A madrigal is defined as "a lyrical poetic form developed in the 16th century where two independent melodies are juxtaposed in harmony." New Brunswick duo Madrigal lives up to that definition, and the considerable talents of Debbie Adshade (voice, acoustic guitar) and Judy Kamminga (voice, Celtic harp) are notable on every track. They have also brought in a number of guest musicians to fill out the instrumentals. When there are additional instruments, however, they are never overpowering. The result is a set of simple, unclouded songs.
The record opens with a recitation to music from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. They call upon the Bard again for the title track, which begins with his words. From the beginning of the first track, the percussion of Glen Deveau and Michael Doherty provides the rhythm. Both Adshade and Kamminga are talented vocalists and their voices blend seamlessly together. One of the things I like most about Madrigal's music is the rhythm, which is both lilting and determined. A standout on Reverie is their interpretation of the traditional favourite "I's the B'y." The title and choruses have been changed to "He's the Boy" and the arrangement updated by Michael Doherty. Madrigal's two members share writing credits on all the other tracks, except where they borrow from Shakespeare.
"Corona Borealis" is one of three beautiful instrumental tracks on the record. This one, named for the Northern Crown constellation, stands out for its simplicity -- only guitar and harp provide the sound.
Another notable on the record is "Breathing Space," a wonderfully intuitive song about those times when we just need to be alone, when the world seems to be crumbling and life is spiraling out of control. Adshade and Kamminga betray their heritage in the lovely "Ocean," an ode to the soul-healing powers of a walk along the New Brunswick shore.
Madrigal concludes a pleasant listening journey with the third instrumental track, "Glimmer Ditty," which does actually sound like what I would imagine sunlight glimmering on the surface of the rippling water would sound like were it to have sound.
Madrigal is a talented duo; they take their listeners on a lyrical journey on Reverie. It's unusual, original (two words often used interchangeably which do not mean the same thing) and easy to listen to. Perfect for warm summer patio nights.
[ by Rachel Jagt ]