To write a review on the incredible music of Voxfire is a challenge indeed as their creations, evolved thought the medium of mixing ancient music with modern technology and then adding the element of improv, leaves the listener absolutely stunned ,with the perfection and passion achieved with the three magnificent voices of Samela Aird Beasom, Christen Herman and Susan Judy with instrumentalists Nick DePinna and Ross Garren.
For many years Voxfire performed as a female trio, exploring the forgotten beauty of time old music formed back in the 12-14th Century; music sung by troubadours and they spread the news of the day, religious chants and melodies of the 12th century abbess and composer Hildegard von Bingen, as well as country music of Spain and Europe.
Broadening their scope, they encompassed the Baroque era, also realising that they needed to add a little something extra for the evolution of the group. Discovering multi instrumentalists DePinna and Garren in 2015, proved to be the perfect solution and so the incredible fusion of sound and medieval scores now recorded as FONTIS, was born.
To categorise this magnificent work is not possible as it crosses so many genres that even the multi listings that go with New Age simply fail to fit anything heard, as the expressiveness of the songs changes dramatically from piece to piece.
A Chantar a delicate, solo voice with subtle piano, and harp is a Nobel lady’s lament, rebuking the faithless lover that has left her with a broken heart and damaged pride, from the 12th century, whereas the introductory piece Fontis, is a chant, with delicate backing creating an elegant, spiritual overtone to a song dating from the 13th century.
Laudemus II is the only instrumental piece on the recording which revisits Laudemus I, a pilgrim’s song, explores the melody further, adding an almost ethereal overtone to the melody line, contributing an otherworldly complexity to a simple song.
Voices mix in gentle harmony on Polorum, a pilgrim’s song, a piece which is charming and displays in style, the talent and vocal elegance of Aird Beason, Hermann and Judy, with aplomb.
Courtesans sing in the warning contained in Tu Secreto, a piece which reinvents the ancient song to one of up-tempo vocals raised in warning, mashed up with improv jazz, which certainly breaks all the barriers, real or otherwise, relating to music.
Laid back jazz ushers in the last track Por Deus, in which a daughter is begging her parents allow her go into town with her girlfriends, in the hope she will be chosen by the man of her affection to be his wife. Some things never change!
FONTIS, from the Latin means ‘source’ also ‘water source’ or ‘fountain’. Voxfire see this as a metaphor for the music on this album as it ‘represents the source of the ancient words and melodies now pouring forth into a new era’.
In one word ‘Glorious’!