Sophie Fetokaki "Abundance" Album Review
Updated: Jun 19
A truly exceptional debut album from singer, musician and multi-genre artist Sophie Fetokaki, Abundance is a ceremonial celebration of everyday sacredness and restorative ritual, dedicated through voice and folk song.
Combining traditional folk ballads, hymns, love songs and arias from as wide as Europe, the US and Brazil, interleaved with 3 original compositions, Abundance is folk in the truest sense of the word. In spirit, it brings to mind the explorative celebration of tradition and language found in the music of Claudia Crabuzza and Bragod’s Kaingk, while in Sophie’s more “singer-songwriter” moments, there are elements of Emilíana Torrini’s Fisherman’s Woman and the effortless fingerstyle of Elliott Smith. Even these more contemporary aspects are interwoven with, and an extension of, the traditional – things inherited yet simultaneously reinterpreted and integrated into an exceptionally well-crafted artistic concept all of its own where the boundaries are blurred. Throughout, there is a sense of patient engagement and respect for ritual, whilst a purposeful process of personal devotion and meditation is formed and shared, celebrating life’s beauty and transience with a sense of peace which is reassuring, restorative and humbling.
Sophie explains: “The making of Abundance was an elaborate ritual. Through offering my heart to devotion and my voice to song, the work of the album was to break the bonds of endless repetition, and to unlearn modes of scarcity that give rise to destructive desires. Carrying out this momentous transformation required calling on the wisdom and beauty of many traditions of song magic.”
Appropriately, the production is natural, comprised of largely acoustic sounds with arrangements only ever as simple or complex as needed, moving through minimalist presentations, hypnotic rhythms and drones, country twangs, ethereal soundscapes, jazz-tinged explorations and choral walls of voice. Sophie’s own voice is colourful and rich, not to mention exceptionally diverse and controlled, from soft and self-reflective to powerful and projected, across the birdsong of Hamlet’s Song and microtonal trills of Greek love song To Aroma, the choral warmth of Appalachian folk hymn Bright Morning Stars are Rising, the valiant bellows of Brazilian processional song Folia de Reis and the melancholy lullaby of Neapolitan Canzone Lu Cardillo.
A seasoned and celebrated folk and classical contemporary singer, as well as theatrical performer, author and artist, Sophie Fetokaki possesses a rare combination of trained yet intrinsic talent and organic yet organised creativity. While the level of conceptual craft is therefore somewhat unsurprising, Abundance is a truly exceptional collection and genuinely one of the most beautifully moving recordings I can remember hearing.
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