Showing posts with label Jennifer DeFrayne. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jennifer DeFrayne. Show all posts

Instrumental New Age Review: Jennifer DeFrayne-Sisu

Genre: Instrumental New Age
Release Date: March 3, 2017
Label: Palo Isle Music

Jennifer DeFrayne’s new album Sisu is dedicated to her Finnish heritage. So, what is Sisu you may ask? Well I had the same question with immediate thoughts of what the album title meant.

As defined by Wikipedia: Sisu is a Finnish word which loosely means stoic determination, grit, bravery, resilience and hardiness. It is held by Finns themselves to express their national character. It is generally considered to not have a literal translation into English.

Sisu by my own definition is beauty, grace, strength, and the many colors of life intersecting within each song.

So, with great determination Ms. DeFrayne has released her second collection of tracks titled Sisu. She gets some assistance from the brightest and most talented people in the music business including Jeff Haynes, Premik Russell Tubbs, Michael Manring, Jill Haley, Sara Milonovich, Jeff Pearce, and Jeff Oster. 

There is a lot of instrumental piano based music that I cover hence I have concerns that eventually it will start sounding redundant. That is my biggest challenge not only as a listener but the person that needs to conceptualize and or visualize what the artist is projecting in their music. This music never allowed me to wander off course or feel there was not enough variety to keep me interested or demand my attention.

Jennifer’s music uses her talents with the ivory keys as the foundation of every track and then it is accentuated by other sounds and textures to give it a worldlier crossover feel to it. The title is normally the centerpiece of the table that is set and this album is no exception. “Sisu” is bold yet tasteful like a cup of good strong coffee, the music lingers in the air once it is made and the aroma is still there afterwards. This is good way to explain what this music sounds like and how it will affect you.

Jeff Oster’s horn makes the most beautiful sounds and helps to make the track “Beyond” more exceptional with his contributions. I am sure it would be wonderful with just Jennifer’s key strokes but the addition of that soothing and inviting horn gives it another layer of contrast and beauty. That is but one example of what awaits the listener that wishes to explore and experience thought provoking and relaxing music.

In an artistic sense music is much like a painting in that it speaks to everyone in a different way, and everyone feels and sees something different through their own eyes and soul. Every color splashed on the canvas of the painting holds a different meaning and atmosphere. The picture comes shining brightly through the music in a shout or whisper, dependent on your mood and interpretation.

As my love for music becomes more important with each passing day, I become that much more appreciative of music from albums like Sisu. My respect and gratefulness I feel for people like Jennifer DeFrayne goes beyond words. Listen to the spellbinding sounds of this album and I am sure you will agree this is one recording that will be in regular rotation in your stereo this year.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
February 4, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

01. Fire Island
02. Be Who You Are
03. Sisu
04. Beyond
05. Gathering
06. Palo Santo
07. Roots
08. Stepping Stones
09. Equanimity
10. Internal Light
11. Renew
12. Perseverance

New Age Instrumental Review: Jennifer DeFrayne-By a Wire

Release Date: April 29, 2014
Label: Little Hartley Music

By a Wire is Jennifer DeFrayne’s debut album, but not the first time she has embraced the call of music in her life. A self-taught pianist, she was urged on by friends and neighbors to pursue her dream. Inspired early on by the natural landscape of her home in Laurium, Michigan she began the love affair with music that has carried her through thick and thin. Produced by Fiona Joy Hawkins and Will Ackerman at his Imaginary Road Studios, this first step to living her passion finds DeFrayne more than shining through a cloud covered sky. She is the silver lining and a ray of sunshine for so many. This album is a jewel for any connoisseur of New Age instrumental music. 

 “Hope Floats” is a melodious vision of the inner light that shines within us all. It illuminates our hearts in the darkest nights of the soul. Hope helps us turn from the shadows and bear up in the face of despair. As I listened to this piece, I couldn’t help but think of what it must have been like to have the ability to play music taken away by a stroke and have to learn the basic living functions all over again. The force of will and sheer determination to embrace the world and turn her skill into helping others is a lighthouse in the storm for not just her, but anyone who has suffered a trauma as DeFrayne has. Do hard things. Make a difference. Each note is a victory. Each finger stroke a poke in the eye to giving up. 

“By a Wire” is a journey from the bottom of a dark well. Melodious and inspiring, this piece illustrates the will to prevail over some of life’s toughest situations. Indeed, sometimes we are only hanging on by a wire, swinging in the wind with nothing to catch us if we fall. DeFrayne hung on Tarzan style and came out swinging. Her music became the route she had taken most of her life-she used it to bring herself back from the brink of despair and uses it to help others do the same. This piece is artful and the composition one of beauty and substance.

“Sunrise to Sunset” is a walk on the beach. It is lifting your face to the sky, heart joyful just to be alive and here. Right now. It is letting your toes squish in the wet sand and letting the tide rush over your ankles. Golden rays of sunshine warm your cheeks as the waves of piano music drift over you like water. Elements of French horn add eloquence to the piece that makes it resonate. The dusk comes but you are no longer afraid of the night. You walk on into whatever will come, secure in your place in this world. The music tapers to a close and you smile.

DeFrayne spans the emotional range with By a Wire. Her music speaks of the deepest parts of our souls as human beings. After suffering the loss of family members and a debilitating stroke while she was a young mother, DeFrayne lost the ability to coordinate her fingers with the music in her mind. She was determined to grab onto her life’s blood and reclaim it as her own and now with By a Wire she has done just that. This debut album is one that shows just what a person can do if they believe enough. Love really can set you free.

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Hope Floats, By a Wire, Sunrise to Sunset

Dana Wright, Sr. Staff Writer New Age Music Reviews

May 22, 2014
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews