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In Dutch // ENGLISH translated quote from the review:

"The RIVER is exceptional. Because of the combination of music genres that mingle and at the same time actually also don't mingle, but mostly very harmoniously live besides each other so it feels as if they mingle."

The River: een spannend muzikaal kralensnoer

Terwijl de hele Nederlandse pop-goegemeente woensdagavond al onderweg was naar Groningen, of in ieder geval de blik reeds noordwaarts had gericht, beleefde Amsterdam een zeldzaam optreden van een bijzondere, in Nederland gevestigde groep. The River. In OT301 vond de presentatie plaats van het album ‘The Swim Sessions’ – maar ook weer niet echt, want de cd was afgelopen najaar reeds verschenen. Maar het was wel voor het eerst sinds lange tijd dat alle zes druk bezette muzikanten weer een mogelijkheid zagen om samen op een podium te staan, terwijl de opnamen al van januari 2014 dateren. Zoals al gezegd: Concerten van The River zijn schaars.

The River is bijzonder. Door de combinatie van muziekstijlen die mengen en eigenlijk ook niet mengen, maar vooral uiterst harmonieus naast elkaar bestaan zodat het voelt alsof ze mengen. Zo is er een singersongwriter, Lily Kiara, die vooral in de danswereld internationaal actief is. Er is een dichter, de Engelsman Julyen Hamilton, die ook vooral naam heeft gemaakt als choreograaf en danser.
En er zijn vier jazzmusici – internationaal vermaarde jazzmusici en vooral actief in het improcircuit, maar tegelijk ‘alleskunners’: De al jaren in Amsterdam residerende Amerikaanse slagwerker Michael Vatcher, die nog te horen is op het vermaarde album ‘Spy vs. Spy’ van John Zorn; Klarinettist en saxofonist Michael Moore, die vrijwel gelijk met Vatcher vanuit de Verenigde Staten naar Nederland kwam en al sinds mensenheugnis een vaste plek in het vermaarde ICP-Orchestra bezet. En trompettiste Felicity Provan en trombonist Joost Buis die beiden in tal van groepen actief zijn. Daarbij pakt Buis even gemakkelijk de lapsteelguitar wat in singersongwritersferen vaak van pas komt om de muziek een extra folk- of countrygevoel mee te geven.

Poëzie en jazz, daar is een rijke traditie in. Zo lijkt Hamilton.... http://frnkfrt.net/the-river-een-spannend-muzikaal-kralensnoer/

In a personal e-mail.

The Edge of Letters / Julyen Hamilton

"Beautiful precise album"

3VOOR12Amsterdam/VPRO

Lily Kiara - On This Ground

Balancing on the thin line between music and poetry (translated from Dutch)

On This Ground of Lily Kiara is the first album released on the label Sibyl Sings, a new label for music and poetry. That is no coincidence. The album is an attractive mix of poetry and music. From gravitating to spoken word with bare musical accompaniments, to vocal harmonies with the accents on the music: On This Ground is a diverse album. Although the music runs neatly along the poetic singer-songwriter lines, the album is varied enough to keep you engaged every time you listen to it.

What stands out is that Lily Kiara does almost everything herself on this album.

Not only have all songs been written and sung by her and does she play the guitar, also the recording and mixing was done by her.  In only three songs the music is supported by an electric guitar or cornet. The vocals are clear and lovely, with a few raw outbursts where necessary. In tone, especially in the songs where there are different layers of her voice, Kiara comes close to Tristan Prettyman and Ani DiFranco. The poetic intermezzos give the album extra tension, which makes it stand out some above the average singer-songwritermusic.

Opener Clue lasts only 40 seconds, but in that short time immediately sets the atmosphere of the album. In the fourteen songs that follow, there are barely any dropping moments. It is a series of beautiful small songs, sometimes so much undressed musically, that it is on the edge of passing the boundaries of song, balancing again and again on the thin line that separates poetry from music.

Halfway the album, everything comes together in the song Smile. The spoken text, with a serious undertone but here and there also a happy sound, moves halfway the song into pained harmonies of two voices. Also the last and title song On This Ground, the only song that has an additional electric guitar, makes clear Kiara does not shy away from raw vocals. With On This Ground she delivers a strong album that deserves to be listened to attentively, and yet also can well be played on the background. 

 

MusicFromNL

Lily Kiara - 'On This Ground' (translated from Dutch)

 

Starting your album with a poem, that is a beautiful change in the predictable mass.
And this album being a surprising one appears already from the guest musicians playing on this album and their instruments. Lily Kiara is supported by Felicity Provan on cornet and Andy Moor on electric guitar. The album On This Ground, consists of 15 tracks, among which are a few are poems without musical accompaniment.

