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Harem

4.1 out of 5 stars 289 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 10, 2003
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If one's notion of "world music" promises a touch of the exotic and indigenous, often overlooked is the fact that the influence of western pop music has seeped into every corner of the globe, creating a hybrid that's often more than merely the sum of its influences. Theater vet Brightman steps into that pan-cultural hall of mirrors here, wedding her fascination with the music and rhythms of the "forbidden places" (the title's Arabic meaning) of the Middle East to her own oft ethereal vocal charms and rock-solid sense of drama. And if the diva's equally sound crossover sensibilities (and that of longtime producer Frank Peterson) sometimes mire it in familiar world-beat pastiche, Brightman's charmed muse manages some transcendent moments nonetheless. Her musical borrowings (Borodin for the title track; Puccini's *Madame Butterfly* for "It's a Beautiful Day") are as compelling as her choice of collaborators: classical violin star Nigel Kennedy and Iraqi vocalist Kadim Al Sahir add compelling touches to the weary timeliness of "The War is Over." The musical influences range from Europe across the Mediterranean and as far East as the Indian roots of "Bollywood" composer A.R. Rahman's "The Journey Home" and Brightman's own "You Take My Breath Away" to evocative recastings of the emblematic standards "Stranger in Paradise" and Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World," while ex-Killing Joke keyboardist Jaz Coleman provides the savory East-meets-West orchestrations that ensure Brightman's star turns the seamless foundations they deserve. --Jerry McCulley
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 10, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Angel
  • ASIN: B00008W2QZ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (289 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,701 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
the Abode of Peace!" ~ Arabian Nights
I've been a fan of Sarah Brightman since the release of 'Eden' back in 99 and have since then acquired many of her albums and concert DVDs and, imho, this is by far her best work to date (although many will disagree because it's so experimental). She's a true angel of music and 'Harem' (forbidden places) explores the exotic with beautiful, crystalline singing and ethereal, wordly-pop meets middle eastern beats that will keep you entranced until the very end (and then you'll probably start it again because world music can be very addicting if it's done the right way and if you've got the ear/taste for it). This album is hypnotic and enchanting and very different from her successful predecessor 'La Luna' but it definitely rises above anything she's ever done before and it showcases her love of varied styles. Operatic singing is pretty much nonexistent here but she still incorporates her old roots with a well-trained classical voice on "A Stranger In Paradise" and a great adaption of Puccini's "Un Bel Di" (It's a Beautiful Day). Frank Peterson continues to guide Sarah's career in the right direction by producing the sweeping, dance-infused "Harem" (the title being a song in which she wrote herself) while bringing in some new faces to spice the mix up, like keyboardist Jaz Coleman (ex-Killing Joke who also worked on the highly praised New Zealand project, Oceania) to breathe life into the soaring string orchestrations.
'Harem' also features a lot of guest artists, such as the passionate Iraqi vocalist Kadim Al Sahir on "The War Is Over" and classical violinist Nigel Kennedy who recently worked with crossover star Josh Groban.
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
I have been anticipating the release of the new Sarah Brightman cd "Harem" for some time now. I haven't been into her music for too long, maybe like 2 years now. Her last cd was a compilation of new and original material which I thought was fairly good but I preferred her greatest hits (import only). "La Luna" was what got me into Sarah's breathtaking vocals. I wasn't sure if I wanted to wait until I got the new Delerium cd or to get it now. I'm glad I got it today. "Harem" is definitely a departure from "La Luna" and "Eden". Sarah embraces world and dance music with her more familiar classical-pop sounds. I found this new sound quite refreshing and exciting to hear from Sarah. Of course she still has her breathtaking ballads like "What you Never Know" and a cover of Mandalay's "Beautiful". My favorite, favorite song off the cd has to be track #5 "The Journey Home". The song starts off as a ballad and slowly shifts into a dance song. I love the melodies as well as the lyrics. I also loved Sarah's rendition of the classic "What a Wonderful World" which surprisingly works quite well as a dance song. All the songs are stunning masterpieces. I could not find one song on the cd that I didn't enjoy. Sarah sounds better than ever as a vocalist. It is good to hear her experiment with other styles of music and incorporate with her brand of classical-influenced pop music. "Harem" definitely ranks as one of this year's best albums as well as one of Sarah's best albums.
Comment 64 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
the Abode of Peace!" ~ Arabian Nights
I've been a fan of Sarah Brightman since the release of 'Eden' back in 99 and have since then acquired many of her albums and concert DVDs and, imho, this is by far her best work to date (although many will disagree because it's so experimental). She's a true angel of music and 'Harem' (forbidden places) explores the exotic with beautiful, crystalline singing and ethereal, wordly-pop meets middle eastern beats that will keep you entranced until the very end (and then you'll probably start it again because world music can be very addicting if it's done the right way and if you've got the ear/taste for it). This album is hypnotic and enchanting and very different from her successful predecessor 'La Luna' but it definitely rises above anything she's ever done before and it showcases her love of varied styles. Operatic singing is pretty much nonexistent here but she still incorporates her old roots with a well-trained classical voice on "A Stranger In Paradise" and a great adaption of Puccini's "Un Bel Di" (It's a Beautiful Day). Frank Peterson continues to guide Sarah's career in the right direction by producing the sweeping, dance-infused "Harem" (the title being a song in which she wrote herself) while bringing in some new faces to spice the mix up, like keyboardist Jaz Coleman (ex-Killing Joke who also worked on the highly praised New Zealand project, Oceania) to breathe life into the soaring string orchestrations.
'Harem' also features a lot of guest artists, such as the passionate Iraqi vocalist Kadim Al Sahir on "The War Is Over" and classical violinist Nigel Kennedy who recently worked with crossover star Josh Groban.
Read more ›
Comment 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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