Spiritually powerful and jubilant enough to scour your soul clean, …And Love Rages On! from worldmusic trio AOMUSIC caught me entirely by surprise. It’s a robust, joyful disc driven by thundering drums and the heavenly heights of singer Miriam Stockley’s voice. (Stockley is the voice behind the act Adiemus.) Backed by Richard Gannaway on strings and vocals and Jay Oliver on keys and synths, Stockley varies between actual lyrics and sound-chants that neatly transcend the need for words. When Stockley sings, feeling takes over and you purely understand the intent. Of course, the pieces with actual lyrics work, too. “In Lake’ch” takes its title from a Mayan greeting and explains, by translation and a smoothly serpentine tune, that it means “I am another you.” “Ena Na Lena,” if I’m reading correctly, pulls together Gaelic, Swedish and Polynesian to chant “Little flame, my flower of light.” “Sheyu” carries a call for peace and beauty, and does so peacefully and beautifully. Stockley is not alone here, vocally. Gannaway’s voice comes in as a nice lower counter to Stockley’s hawk-circle registers on “Sheyu,” “Tio Da Ye” and “Ena Na Lena.” Sounds drift in from all over the globe in the nine tracks here. Pennywhistles vie with didgeridoos; harp sounds trade licks with guitars; drums of all kinds kick through to lay down the base and set listeners grooving. (You will be excused if you leap up to dance during “One Kaleo,” where the Children’s Choir of Beijing sings–about Little Red Riding Hood, believe or not–over a fast, funky riff.) Celtic songs nudge against African rhythms and Middle Eastern structures. Children’s choirs from around the world fill out the sound–and it all comes together in a sort of musically utopian stew. …And Love Rages On! keeps its upbeat tone going strong through an all-too-brief 45 minutes. It passes quickly, and you’ll likely be inclined to give it another go-round. But first take a moment as the disc ends to feel the way it’s worked its way inside you, the way it feels like it’s left a little extra power in your spirit, a little more hope in your soul. This is vibrant, feel-good New Age music that has grown on me and affected me more with every fresh listen.
Available from the AOMUSIC web site.