a disc! I took it home to listen last night
and all I can say is wow. A musical tour de force!
Having recently produced a friend's CD I appreciate
the superlative engineering and production and writing."
George Maida (WCVE
88.9FM, Richmond VA)
you want to take an acid trip and go 1st class ... then put this
CD on your player...and be sure to get your crash helmet on! (...fall
into the canyons of your mind...Let it take you somewhere...you're
flying...Lear Way, Trans Love Timothy Airways...)"
"This album grabbed me by the lapels
and shook me out of my malaise over the whole neo-Celtic rock-influenced
thang. The opening monologue on the title track 'Sophia Speaks'
was so sexy I immediately made it the startup sound on my computer.
The second track carried on with the merciless pummeling of the
listener with the intriguing and fresh combination of spoken-word
poetry and wall-of-sound rock. Next... do you like dissonance? Damn
I sure do, and vocalist McCarthy sears you with a screaming sonic
crescendo at the end of 'My Heart is a Lion.' By this time
you might need to take a breath and the next track 'The Booger
Man' gives you a chance to groove to a more conventional Celtic
rock track with an ass-whomping backbeat and vocals by Ungar. Speaking
of boogers, what is that sticky thing holding the disc in the digipak?
Very distinctive packaging of this CD and spectacular layout. Anyway,
the following track 'Fever Vision' returns us firmly to the frenetic
poetry/pounding rock sound. The only weak spot I would point to
on this collection would be the texture of the last two tracks,
'Star of India' and 'A Single Note'; a little too
retro-sixties-hanging-out-with-Ravi-Shankar sounding for my tastes--
on the one hand, I want to say 'Don't you guys know, the Beatles
already did this?' But on the other hand, we liked it when the Beatles
did it, and we still like it... Overall: This album should be arrested
for 'Refusing To Obey.'
Kyle Wohlmut (harpist/guitarist, producer)
Speaks' is a fantastic voyage from the opening 'invocation'
through the final track, fusing spoken word, song, and varied musical
great performances throughout. I'm particularly impressed by Mark
Ungar's multi-instrumental musicianship and arrangement skills.
And track 6, 'The Star of India'
is a favorite, with a beautiful melody and vocals evoking Fairport
Convention and beyond."
Robert Powell (producer, recording artist/multi-instrumentalist)
An ancient Goddess emerges from the mists of
a forgotten tomb, and becomes an Oasis in a vast desert of the muse.
Year after year, our ears have been forced to endure the slavery
of regurgitated tunes from dead pop icons and music producing beats
too fast for the human ear to absorb. As slaves keeping time to
the drum of an ancient Mesopotamian barge, we have been subject
to what has been produced for us; what has been done again and again;
we lie as hostages of the muse. Sophia says, "I set you free."
And indeed, she delivers.
Creating a style that blends ritual, poetry, music, story, and song,
Sophia speaks of possibility. She challenges us to hear music as
a synergistically magic creation of sound that evokes sight. We
have lost the images that songs bring with them, and Sophia has
found them amongst Mediterranean ruins, in ancient outposts of the
Celtic Isles, in the tattered ports of Calcutta, and in the Badlands
of the Southwest.
Sophia Speaks of a rebellious, yet beauteous spirit that beats with
the "heart of a lion" and ends with the solitude of "A
Single Note." Just when we have taken our last tenuous
breath, lost in the face of a passionate "Fever Vision,"
Sophia sets us free once again, letting us taste the salt upon the
ocean air, as we sail upon the "Star of India."
If one has not experienced a musical voyage, weaved amongst the
depths of our ancient past, this synthesis of sheer artistic landscaping
of our eternal soul is not meant to be missed."
Micha Dunston (Interfaith
Pagan Pride Parade)
"A mystical audio journey! Sit back and
relax and be swept away to the outer reaches of the mind's eye."
Billy Steel (107.7
"Thank you for the CD, it truly is a
work of art! I can't stop listening to this disc. I LOVE IT! It's
[Gary recently wrote us a wonderful review which I've put on its
own page, as it's too long
to present here! Thanks Gary!]
Gary Vollono (President, IndepenDisc)
"...excellent production, haunting lyrics -- and that woman
has an awesome voice..."
Steven Seaweed (107.7
comes tumbling first slowly like water from a hidden canyon
when the vocals of Margarita Kovats emerge with mystical and sexual
connotations it grabs your attention and lets you know you are about
to embark on a wild ride through Persian and Far Eastern musical
landscapes sure, the half-spoken vocals border on camp in
their audaciousness but the musicianship is superb and you get the
feeling that there is nothing accidental in the seemingly muddled
blend of Eastern, Persian and Celtic music, homespun rock and jam
band raucousness. This could be the start of something big! They
hail from Crockett home of the late great Aldo Rey."
Kormylo (Solar Transition - KVMR-FM
new CD, Sophia
a sheer joy throughout. Starting with the evocative title track,
Sophia Speaks whisks
the listener away on a primal journey of timeless mystery and exoticism.
combines the mystical spoken-word poetry of
Margarita Kovats with
the driving Middle Eastern and Celtic percussion of Deirdre
McCarthy, and the serpentine guitar,
bass, and mandocello of Mark Ungar.
