11 Jul 2020

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EmRiver - Album Review: Heart to Heart

03 Mar 2020 // A review by Isla Norman
This album begins with the mellow and mystical Heart to Heart. EmRiver uses beautiful counter melodies and a tambourine to make the listener feel like they are walking into a clearing in the forest. Her breathy lyrics and harmonies are optimistic and dreamy. Following Heart to Heart, we are introduced Wild Woman Dreams. The song seems to depict mother nature and describes her in whimsical metaphors. The production is creative, using the natural sounds of the outdoors to give colour and paint a picture. Wild Woman Dreams features a beautifully played flute, evoking the feeling of wood nymphs and water waifs.

Following a series of finger picked fairy music, the album build momentum with the more upbeat Coexist, which is more driven by the rhythm section. The song experiments with backing harmonies and preaches acceptance and respect. Coexist features another interesting instrumental line played, presumably, on a melodica. The moral of the song is very charming, encouraging people to “learn how to coexist”.

The album feels rooted in New Zealand, mentioning Pohutakawa and punctuating the ethereal soundscape with native birdsong and Te Reo Maori. EmRiver has a distinct and recognisable sound, which comes from years of developing herself as an artist. The album would be very effective for meditation or yoga, encouraging the listener to practice mindfulness and kindness through the hypnotic use of acoustic instruments.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About EmRiver

Music is the language that has flowed fluently through EmRiver all her life. Music is how she processes and makes sense of the challenges and heartaches that come with being alive. She is able to connect to deep places and find courage and hope through the powerfully healing vibrations of music and she loves to share that with others. Her music touches the heart and facilitates a feeling of connection and hope in her listeners. Part of what sets her music apart is the way it comes in authenticity straight from the heart.

EmRiver has been performing, teaching, and creating music for decades. She writes, records, and performs her own folky tribal songs on a variety of instruments including keyboard, guitar, flute, and ngoni. Songs and instrumentals pour out of her regularly as music is her main form of journaling and processing life.

Born in California but a longtime citizen of Aotearoa, and currently residing in the abundant Bay of Plenty, EmRiver has been sharing her musical passion with audiences around the world and in New Zealand for the last ten years. She has played in many different bands and ensembles over the years, and has spent time recording music and writing and performing songs either on her own or in collaboration with other musicians. Most recently she has shared her music at festivals and venues around New Zealand including Corofest, Earthbeat, NZ Spirit Fest, Solrise, Raglan’s Yot Club, Luke’s Kitchen in the Coromandel, and the Okere Falls Store.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for EmRiver


Piano Meditations
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Heart to Heart
Year: 2019
Type: Album

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