Gabriele Zibret — Happy Songs und Herzenslieder
(Spheric Music SMCD 8912, 2019, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-06-21
A most unusual album, especially for the pages of Exposé, but when a change of pace is in order Happy Songs und Herzenslieder (“Happy Songs and Songs from the Heart”) may just be the ticket to get there. Gabriele Zibret is a German songwriter and singer, and indeed the eighteen songs on this album are sung with a clear voice (sometimes several layers of vocal harmonies) and somewhat minimal, simple accompaniment that places the songcraft and singing at the fore. Accompaniment comes in the form of piano, hand drums, light synthesizer orchestration, and like the title says, these are happy songs, with about ten sung in German, five in English, and a few more are just wordless vocalizing. One of the standouts is “Grunes Licht,” a bit more pensive than most of the rest, with male and female harmonies, and accompaniment of light synths and kalimba, it’s a moody masterpiece that breaks the happy mold with a sheer shimmering folky beauty. “Lebe, Liebe, Lache” at barely over a minute in length is sung in two part harmony with the only accompaniment being tambourine. While I don’t understand a word of German, the songcraft transcends language; these are folk songs about life, desire for a more calm existence, joyful in spirit and seeking inner peace. Another standout is “Fly and Smile,” with beautiful three part harmony and simple guitar and percussion accompaniment, and some bird sounds in the background as well, sung in both English and German. “Zeit für Träume” is another gem of multi-part harmonies and piano that will fill the heart with joy over its six minute duration. Yes, this is very different from the progressive rock, jazz, electronic music and other complex genre-bending sounds that we normally cover here, but this is a simpler music stripped down to its essence of peace, innocence and happiness.
Related artist(s): Gabriele Zibret
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