Deirdre McCarthy is also the lead singer, lending her powerful vibrant
alto to vocals ranging from Middle Eastern to rock; Mark Ungar adds
his vocal talents to the lead of 'Beggarman'.
by fiery percussion and drums throughout, the lyrics speak of magic
and ancient rites, moonlit nights, and the wild dance of passion.
Standout tracks include the rocking 'My
Heart is a Lion,' 'Beggarman,' featuring Ungar's tasty
guitar and powerful lead vocals, 'Fever
Vision,' with hallucinatory lyrics powered by rock drums,
wild electric guitar, and soaring vocals, and my personal favorite,
'Star of India,' a dreamy,
melodic, call to adventure featuring sitar/guitar, percussion and
McCarthy's glorious lead vocals."
of The Veil,
Sophia Speaks, is a well produced CD. At times reminiscent
of Dead Can Dance and early Enigma, The Veil showcases
original ideas and fine playing in an intriguing fashion."
Lief Sorbye (Tempest)
"Sophia Speaks is
a lovely first offering from The
Veil. Made up of Bay Area
music veterans, The Veil is reminiscent of 60's celtic rock,
but with a distinctly Eastern flavor. They combine classic rock,
Celtic traditional, and Arabic and Indian World music flavors very
skillfully and interestingly. I particularly like 'My
heart is a Lion' and 'The Beggar
Man'. Insightful lyrics......'My
Heart' is almost anthem-like, and I have listened to
it over and over, singing along. I genuinely enjoy this CD and am
delighted to have gotten a review copy! I will listen to it many
more times for my own enjoyment. I've come to think of it as 'Steeleye
Span on strong Morrocan hash!'"
Sharon Knight (Pandemonaeon)
"Sophia Speaks is sacred
poetry which combines ecstatic love-chanting with graceful ferocity.
Sophia speaks her promise to
return to this world, to renew and cleanse our poisoned Now with
renewed memories of our sacred love of Earth and ourselves. It is
a powerful incantation.
music combines Celtic melody and percussive elements like the bodhran
with Middle-Eastern drumming and virtuosic riffing on Arabic scales.
It is an electric and thrilling experience; its verse revives buried
Laurie Chastain (violinist, vocalist, songwriter)
SPEAKS, the title piece
to the debut album of The Veil,
spoke to my deepest vision of the Goddess, and became the fierce
conclusion to our celebration of the Return of the Divine Feminine.
SOPHIA is gnosis: beyond idea, beyond
illusion and abstraction, She is understanding that can only arise
from an embodied experience of what is sacred. Mystical, ferocious,
and lyrical, their poetry and music does, indeed, part a Veil in
our hearts and imaginations."
Lauren Raine (dancer, The
Masks of the Goddess)
CD sounds very lush, and someone has paid a lot of attention to
the tonal texture of the instruments. The musicianship is great,
and the performances all top-notch. The instrumentalists are really
tight and professional; the recording is super-clean and everyone
comes through clearly. I really like 'Star
of India', because [Deirdre's] voice is strong
and the harmonies are straight and pretty. Lyrics on this one are
nice too. My next favorite is 'Beggar Man'
. It's got a nice melody line and the male/female harmonies are
powerful. Good lyrics. I think this one has good commercial potential."
"... Such clean playing, and what a wonderful
variety of musical textures! It all makes the definite impression
of a much larger band than just the few of you.
most enjoyed 'My Heart is a Lion',
impressed by the playing on 'A Single Note,'
vocals on 'The Star of India',
and very much liked the
lyrics on 'Beggar Man.'
were great throughout, as was the production.
I should tell you, much of the album has a
style/direction that doesn't greatly appeal to an old
fuddy-duddy like me. (Though it amuses me to think
how John Ashcroft might react
if he heard it.) I have
little doubt, though, that it will appeal greatly to a
hipper crowd that stays up later. Best of luck going
forward, and congratulations on your remarkable
Mark Sellin (musician, director, webmaster-DougTheSlug.com)
like the Sophia album a lot - very nice music, beautifully
mastered (love the bass sound with the strings) and the vocals are
Nada Lewis (Folkloric
"I'm hearing the rich tapestry of
The Veil! One moment dark like
Poe, at once arrestingly Arabesque,
as unconventional Fairport,
dancing minstrel muse, a glimpse through a Kaleidoscope of Ungarian
ghoulash, a layer cake of Celtic conundrums. Vocals of choral and
drone, served up front in the mix. As engaging as anything somehow
famililiar yet mysterious has a right to be."
appeal to listeners with music by any of these artists in their
collection (all currently avail. on CD):"
(excellent 1998 UK band, Indian music melded with power pop)
readings by Maryanne Faithful
(Annabelle Lee) and Christopher Walken
(1968 Israel band, traditional instruments blended with double-tracked
Kaffke (author, publisher-The Good Stuff)