Rowing in Eden Available on Amazon.com
Rowing in Eden, the latest album by new age and modern-classical singer-songwriter Rebekah Eden, is a magical journey through kingdoms of enchantment, a mystical adventure full of tales for children of all ages, a portal to a musical fantasy realm, and a sacred search for heaven on earth.
A longtime singer of operas, oratorio, arias, sacred music, and traditional repertoire classical compositions by the masters, Eden performed for years in European concert halls, castles and churches singing in Latin, Italian, German and French. Now she is focusing her extraordinary vocal prowess on her own original material and arrangements with English lyrics from poems by Emily Dickinson, William Butler Yeats and Arthur Earl Jones; and original wording by Eden often inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. Eden also covers, as a ballad, the famous Led Zeppelin tune “Ramble On” (by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page) that also contains imagery from The Lord of the Rings.
In addition, Eden demonstrates her classical music roots by utilizing the Capellen Orchestra from the Czech Republic, conducted by Petr Pololanik, on five of the album’s dozen tunes plus other string arrangements on three more, and a “virtual choir” (sounding like a choral group in a medieval cathedral) appearing on the last piece. In addition to the orchestral instruments which spotlight the violins, violas and cellos, the recording also features a wide variety of other instrumentation including harp, flute, sitar, piano, organ, keyboards, pedal steel guitar, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, bass, drums and percussion, with the Celtic flute, harp, Irish tin whistle and uilleann pipes (a form of the Irish bagpipes) giving certain tracks a Celtic/British Isles feel.
The music and lyrical stories on Rowing in Eden conjure within the listener’s imagination scenes and thoughts of kings and castles, Prince Caspian and a regal talking lion, the legendary road trip by Bilbo and his companions, ancient wonders, treachery and spilt blood, hope like a light, deep valleys and jagged mountains, dark forests and wizard songs, truth and love, and messages from the stars.
Those stories are told with the enchanting, mesmerizing vocals of Rebekah Eden, whose dulcet three-and-a-half-octave range sometimes echoes the tones of singers such as Loreena McKennitt, Sarah McLachlan, Enya and Judy Collins. But with Eden’s classical operatic training, she imbues each word with passion and deep feelings, projects the meanings, and heightens the intensity with her shimmering legato and effortless vocal dexterity. The result is a striking otherworldly journey filled with adventures including heartache and euphoria, and meaningful lessons learned, that all unfolds like a fantasy film or novel with the pleasure achieved by following Eden down the paths where she leads us. All the while the imagery is scored with an incredible musical soundtrack that propels the stories along.
The album begins and ends with “A Message From the Stars,” first orchestral and then choral, that brings forth the idea that light is the essence of life. The words come from a poem by her friend Arthur Earl Jones, who also was a psychotherapist. For this first piece and other songs, Eden made two trips to Zlin in the Czech Republic to supervise the Capellen Orchestra, well-known in the film industry for recording music for many cinematic projects. “I have always enjoyed singing with orchestras, and having one appear on my own album was a dream fulfilled,” says Eden. For the finale, she also “brought together” 28 singers from home and abroad by having each record their vocal part and send it in so that the voices could be assembled in the studio to create a choir.
“Iachtach” (which means “lament”) uses the uilleann pipes to capture sadness and change as the music appropriately flows into the haunting C.S. Lewis-inspired “Prince Caspian’s Prayer” (“Having exhausted all other avenues, he turns to faith,” explains Eden). The song “In The Days” is a nod to Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings because the chorus is sung in the Elvish language of Sindarin that he invented. Four others of Eden’s original tunes -- “The Wind,” “There and Back Again,” “Light of Destiny” and “A King’s Farewell” -- were specifically written to reflect aspects of Tolkien’s The Hobbit. In addition, the Yeats poem “The Two Trees” preceded Tolkien but now serves as a literary predecessor to Tolkien’s creation where he wrote of the Two Trees of Valinor that brought light to the Undying Lands.
“I chose the Yeats poem and the Emily Dickinson poem ‘Wild Nights,’ and wrote music to them specifically for my husband because the words seemed to capture our feelings and experiences so well,” Eden says. The album title came from a line in “Wild Nights” about seeking and finding love: “Rowing in Eden/Ah, the sea!/Might I but moor tonight/In thee.” According to Eden, “That phrase, ‘Rowing in Eden,’ is not only about looking for love, but represents the bigger picture of recognizing the presence of the divine -- love not only sought but found, beauty, not somewhere far off, but here and now -- I am rowing in it."
Rebekah was born and raised for four years in Bangkok, Thailand (the American daughter of a U.S. Foreign Service officer), and also lived as a child in Germany and Washington, DC. She started piano lessons at age four and played Bach minuets at five. In grade school she began playing acoustic guitar. “I liked to sing songs by The Beatles, James Taylor and Andrew Lloyd Webber, especially ones from ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’,” she remembers. Within a few years she also was playing electric guitar and enjoying hard rock such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC and Rush. She started voice lessons at age 13.
She pursued double degree majors in German Literature and Voice Performance at Oberlin College and Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio. “My repertoire hugely expanded as I sang German and French art songs and arias, Italian opera and some contemporary classical, plus studying diction, music history, theory and composition. My studies included an internship with the Dusseldorf Opera in Germany which was life-changing for me because the company performed a different opera every night.” After graduating, Eden returned to Germany to sing professionally -- opera (including several lead roles), musical theatre, Bach cantatas with chamber orchestras, religious holiday concerts, and performances of sacred music by Mozart, Haydn and Bach.
Eden returned to the United States and attended the San Francisco Conservatory where she earned her Masters in voice performance, met minimalist composer John Adams, and was hired by the San Francisco Symphony Chorus to perform Adams’ composition “Harmonium” (which includes lyrics from poems by John Donne and Emily Dickinson). During Eden’s studies she also became acquainted with the 12th Century music of Hildegard of Bingen. Although Saint Hildegard’s lyrics are known, there is only skeletal notation for that ancient music. So for Eden’s first album, The Path of Gold, she multi-tracked two of St. Hildegard's chants and put her own music to a third which led to performing that music at the Vienna Easter Festival. Eden also was invited to perform this music in Israel and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. One of the founders of World Angel Day wrote a prayer for their event and Eden put it to music and sang it two years in a row in London at that celebration. In addition, that music became the basis of her second album, Invocation (recorded during the tragic events of 9/11). In recent years Eden has recorded and released a variety of singles. Rowing in Eden is her third album.
"The concept of Eden, or Heaven on earth, is something I have long been fascinated by and desired to bring into my experience. Heaven is maybe not so much a place as a state of mind, reflecting our wholeness. What it takes to experience it is something I have long been fascinated by. Love, sacredness, heart and purpose are here and now, something I strive to appreciate within myself and without. I use my music and nature to remember this and express it. Life is a sacred adventure." More information on Rebekah Eden is available at his her website (RebekahEden dot com). Her albums and digital download tracks from those recordings are available at online sales sites such as CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic and many others.
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