Album Review by Dyan Garris, New Age CD
By Christian Celebration
In a time when the world is divided and splitting in so many ways, we have beautiful music here that calls deeply to the soul of collective consciousness for unity and oneness. This is “Pangaea,” the musical creation between GRAMMY® winning flutist Wouter Kellerman and 4-time GRAMMY® nominee David Arkenstone.
Pangaea was the actual super continent that existed on Earth before it broke apart to form the separate continents we now have. So here, in this exquisite New Age Contemporary Instrumental “World” album consisting of 9 gorgeous tracks, we are invited to remember and feel the oneness of spirit that we intrinsically ARE.
One of Wouter’s areas of expertise is experimenting with the shades, textures and colors of the flute, and innovatively blending them with other instrumentation and vocal sounds.
David, a world-renowned multi-instrumentalist with 65 albums in release and 22 Billboard hits, has captivated audiences since 1987 when he released his debut album, “Valley in the Clouds.” David’s distinctive tracks are “unique fusions of cinematic rock, classical, and world music, which create soundscapes for your imagination.” I think no one does it better.
David, performing mainly on guitar and keyboards, and Wouter performing mainly on various flutes, are joined on “Pangaea” by a host of stellar talent in additional instrumentation, production, arrangements, and ethereal vocals, including vocalists Seay, Aeone, and even Mbuso Khoza.
The album opens with the enchanting, hypnotic, “Desert Moon.” This is wonderfully exotic, with a rhythmic world beat (drums by Daniel Chase), and powerful, magical vocals by Aeone, as well as flute, keyboards, guitar, and Bill Hare performing on bass. What a magnificent opening. The journey commences.
Following is one of my favorites on “Pangaea,” “A New World.” This is a dreamy dream where all inhabitants of Earth function in unity of purpose for peace and love. The flutes (and all else) are amazing here, and in a few short seconds, we know exactly why Wouter Kellerman has a GRAMMY® and several equivalent award nominations. The piece is flowing and soul-soothing. This is so very beautiful in every way, inspiring new beginnings on every level.
A Swahili word meaning “unite,” or “get together,” “Ungana” features the passionate vocals of South African roots singer, Mbuso Khoza. Originally intended to be instrumental, this particular addition makes the song truly special.
If we did all get together in the spirit of unity, we might then find ourselves dancing a “Dance of Joy.” The rhythms and expressiveness of this piece will indeed make you come alive from head to toe. I love the plucky kora here (Daniel Berkman), as it adds even more lightness to David’s keyboards and guitar, along with Wouter’s masterfully breathy flute. True to its title, this is wonderfully happy, optimistic, and joyful.
Peaceful and flowing, “The Sun’s Reflection” transports us effortlessly to the ocean’s edge. Ethereal vocals by Seay are perfect for conveying that ambiance. Flute and guitar (Paul Carlos), bass (Schalk Joubert), cello (Anjulie Nock), piano, accordion, and drums (Kevin Gibson), make this another to love. Gorgeous.
Wouter’s skillful use of the contrabass flute to emulate the sound of heavy raindrops begins the piece “First Rain.” Part of what makes this piece so intriguing is the unconventional time signatures. David’s keyboards are outstanding, as well as his writing for the kora (Daniel Berkman), percussion, string, and otherworldly vocal parts.
Sensitively played, heart-centering flutes, plus keyboards and gentle guitar create a flawless, peaceful “Sunrise.” This beautiful and ultra-relaxing song charted #6 on our New Age Notes Radio Top 10 chart in October. At 3:33, I only wish it were longer, because one can literally feel the deep peace emanating from this song seeping into their very soul and lingering for some time after.
“Taranaki Rises” has that magically exotic, colorful, and hypnotic feel to it. Legend has it that Mount Taranaki (in New Zealand), is said to be hiding from his lost love when surrounded by rainclouds, and in the converse, revealing himself to her in times of spectacular sunsets. This piece is a multi-layered, compelling tapestry with outstanding instrumentation, such as various flutes, keyboards, and guitar, plus George Varghese on bass and Jordan Buetow on hammered dulcimer. What makes this truly outstanding is yet another South African roots artist, Pops Mohamed, who added his amazing artistry to the mix: Wind whistle, bird whistle, Indian chime, kora, mouthbow, mbira, and Khoisan.
The album closes out with the magnificent, “Across Land and Sea,” which brings our journey full circle. While on such an epic voyage across land and sea, one would, indeed, encounter ever changing vistas and landscapes along the way. We have the perfect embodiment of that atmosphere here. Wouter’s always engaging flute weaves its magic around David’s dynamic keyboards and guitar. Along with this is the addition of the bandoneon (Rodolfo Zanetti), which adds brilliantly to the shifting landscape. Additionally, hammered dulcimer, bass, and drums, all add to the exhilaration of this piece that has a great deal of movement and life force energy. This is a perfect end to a perfect album. Breathtaking.
Coming back together into a place of wholeness has never before seemed so easy and effortless. Yes, you’ll want to get the entire thing.