Friday, August 13, 2021

Album Review: Sapphire by Marya Stark

Review by Lissette Cascante

Marya Stark is a vocalist, composer, storyteller, songwriter, performer, and multi-instrumentalist who seems to have mastered the art of transforming herself into many muses or goddesses through her music, dramatic style, and lyrics. In this context, her latest album, Sapphire, a collaboration with Joshua Penman of Akara consisting of 10 songs, tells the story of an intimate and mystical journey of heart exploration and renascence bringing into play the many stages and emotions experienced in one’s earthly or other-worldly existence.

“Sapphire”, the title of the album and of the fourth track, was a deliberate and conscious choice. The precious gemstone gets its name from the Latin and Greek word for blue and is believed by many to emanate energies that help bring peace and harmony to the wearer. The album compositions with its lush vocals, engaging lyrics, organic and digital instrumentations, and masterful arrangements of strings, acoustic guitar, piano, horn, drums, and percussion, seem to do just that as the dreamy and lively tunes succeed in infusing indie folk and dream-pop styles with ethereal and elevated substance.

The album begins with “Echo”, a beautiful and fluttering song of love and luminous stars amidst a backdrop of strings and piano. We dance with the Northern Lights in “Stargazer” in pursuit of mysteries and deeper meaning.

Beautiful vocal work and soft flowing guitar caress the listening ear as the lovely and catchy chorus of “In Between” carries this piece; a favorite of mine since first hearing the song and viewing its accompanying lyric video online. “Blood of the Stones” presents a luminescent piano sound along with Marya’s exquisite high vocals which lead into an arrangement of guitar and drums creating images of intensity and passion.

More sublime musical aesthetics and vibrant lyrics present in the songs that follow such as in “Celestial Butterflies” where guitar and cello dance around each other in a world music environment leading the listener to diverse landscapes.

“Negra Luz” with its beautiful Spanish lyrics has a mystical intro and echoey bells encouraging the listener to reach a harmonic balance between darkness and light, pain and joy, in this musical passage.

Each song on the album seems to radiate an aura of wonder, mystery, and magic. Sapphire is truly a delightful escape from the cares of the present world; a musically resplendent listening experience sure to calm the soul and brighten any day.

~Lissette Cascante for Journeyscapes Radio

For more information, please visit Marya Stark's website. Sapphire is also available at Amazon, Bandcamp and more.