According to a mathematical theory developed by Dr. Stephen R. Marquardt, facial beauty can be measured, represented and standardized through a formula called the Golden Proportion. Indeed, the biological and cultural import of the human face is undeniable and it is quite a fascinating story. One could very well wonder how The Many Faces of Gloria Bosman would rate under a musical version of the Golden Ratio (Phi).
Bosman presents several of her familiar countenances, as well as some unfamiliar ones, in her first venture as producer. Although this is not Tranquility, nor should it be, there are some inevitable points of contact in terms of feel and taste in her vocal work, although in somewhat different conceptual frames, resulting in up-to-the-minute textures. This multifaceted singer can sound just as gritty and gravely, as she can be sublime and smooth, with her own flashes of hipness thrown in for good measure. The first-rate support of the backing vocals, including a children's choir featuring the subject of her composition "Biokarabelo's Lullaby, adds itself nicely to Bosman's winning vocal techniques.
Most of the thoughtful lyrical work in this recording was either written by her or she had something to do with it. "Welela is a hopeful exhortation to go beyond the larder of oppression, self or otherwise, that can weigh-in what should be the inexorable advance towards a brighter future that can only be constructed and not merely given. As Suthukazi Arosi, who is another splendid singer equally versed in reflective lyrical work, would say of the current plight of South Africans: "We are our worst enemies. Hence the need for "Welela. In "Sliding Through, we are appeased by the comfort of hearing that, within ourselves, we do have the resources for pulling through. Having Paul Hanmer with his tasty keyboard work helps quite a bit in such a cool musical self-search. "Slowly is the first showcase in this record for Bosman's use of her native idioms, albeit mixed with English. It is also a brief song ending in a danceable flourish with little to do with slowness, whereupon one is reminded of the need to learn from tempering one's dreams by reality. "Love Perfection incorporates several vocal and musical African and Western influences, including the use of two languages, and Bosman showing a glimpse of her professional vocal training in Opera and her experiences in Chorales. This tune has a swing of its own, through several counterpoints and effects that do not sound affected. "For the Children is an ode to kids with a well-built suave grain that incorporates spoken word and a some choir touches by four children. It breathes musical and lyrical integrity. "Foolish Game is yet another attempt at understanding love and dealing with its inherent dangers and challenges. It ebbs and flows with a mantra peppered by musical touches that would feel at home in several audiences, including some of the most progressive ones. With the exception of "Kgomotso Tsa Ntate, all songs using African languages are rendered in English in the liner notes. This sung entirely in her native tongue, is rooted in South African musical feel with a backing vocal portrait that is venerable. Bosman's vocalization sounds wise beyond her years and the feel is peppy, albeit relaxed at the same time. "Why not? deals with the issue of status quo setting, and its existential implications for those engaged in such an endeavor, in a chilled musical atmosphere that would be at home in any beach front festival in the world with its high groove exponential. "Fool tells a sweet and sour tale of waiting to be made into an honorable woman although it seems that love might go unrequited. This is just a cool tune with floating guitar swerves and suggestive piano touches that both pleases and appeases with recurring jazzy hints. The notion of being made an honorable woman, as expressed here, might serve as an anthropological study for many Western, as well as some Non-Western, ears. "Spiritual Madness seems tailored made from a Christian theology of confession. Spirituality is a form of madness, albeit, at times, touched by sundry blessings. Herein an airy song lending a fitting vocal icon to close the album hallows us.
Sonically, The Many Faces of Gloria Bosman works within an outline that allows her voice to play at will with the steady instrumentation line-up throughout the album and its shrewd arrangements. As expected from the rock-solid musicians that participated in the recording, the performances are beyond reproach and solidify a well-mixed and engineered recording that ought to be a winner within Smooth Jazz, R&B and World Music audiences anywhere.
Gloria Bosman's faces are a reflection of beauty, within or outside of any Golden Proportions.
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