Jennifer Saran is an American born Hong Kong based singer songwriter of whom I knew nothing prior to the receipt of this latest album to review. I am certain that this is more my loss than hers. One of her aims in life, through both her music and charitable work, would seem to be to make the world we live in a better place. She is involved with a number of charities and the proceeds from the title track, "Wake Up" will go to the Desmond Tutu Foundation in South Africa.
The "Wake Up" album is a bit of a jewel for music lovers, containing a mix of almost every genre of music with the exception of opera. In addition to Jennifer's amazing voice, it includes the Ladysmith Black Mambazo choir from South Africa and the renowned guitarist Carlos Santana. One thing that really struck me about Jennifer's vocals is the clarity of her diction. No need here to rush off to find the sleeve notes to understand what she is singing about.
The album contains a mix of new songs written by Jennifer either alone or in collaboration with others and a number of tribute songs to other artists. All produced by Narada Michael Walden in California.
The tribute songs make for an unusual contribution to this production. A couple are fairly predictable, Bill Withers (Lean On Me) and Billy Paul (Me and Mr Jones.) The others, much less so! George Michael's "Jesus To A Child" is quite superb and emphasises the quality of Jennifer's voice. It also demonstrates what a talent the world of music lost with the death of George. Two of the other renditions came as a bit of a shock to this listener. Patti Page's "Old Cape Cod" and Doris Day's "My Love and Devotion" are not tracks that you would expect to hear on a CD issued in 2017. They are both however quite wonderful and the producer has done an incredible job of making the songs sound like they had been recorded at the relevant period in time, demonstrating total respect for the original artist and musicians! "Old Cape Cod" reminds me of music from a Busby Berkeley film although it never appeared in one. It just has that sound and feel to it and even includes vocal backing that is reminiscent of The Andrews Sisters.
There are a few real gems in the self-penned songs too. The title track "Wake Up" is a very uplifting song despite its very harsh warning about the state of our planet. Rather unusually for a protest song, it is played with a real beat and the backing of the choir. It works for me though and makes me listen to the words far more than some of the dirges I have heard in the past which try to make a point. "I Will Always be Your Home" is a line that all parents will have, at one point, told their children. A delightfully slow and very thought provoking track! "Really" sounds as though it has come straight from the local disco and "Grace is the Champion" is an excellent example of modern alt pop.
Jennifer is a lady who really cares about life and has produced an album to match her passion. I can honestly say that I like every track on this album. Some more than others but the same can be said of almost every album ever issued. One track will lift you up, the next will make you think about your life and that of others less fortunate. This is indeed a rare jewel. A lady who would make a wonderful dinner guest and is a very accomplished singer songwriter to be admired and taken notice of!
|Jim Causley: I Am The Song||Elles Bailey: Wildfire|
The Fatea Showcase Sessions are a series of downloads featuring acts that we've really enjoyed and think that more people should get the chance to hear.
Click Here to get the latest session