Musician Elise Lebec has grown up with travel in her blood. From New Zealand to Australia and England back to the states, Lebec has soaked up inspiration from every corner of the globe. Her latest release, ORIGIN, is a sonic interpretation of her spiritual trip to Egypt, the first in a series of adventurous cross-cultural albums under the One World Turning Project umbrella of music, videos and merchandise.
The cultural richness that is entrenched within the sounds of traditional Egyptian music is something that can be felt within anyone. There is something so raw, spiritual and passionate that spills out from the sounds of this most ancient form of music. The opening track “Taaly Maaya: Come With Me” focuses on Lebec’s smoothly sensual voice setting the stage for what is sure to be a mystical experience. She guides the way into the journey that later disperses into a musical medley of sorts. The following “Queen of Light” begins with a frenzy of doumbek drums and various string instruments driving a memorable melody, and Lebec's voice has a haunting, retro-cinema quality. “Cairo Morning” takes the concept of this album in a bit of a different direction by fusing the old and the new. The iconic Egyptian instrumentals are coupled with a man rapping in Arabic while Elise harmonizes softly in the background.
Moving into the midsection of ORIGIN, the song “Bolero” is a mesmerizing and mysterious love song that’s painted over with a slight air of melancholy. It is a song from a lover longingly calling out to her other half. “Rumi Song,” much like “Cairo Morning,” incorporates some more modern musical influences. It throws in some electronic beats on top of the traditional Upper Egyptian instrumentals and couples those sounds with a woman passionately singing in conjunction with a man's hip hop-influenced vocals.
Remarkably different from the rest of the songs on her album, “Sekhmet: The Goddess Awakens” is an empowering chant that is uses minimal instrumentation but rather relies of layers of vocals and chants to convey a message of strength. Furthermore, “The Jam: Luxor, Egypt” is a belly dancer’s delight that offers an infectious rhythm section that would be perfect to dance along to. Continuing with the experimentation, “Sufi Dance” incorporates some very obvious funk elements and offers a very strong message about love, compassion and having an understanding for all walks of life. There is an element of gospel in the female vocals in this track. As beautifully as it began, ORIGIN ends in the same light. “Hob Elahy: God is Within” sends the final message of Lebec’s spiritual journey. We are all one and we are all empowered from within.
Whether you are seeking a musical journey, a spiritual awakening, or just curious to try something new, ORIGIN provides all of the above. With Lebec’s beautiful voice, wonderful Egyptian music, and powerful message, it is certain to bring meaning into your day.
ORIGIN releases July 21st, but is available now for pre-sale on iTunes, with one early download to enjoy, and on Amazon.
- Samantha Garcia