She will not lose
More Ways Than One
An album of voice and percussion
Available on cassette and CD
Reviewed by Karen Fredericks
This recording of 14 songs by Sydney-based a cappella group Arramaieda contains music to set the spirit soaring. My copy hasn't been out of my cassette player for over a month, and listening to it never fails to improve my mood.
Arramaieda is Melanie Shanahan, Rachel Hore, Kirsten Mackenzie and Teresa Castley, four women with stunning voices who, in combination, form an incandescent musical whole, alight with strength, grace and spirituality.
All the songs are songs of freedom, especially of freedom for women, although many are not "political" in the narrow sense. Most overtly political are the anthemic "Ella's Song" (We who believe in Freedom) written by Bernice Johnson Reagan and made famous by Sweet Honey in the Rock, and the original "Tell Me Now", dedicated by its writer, Melanie Shanahan, to the Aboriginal people of Australia.
Shanahan wrote six of the 14 songs in the collection, and each shines like a jewel. "Flying Away From You and "The Sea" draw on nature as a source of inner peace in a world in which it has become difficult "to know what to feel". The chorus of "Troubled Souls", "I'm teaching my heart to sing", is an affirmation, and "Struggle and Survive", with the uplifting "She will not lose" motif, is a dedication to women who fight for freedom.
Rachel Hore's one songwriting contribution to the collection, "Fly Bird" is a very special, personal song, which explores the opposing forces of love and fear in a close relationship.
A medley of South African songs, a Senegalese invitation to the dance and a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise" fill out the collection and give clues to the inspiration for the musical style developed, particularly, by Melanie Shanahan.
Arramaieda's music is emotion evoked through melodies and harmonies conceived for women's voices. Make the effort to get hold of this record and to see this group live. You won't be sorry.
(Available through Natural Symphonies, ph. 008 025 358, or write to PO Box 252, Camden NSW 2570.)