Beck Sian,
(independent, 2006)

There are certain things we associate with Celtic music -- a lilting voice, guitar, tin whistle, harp. Beck Sian, an Australian singer-songwriter, adds a few less familiar elements from her homeland.

Among these are the didgeridoo and bullroarer. While not traditional, these elements enhance the ethereal quality of her beautiful, haunting voice and the poetry of her original lyrics.

She calls her style "haunted forest music" and says it is inspired by nature, storms, ghost stories and the sub-tropical rainforests of the Dandenong Ranges, where she lives. She titled this 16-track album Unfurling in recognition of the unfurling of the fern-fronds of the forest and for the unfurling of her own self-discovery.

With her waist-length red hair and Celtic tattoos, she looks like she was meant to sing this kind of music, and perhaps she was. As a little girl, she says, her favorite things were thunderstorms and dragonflies and her favorite place was the wood where she would sit and write her songs and poems. Having famed English singer Kate Bush as a cousin couldn't have been a bad influence, either. Nor could being gifted with a pure soprano voice.

With a compelling, hypnotic style that blends the traditional and very contemporary, her music has been compared by some to her cousin as well as Loreena McKennitt. Yet, it is uniquely personal and unlike anything familiar.

A majority of the songs are her own, though she bows to tradition with such pieces as "Greensleeves" and "The Blacksmith." Backing is provided by Paul Strahan, keyboards; David Robson, bullroarer and windchimes; Pieter Hart, fiddle; and Stax the Didgeman, didgeridoo.

Quoting the lyrics from "Moss," "There is sweet music here that softer falls than glowing leaves from autumnal trees or rivers weeping into waterfalls and shadowy whispers carried on the breeze."

by John R. Lindermuth
25 November 2006

[ visit the artist's website ]