An amazing thing happened on the way to the computer. I expanded my appreciation for music to a kind that is altogether different. It is a type of music that defies categorization, really. Although the unique stylings of the band Crystal Bright and the Silver hands call their sound Kaleidophrenic Cabaret, still, it is a combination of the sounds and passions of international cultures that blend together in a perfect synchronicity.
At times, gypsyesque, and at other moments, Flamenco, old timey, or cabaret, the standout quality of the band’s sound always surprises. Singer-Songwriter Crystal Bright’s musical talent erupted out of natural intrigue, international travel, and her studies of anthropology and ethnomusicology. The multi-instrumentalist shapes interesting sounds using the saw (played with a violin bow), concertina (a small hexagonal accordion), adungu (a 9-stringed arched harp native to Uganda), traditional accordion, and keyboards. An eclectic collection, indeed.
Of all the instruments in her unique showcase, the standout is Crystal’s extraordinary singing voice. At times a slow whisper of a hum and at other times a powerhouse crescendo, her graceful voice explores a wide musical range almost effortlessly. In keeping with her vocal quality, the band’s sound often is described as ethereal, transportive, and other worldly. No argument there.
Taking inspiration from a blend of folklore, fairy tales, and female archetypes, Crystal bases her lyrics mainly on female characters. One such song off her second album "Muses and Bones" is "The Little Match Girl". Crystal’s lyrics outline the protagonist of the song: "Out in the woods she lived all alone…a crust of bread. No shoes or pillow for her head…there will be no tomorrow." Don’t give up hope, the song says. And the important message portrayed through the song’s lyrics is to take action in order to improve upon one’s life, instead of burying oneself in past memories. There is no sense in borrowing from the past. In fact, a commonality among most of the tracks of "Muses and Bones" conveys the message of overcoming self-doubt and doing what you love. Good advice!
Often painting a haunting and strange landscape with a mysterious quality to their music, Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands introduce a starkly diverse and different sound to listeners worldwide. Onstage and off, the musicians take their music seriously. During a recent performance, Crystal connected well with the audience in a down-to-earth, humorous manner. The other musicians remained curiously still during the song—almost as if humbled and quieted—letting the music play them. A vessel of sorts. What purpose would it serve to do cartwheels and somersaults across the stage in order to demonstrate a reverence to music (unless the performer is a gymnast and music enthusiast—then maybe…)?
The point is, Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands have the magic touch. The music industry certainly is taking notice. And this Greensboro, NC based band is clearly on its way to a Bright, bigger, and better future!
Copyright © 2012 Erin Lathrop. All rights reserved.