’s inner being.
When Elizabeth wrote back, she described her music as “mix of genres” using “a variety of instrumentation, including thumb piano, alto recorder, and spoken word as rhythm sections.” She also said her music focused on eco-spiritual themes. The title of the CD, Ecologos, was related the Greek concepts of mythos, logos and theos. In English, I believe these roughly translate into legend, philosophy, and theology. “Ecologos” extends these with the recognition of ecology and the spirit of the Earth itself.
Yea, this is pretty heady stuff, but I was intrigued. This sounded like something I could get my head around. It was not going to be “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, yada, yada.”
When the CD arrived, I stuck it into my car CD player and listened to it on the way to work. If a CD can keep my attention while I am contending with traffic, it must be pretty good. The first two songs were good. I wasn’t knocked out, but I didn’t reach for the next CD either.
Then came the title track, Ecologos. That one knocked me out. It is a combination of spoken word, poetry, chant, and singing with a mbira (“thumb piano”) in the background. It is recorded using multiple tracks so each of these elements overlaps the others and forms intricate patterns of sound and music. The theme of the lyrics is man’s relationship with nature and general disrespect we have shown her. This could easily have descended into the realm of the preachy and obnoxious or the political, but it didn’t. It was intriguing and engaging. It was at this point that I got what she was doing.
The next song was Lay Down In The River. It continued the themes of the previous song but from a different perspective. The multiple tracks in this piece were an exercise in counterpoint and harmony which supported and enhanced the melody and lyrics. Again, Elizabeth could have missed the mark by making it overly complicated or overly simplistic, but she didn’t. She balanced the two perfectly to create a wonderful atmosphere for the listener.
And so the CD goes, track after track. Each song unique but somehow tied in with the previous songs. The Trees Are Talking to Us is another example of spoken word combined with chant and music. It is written from the point of view of the trees and how they might view humanity and how our nature is so different from their’s.
When the CD was over, my player switched back to the first track, Be Still, and I listened to it again. This time with a new perspective. This time with a new understanding. It was as if I was hearing for the first time. This time I got it. The same with the second track, Where Have All the Stories Gone? I got that one, too.
Few CDs I receive get more than one listen, but this one was definitely an exception. If any of this tweaks your curiosity, go to Elizabeth’s web site at www.elizabethmeacham.com. You can listen to the songs from Ecologos, and if you are so inclined, you can purchase a copy of the CD. This is an artist worthy of our support if for no other reason than to hear what she comes up with next.