Featured Artist: Elfonía
Record Label: The Note Garden Records
Musicians: Marcela Bovio (vocals, violin), Alejandro Millán (keyboards),Roberto Quintanilla (guitars), Pablo González Sarre (bass),
Javier Garagarza (drums)
I discovered one of the most beautiful and entrancing voices in progressive rock music a few weeks ago while listening to another out of this world Arjen Lucassen project called Stream Of Passion. The vocalist is Marcela Bovio from Mexico. She has her own band called Elfonía.
They have a fantastic album, their second, ready for release. The music fits the title of this CD in a literal sense. This Sonic Landscape is a diverse array of musical persuasions.
This music did remind me of Stream Of Passion because of Marcela’s vocals and some of the music; however, Elfonía certainly makes an impression as an original band with their own unique style and sound. They combine a mix of prog-rock, jazz, and classical influences that creates, well, need I say it again-a sonic landscape. Ms. Bovio’s vocals are the kind that you find yourself enamored with immediately. She sings in Spanish and English throughout the recording and at times stretches out and sounds like an opera singer. Her range and command is quite impressive.
On my favorite tracks is “Camaleón” and itt does not surprise me why it was. One the most respected and world renowned artist stands in to play guitar, Arjen Lucassen. It is one of the most powerful songs on the CD; featuring hard driving guitar lines backed by a solid backbeat from the rhythm section. They have some of their most spectacular moments of transition in the three-part suite “Gigantes.” Each part is extensive and leads you into each progression with a balance of elements and subtle yet obvious nuances throughout your journey. This musical omnibus is comparative to taking several cans of paint and splashing it on a huge canvas. What you get when it is complete looks like a montage of bright colors spectacularly clashing with each other. In a musical sense, this process encourages creativity and exploration, which ultimately ends in the beauty of each individual composition.
The 70s Latin jazz fusion band Caldera came to mind a few times while listening to this music. They were one of the first bands I discovered while I was discovering jazz fusion in the early 80s. I can hear influences from bands like that in their sound. The most difficult thing for any band to do is to take that cornucopia of influence and come up with an original sound that has a recognizable stamp on it. They most definitely succeed in that process on this recording. Bovio is one of the most distinctive female vocalists I have heard in years and her contributions are extremely important to this band’s sound. I would not be surprised if she becomes an international star within the next few years.
This is a fantastic collection of recordings. The sound mix is superb and the musicianship excellent. What more can I say…this is one great band. Even when Bovio sings a song in Spanish, and I do not understand a word, I love it. The music and her voice have this effect on you that you will have to experience for yourself to understand. As 2005 is ending, discovering Elfonía has been one of the many joys I have had the privilege to hear coming through my speakers.