Marion Arts: Songs of the Rings
By Julie Harris
Marion Arts began her career in the 1970s with rock/blues act The Red Hot Peppers, and has more recently been the lead vocalist for Auckland's 1932 Jazz Orchestra. This is an ambitious new release from a talented performer. Marion originally intended to put the verse in JRR Tolkiens' The Lord of the Rings to music, however publishing difficulties meant the final product has become an original interpretation. It takes the listener on a journey through middle earth, set against a backdrop of classical picked guitar. Recorded and mastered by Tim Julian at The Colour Field Recording Studio in Tauranga, the album has a warm rich sound and showcases a huge range of instruments. These include a Balinese xylophone, conch shell, and Northumbrian pipes and are played by a talented cast of musicians including Marion's husband and long time collaborator Robbie Lavėr. The subject matter and instruments all lend the album a Celtic feel and Marion's voice adds to the rich overall sound. She has a quality to her voice rather like a reed instrument, a sort of breath after the notes that is quite lovely. Too Long Is Lost is a stand out track but taken as a whole this album is quite an accomplishment with sensitive arrangement and high quality production values.