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ClassicsOnline Home » RILEY, Philip / ELLESON, Jayne: The Blessing Tree I
PHILIP RILEY & JAYNE ELLESON
The Blessing Tree (White Cloud 11036)
Playing Time: 51:58
Tracks: Come Silver Moon; Breton Drum; Pictish Girl; The Chalice; Between The Shadows; When I Dream; Spin The Circle; Benediction; Sanctus; Slow Runs My heart; Coventry Lullaby; And Soon The Day Will Fade Away
The Blessing Tree is a unique fusion of classical instrumentation and ambient contemporary sound. Philip Riley blends modern technique with period instruments like the violin, acoustic guitar, Irish pipes and Irish whistle and others. Jayne Elleson's voice is the perfect compliment to such instrumentation, and has been described as lending a thematic air of "longing and reverence." Together, Riley and Elleson paint a Celtic journey, blending both ambient/New Age and subtle world music influences.
When Elleson first came to record some vocals for Riley's music in 1993, it was destined to be significant musical partnership, with her exquisite voice offering the perfect complement to his evocative melodies. "In our case, it was a great example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts," Riley says. "Jayne sings my music so beautifully, better than I could ever have hoped for, and my melodies offer her a new avenue of vocal expression that suits her perfectly. It's a brilliant combination."
Philip Riley was born in Gateshead, County Durham in Britain, and in his early years he experimented with playing several instruments, before he became a drummer for contemporary Northern English bands. By the time he moved to New Zealand with his family in 1977, he had discovered the freedom and diversity that keyboards could offer him. His love of Celtic music and orchestral textures has resulted in his original conceptual writing.
Using his skills as a successful songwriter, he became involved in instrumental arranging and it is this style that has allowed him to create the magical blend of voice and orchestration for the highly acclaimed Visions and Voices, his debut album for White Cloud, with its spellbinding combination of Elleson's evocative vocals and Riley's spirited themes. This is followed by A Pattern of Lands, a sonic mosaic of melody, vocal textures and ethnic rhythms.
Jayne Elleson was born in New Zealand and clearly showed a musical orientation from an early age, studying classical piano and singing solo for Latin masses before she was ten. She later studied opera with a Trinity College teacher and sang with chamber music groups and several choirs. This led to work in the commercial music industry, making national and international television commercials and winning a gold Cleo advertising award in USA in 1989 and again in 1998.
Riley and Elleson have developed a powerful music partnership that has produced musical scores for New Zealand films and documentaries, but it is their work together for their White Cloud releases that has refined their distinctive style. With The Blessing Tree, their subtle folk influences of Irish pipes and whistles and Celtic style conjures a timeless place of legend and beauty. It's an album that sings out from the heart.
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