Miriam Stockley :: Second Nature

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Second Nature Front Cover

Originally posted on Epinions

Other Miriam Stockley Albums I’ve stumbled upon:
Miriam by Miriam Stockley

After gaining considerable success with Miriam (1999), Miriam Stockley went on to record her second album, curiously titled Second Nature, in 2003. Stockley’s vocals in Second Nature sound more like Adiemus, with similar abundance of choral support. But the novelty lies in incorporating more jazzy and bossa nova-like tunes in two of the major tracks: Sabancaya and Butterfly. The same influence can be heard on other songs as well. Electronic editing is more discernible than in Miriam; synthesizers do most of the work that the orchestra did in her first album.


But Stockley does not leave her core skills of exotic-sounding vocal compositions and upbeat African chanting. Seven of the ten tracks on the album have African chorus sections, either sung on their own, or scattered among English lyrics. The most notable ones are: Umoya, Rainsong, Sabancaya, Massai Rain, and Ifemeli. The only instrumental track is Butterfly, which has Stockley’s vocal doodles adding rhythm to the Brazilian-influenced synthesized bossa nova.

Mellow tunes have lost ground to more New Age upbeat sounds, and I think that is a positive turn. Stockley indeed has amazing vocal skills that only come out in the softer songs; but listeners like myself would prefer to hear her singing exotic notes with fast transitions — that truly makes the listening enjoyable. But still, A Finnish Summer Night – Finlandia, based on Sibelius, is a wonderful mellow tune that recalls Stockley’s Adiemus days.

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