This is a great time for something brighter and lighter, something that brings some ease to the weary listener, who is seeking feelings of harmony and simple respite from our troubled world. The gifted composer, singer, and pianist Fiona Joy Hawkins has just the thing, a new album titled Moving Through Worlds. I hear an enchanting and amazing exploration of themes such as land, water, fire, climate change and the vanishing of souls into the wind. The 14 tracks feature mostly solo piano, some are duos with violin or cello, some have a more full range of accompanists. The sound has a way of traversing lots of moods, rich with dynamic energy. In places the sound is delicate and slow, in places the feelings build and gain velocity and then gently recede.
Fiona Joy Hawkins is a mainstream Composer/Pianist/Vocalist with an international following, whom she greets weekly with pandemic-inspired, live-streamed concerts from her rural home in NSW Australia. The event’s growing popularity may be attributable to a combination of her musical talent, a love for her fans, and her disarming Aussie humour. A prolific composer, she has always been interested in creating music that evokes images, emotions and tells stories.
“My wish is to open a few more hearts to the power of music. I believe music is a gift from another world, from ancestors of the past communicating to inspire and give us hope,” Hawkins said, reflecting on the world’s current challenges. “Music is a universal language that connects us without prejudice, it speaks to us all equally, yet is received with great variation. Now more than ever we need the connection to our past to find the pathway to our future.”
As per her usual style, Hawkins defies genre by bringing classical, contemporary piano, ethereal vocals, and lush new age instrumentals together to create a sound that is uniquely her own. This mix of solo and instrumental pieces reflects some of the worlds that she has moved through so elegantly while this powerful music gathered in her soul: granddaughter, nurse, wife, mother, daughter-in-law, friend, lover, painter, pianist, composer...cue the many lives of an artistic woman.
Jonathan Widran, in a review for JWVibe, wrote “While fusing the old and new on these tracks to help her come to terms with the past and “put her ghosts to bed,” Fiona places a dreamy, easy flowing coda on this era of her life with “All That is Left,” blending piano, violin and flugelhorn to create a final confrontation with these issues – and a sense of hope that she is on her way to healing.”
Fans watching her weekly Fiona Live Living Room Concerts often comment on her balletic piano performance style, which comes from a childhood spent learning classical piano, dance, and painting. In her music, one can hear the inspiration of Felix Mendelssohn and Frédéric Chopin, and yet her music is likened to modern composers such as Ludovico Einaudi, Michael Nyman, Liz Story, and George Winston. Hawkins regularly tours China and the USA, and is also a member of the award-winning contemporary instrumental group, FLOW (Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt, Jeff Oster, Will Ackerman).
Hawkins began recording and conceptualizing Moving Through Worlds three years ago, yet she describes it as an album over 44-years in the making. One of the classical-crossover pieces is “For the Roses” which a 12-year-old Hawkins wrote and performed for her Grandmother’s funeral. The song “Calling County Clare” reaches even further back to her family’s Irish roots, called forth with Irish whistle by Paul Jarman, Hawkins on piano/vocals, and Will Ackerman (guitar/hopi), Tom Eaton (accordion), Jeff Haynes (percussion) and Tony Levin (NS bass).
County Clare Ireland has a strong history of traditional music, with many seasonal music festivals. One of the legends for the origin of the county name Clare, sometimes also called the Banner County, comes from the settlement of Clare (now Clarecastle), whose name Clár, or plank bridge, is a place for crossing over the River Fergus. The first track on Moving Through Worlds, "Calling County Clare" (5:06) is a haunting bit of a quiet easy dance with piano, percussion, acoustic guitar, bass, Irish flute, and vocals floating ethereally. There is a new video that is based on this song:
She has been very busy recently giving interviews and generously sharing her time with us between tours and recording, here are three articles that have recently been published: