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World Music CD Reviews Europe


Published May 30, 2006

Angel Records

British soprano Sarah Brightman expanded upon and beyond classical music with her acclaimed albums Time To Say Goodbye, Eden and La Luna. She now indulges her admitted fascination with the desert by dabbling in Middle Eastern sound for her latest. In addition to Brightman’s crystalline pipes, denizens of Harem include orchestral musicians and instrumentalists from the desert and elsewhere. Featured collaborators are rambunctious violinist Nigel Kennedy, Iraqi vocalist Kadim (aka Kazem) Al Sahir, and Jaz Coleman (formerly of innovative rock group Killing Joke). The title track cleverly links the Middle East with Portugal and its beloved fado. Brightman and Al Sahir duet on the hopefully appropriate “The War Is Over”; she also reworks global fave “What A Wonderful World” and whole-heartedly performs Indian film composer A.R. Rahman’s “The Journey Home.” Brightman fans will recognize the crisp retake on her previous “You Take My Breath Away.” As always, classical buffs may note the touches of Borodin and Puccini, but the spirit is all Brightman.