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Alela Diane, Head Full of Memories

By Stéphane Deschamps |

Is it a kind of provocation to release a live album while music lovers have been deprived of concerts since March 2020? No: it's more of a gift.

First of all, this album by the folk singer Alela Diane is not a real live album, played on stage with an audience clapping at the end of the songs. It's a live recording made in the studio (the Map Room), recorded in Portland while Alela Diane was returning from her 2018 European tour. It's recording to go back over the sensations and experience of the tour, heart and head full of memories. The tour probably went very well, thankfully. With her accompanists (Heather Woods Broderick on cello and Mirabay Peart on violin), she plays her songs with great grace and precision. She plays guitar or piano, and her friends also do vocals and whistle.

This very sober arrangement gives rise to rare songs that are very fine, full of nuance, well crafted and seemlingly solid and unbreakable all at once. They're like trees, with roots, a trunk, branches shooting up vertiginously and leaves that see nothing but sky. Since her debut album, the classic The Pirate's Gospel, Alela Diane has become a master of her art, creating recognisable vocal harmonies and unique atmospheres. Here is a singer who is both a shaman and a fine weaver, and who is still gaining in depth with this magnificent album.

LISTEN TO "LIVE AT THE MAP ROOM" BY ALELA DIANE ON QOBUZ


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