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World Music CD Reviews Australia & Oceania

HELEN RIVERO and IAN BLAKE

By Allison Davis
Published June 27, 2006

Luminous
Larrikin Music

Seventeen traditional lullabies from 14 different cultures, including Yiddish and Creole and as far flung as Tibetan and Finnish, are featured on Luminous, from vocalist Helen Rivero and instrumentalist Ian Blake. These  excursions into night-music are not meant to rock you to sleep as much as make you aware of the eclectic marriage of sounds to the intentional and well-timed space and silence. Enhancing the conventional woodwinds, percussion and strings are sounds of a thunderstorm, a cat purring, and children crying, to name a just a few of the duo’s improvisations in the studio.  The Australian Rivero manages to contort and cast her voice so eloquently on each track that it literally sounds like a different person from song to song. Just as dreams themselves, these luminous lullabies at times teeter on unsettling and even haunting, especially the Finnish Pium Paum. Featuring additional help from Peter Kennard on percussion and Julian Thompson on cello, Luminous deftly uses music to explore the states of mind when asleep, awake, and all things in-between.