Into the Shadow Garden (Halytha Music, 2010)
Into the Shadow Garden is the debut album of Copal, a New York city-based band led by violinist, composer and producer Hannah Thiem. She introduces a variety of mesmerizing influences that range from North African melodies and rhythms to European folk and dark chamber music. The most attractive parts of the album are her solos and interplays with cellist Isabel Castellvi. The rest of the band includes Robin Ryczek (cello), Chris Brown (bass, keys, sound design), Karl Grohmann (drums), and Engin Gunaydin (darbuka, frame drum, riq).
The live version of Copal intermingles Hannah Thiem’s compositions with improvisation. “We could play the exact same set every night for a week and it would sound like a new experience every time. Keeping the music fresh and exciting engages the audience and us,” says Hannah Thiem. The group is often joined on stage by tribal belly dancers.
Although this first album is very promising, the outstanding violin and cello work and the ethereal passages are many times drowned by a slow heavy drum kit that seems more appropriate for a hard rock band.
“This project is deeply personal–a merging of textures, sounds, ideas, melodies, and the internal landscape of my thoughts and dreams,” says Thiem.
Copal’s New York City CD Release Party on November 4 at Drom, East Village, New York City, and their Boston CD Release on November 7 at the Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, Massachusetts with more tour dates to follow on the east coast and beyond.
Into the Shadow Garden is a beautiful multicultural crossroads of contemporary violin and cello pieces.