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The Veil...
Sophia Speaks


"What 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)

"if 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're gonna be
flying...Lear Way, Trans Love Timothy Airways...)"

- Cyril Jordan (The Flamin' Groovies)

"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)

"'Sophia Speaks' is a fantastic voyage from the opening 'invocation' through the final track, fusing spoken word, song, and varied musical influences with
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)

"She Returns...
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 The Bone)

"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 addictive."
[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 The Bone,
San Francisco)

"The music 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."

- Kevin Kormylo (Solar Transition - KVMR-FM Nevada City

"The Veil's new CD, Sophia Speaks, is 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.

The Veil 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'.

Driven 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."

-Margaret Davis (Avalon Rising, Broceliande)

"Debut offering 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.

The 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 hopes."

- Laurie Chastain (violinist, vocalist, songwriter)

"SOPHIA 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)


"The entire 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."

-Tom Schneider (Stinkeye)

"... 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.

I most enjoyed 'My Heart is a Lion', was particularly
impressed by the playing on 'A Single Note,' loved the
vocals on 'The Star of India', and very much liked the
lyrics on 'Beggar Man.'

Vocals were great throughout, as was the production.

Now 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,

"I like the Sophia album a lot - very nice music, beautifully mastered (love the bass sound with the strings) and the vocals are wonderful."

- Nada Lewis (Folkloric Productions, Panacea)

"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."

"Should appeal to listeners with music by any of these artists in their collection (all currently avail. on CD):"

  • Kaleidoscope
  • Kula Shaker (excellent 1998 UK band, Indian music melded with power pop)
  • Pentangle
  • Fairport Convention
  • Poe readings by Maryanne Faithful (Annabelle Lee) and Christopher Walken (The Raven)
  • Churchills (1968 Israel band, traditional instruments blended with double-tracked electric guitars)
  • Laurie Anderson

- Ken Kaffke (author, publisher-The Good Stuff)


This site was last updated
Monday, November 8, 2004 12:44 PM


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