The opening poem Clue is followed by the beautiful sober Cradle me. Lily’s voice is comfortably calming and she guides herself with wonderfully spinned out compositions on guitar. No technical highs, but connecting great to her voice and the lyrics. On the next songs New Day she has accompaniment of the cornet.  The combination of guitar and cornet is very well found and the sound of the cornet suits the music of Lily Kiara extremely well.

This Way is another beautiful fragile singer/songwriters song. Lily has a completely own way of playing the guitar, staccato as she herself describes so accurately in her biography. The next Smile starts as a sort of poem. In an intense way she tells her story. Then she starts singing more, which becomes a kind of dialogue with herself through the double vocals. The title may cause you to think differently, but the edge with which this song is performed, gives you the chills.
A few beautiful songs follow, and then you are shaken up by Perfect Cloud. A falsely tuned guitar that makes Cupido fall off his cloud. It sounds disrupted, but the whole is so intriguing, your reviewer has admiration for the courage shown to record a piece like this. Very special!

Lily Kiara does not choose the common path which makes this album wonderful to listen to. An album that reminds of the early work of Joni Mitchell or Suzanne Vega.

The songs on this second album are all very well produced. Even in a sober set up she knows how to keep surprising the listener. Yet, Lily would have better chosen to record a few songs less on this album while after some time it is a little more difficult to keep listening with full attention. A pity, as the songs are absolutely worth it to be heard.

 

FileUnder.nl

Lily Kiara (Sibyl Sings / Independent) (translated from Dutch)

Lily Kiara started … her own label to make her music available…. Lily’s is called Sibyl Sings. Forgive me, but I immediately think of Sibyl Fawlty. Lily Kiara sounds young, but I think she must be about my age, in her thirties. Besides being a musician, Lily also is a dancer and in some way I hear this back in her static acoustic singer-songwriter songs. When I close my eyes while listening, it takes no difficulty to see a dancer (possibly with one or more dancers) execute her songs. her songs have a fine flow. For the most part she accompanies herself with guitar. In two songs Felicity Provan plays the cornet and this absolutely adds even more to the songs’ worthiness. The same counts for the electric guitar of Andy Moor in the closing title song. But also solo she manages fine. In her voice resounds a little bit the hoarse tone of Suzanne Vega, but she is less poppy. Sometimes she tends to move towards Beth Orton, but she adds to her songs more electronics and trip-hop-plays and this Kiara is not busy with, even though here and there she adds second vocals, sung by herself, which just like the extra instruments make for a carefully chosen diversity. Balance is the key word. Don’t change a thing, I would say.

De Recensent.nl

The reviewer / Small songs of the Low Lands / Lily Kiara (translated from Dutch)

With her dark low voice and her sober folk-pop-songs, Lily Kiara at first resembles a new version of Suzanne Vega. Not that the old Vega has done (her latest album is not even a year old). At further rounds of listening the spirit of Vega remains, even if the personal uniqueness of the Amsterdam Lily Kiara comes shining through. The song Smile deals with escaped clowns who dare passers by to step out of their routine: ‘Tell me, do you smile sometimes inside.’ In the beginning of the song Lily sings-says, after this the music accelerates to a faster speed. It is just one example where everything falls into place. The cd is packed with pearls like this: the build up is good, the arrangements and instruments in order and the vocals perfect the whole of it. Textually Lily Kiara tends towards poetry in her songs. For example in the Joni Mitchell-ode Perfect Cloud:

And I see you
Listening to joni on a skin
Tears rolling
On both sides now
I see you
And all the pinks and blues
You’re in

Musically Lily keeps it bare. Much more than acoustic guitars are not involved, other than the incidental electric guitar and the cornet. The beautiful lyrics are also given excellent form in the cd booklet. As if you receive a poetry bundle as a present with your cd. This independent-label-product is very professional in all areas. Since Lily Kiara brings completely authentic material, I see the comparison with Suzanne Vega only as a compliment: this Vega-daughter is perfectly capable to stand on her own feet.

 

Overground, Underground

Lily Kiara/On This Ground

Musician Lily Kiara stays true to her heart, giving us a sense of hope in our lives through her honest lyrics. Time stops when one listens to Kiara’s poetic songs; her art reveals a multitude of raw emotions from the inside out. One may be enthralled to dive into Kiara’s mind. Her musical vision explodes with a vitamin to the heart, and energizes the soul to reach out for more, in the song “Inside of This,” Kiara sings with her heart, reminding us that life is what we make of it: “there’s more than paradise…I want to know this bliss.” A tear may be saved from its end in Kiara’s songs, especially captured in her song “World.”