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Grant Hindin Miller
singer, songwriter, script writer, New Zealand / Aotearoa
Rivers of Light
During the work I realised that Steve Garden (the recording engineer), Matthew Brown (keypboard), Linda Poulton (harmony vocals) and I had been recording together for thirteen years (and we're all still poor but honest. Well, poor).
This is my fourth collection of songs with Bahá´í themes. In think of them as a song-writer's notebook.
Like all living things, this recording had its delivery groans and smiles. More smiles. I set it forth in the world to spin. It has become a world of its own. You'll find simple guitar chords with the song lyrics if you want to play any of the songs. I hope you enjoy them.
Sacred Verses, 2000
All songs composed by Grant Hindin Miller. Vocal Harmonies by Linda Poulton.
Cover art: Megan Hasking and Margot Macphail
Sacred Verses by Grant Hinden Miller
Reviewed by Micheala Smith, U.K.
As the name suggests, this is an album which concentrates on setting the Holy writings of the Bahá'í Faith to music. The c.d. has a very a professional sound with clear vocals and instrumentation which all sit together comfortably in the mix. There is little variation from a guitar, vocal and keyboard format but all the sounds have been sensitively used. Putting the sacred word to music is not an easy task as it is so hard to make certain phrases scan and so it is usually more successful if one chooses shorter writings such as The Hidden Words and prayers like Blessed is the Spot which Grant has done.
It would be interesting to know how many versions of the latter have been created. Grant's rendition has the added attraction of a cute child's voice reciting the prayer before the singing begins.
The two standout tracks for me were O My Lord which had the most memorable melody line and Morning Prayer whose guitar part and keyboard line reminded me of Pat Metheny's album As Falls Wichita So Falls Wichita Falls. O My Lord also had some lovely playing on the piano, nice brushwork on the drums and backing vocals reminiscent of the Carpenters. Overall I feel the album lacks dynamics and is occupying a very safe territory using mostly minor feels and first position guitar chords. It is easy for musicians to get stuck in a rut playing in the same way for many years, but there are ways to progress for instance using different tunings if you are a guitar player, exploring fresh time signatures and experimenting with different instrumentation. Brian Eno used to make drummers play with one hand tied behind their backs, and ask other musicians to swap their instruments just to provoke creativity in the studio.
I'm sure living in the southern hemisphere Grant must be surrounded by both inspirational landscapes and a wealth of indigenous musical forms to draw on. I'd like to see someone of such obvious talent unleashing his creativity and bringing a more joyous sound to the words of Baha'u'llah...
...Sacred Verses would be perfectly acceptable for use at devotional meetings and is another honourable and praiseworthy attempt to present the writings in a very personal and beautiful way.
Excerpt from Arts Dialogue, October 2001. pages 2 and 3.
Other releases: music cassettes: Sing O Carmel, Fire and Steel, Journey
For orders contact Nightingale Press, 61 Greendale Ave., Avonhead, Christchurch, New Zealand
tel: 00 64 3 3589762 fax: 00 64 3 3589784 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Reviewed: "Sacred Verses" by Michaela Smith, Arts Dialogue, October 2001
- Announcement: Arts Dialogue, October 2000
- Announcement: BAFA newsletter, September 1991
Arts Dialogue, Dintel 20, NL 7333 MC, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands