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Saturday, March 02, 2013

CD Review: Karen Mok: Somewhere I Belong


Karen Mok (vocals and guzheng); names of other musicians not given, instruments are: keys, guitar, sax, trombone, violin, bass, drums. (Review by Ann Alex)
This    This could well turn out to be my CD of the year.  Karen Mok, from Hong Kong, is said to be ‘one of the most successful Asian recording artists of all time’ and this is her début English-language album. The lady has already had 15 successful albums and has starred in over 40 films. 
Somewhere I Belong comprises; 7 jazz standards, 3 rock tracks 
jazzily, and 2 Chinese songs, of which 1 is self- penned.  The general feel of the album is intimate and seductive.  Ms Mok sings sweetly, enticingly and dramatically by turns, and on some tracks she plays a traditional Chinese guzheng, a large stringed instrument which has many tonal colours, sometimes sounding like an exotic sort of harpsichord.  The rest of the band are well-competent musicians, whom I guess are those worker bees of the musical world, session musicians, but I hope they’ll forgive me if they are all well known instrumentalists.  They contribute well, giving us effective short solos throughout the album.
Tracks which stood out include Stormy Weather, with brassy chords and guzheng indicating the storm, the sax representing sadness, and raindrops from the keys – such a clever arrangement.  Then there is the sheer fun of A Fine Romance, a fine Jerome Kern number, with such amusing words and period details of American daily life by lyricist Dorothy Fields. My absolute favourite was Moon Over Bourbon Street, which is a highly dramatic narrative, sung with an actor’s skill, with the sax, bass and keys creating a powerful moonlit atmosphere.  Ms Mok’s version of the rock song Wicked Game, shows off her wide vocal range.
I strongly recommend that BSH readers get on to YouTube immediately to watch the video of Karen Mok talking about the making of this album, with samples of the music.
The CD is released in the UK on March 11 on Decca Records.
Ann Alex 

1 comment :

Lance said...

Love your reference to session musicians as "The worker bees of the musical world" - priceless Ann!

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