CROSS RHYTHMS MAGAZINE
It's very hard to do an inspirational/ MOR type of album without coming over incredibly chessy but Carolyn Vargas manages it. Though she is based in Hawaii (okay for some eh?) the album was recorded here in the UK and utilises the talents of keyboard/programming genuis Mark Edwards whose production skills add a fresh musical landscape to Carolyn's excellent songs. Her semi-operatic voice is ideally suited to
this sort of material, adding an ethereal quality to some of the songs especially in the higher register. David Grant also adds his voice to some material creating some lovely contrasts. With songs that minister into the soul and sound that stretches this album beyond the usual inspo fare, this is clever, mature, uplifting stuff.
Take a Hawaii-based singer, record her mature inspirational songs in the UK with master producer Mark Edwards and you get one of the most uplifting, and surprising, albums of the year, well worth searching out on the internet. Review CR16.
Carolyn Vargas' voice "drops sweetness as the honeycomb... milk and honey are under [her] tongue" (Song of Songs 4:ll). She is a classically trained singer with a pure and crystal clear voice with a spacious expressive quality. The smooth, rich vocals of David Grant blend seamlessly on the duets, and the emotional intensity increases. Mellifluous background vocals and tasteful instrumentation (some lovely piano and acoustic guitar parts) add to the elaborate tapestry.
One word can describe this CD: Passion. For centuries worshippers have used romantic imagery to describe the passion of their faith. In the tradition of Solomon's Song of Songs, Carolyn Vargas has created a lush musical tableau full of sensual sounds and ideas. Most of "The Bride to the Bridegroom" is devoted to expressions of love. She searches with a longing heart for the beloved, to come away with him. "Ravished," with lyrics from Song of Songs chapter 4 extols, "O how fair is your love, how much better than wine / You have ravished my heart completely." Velvety, silky romantic sentiments describe her relationship with the Lord. Deep emotion is expressed with such words as yearning, lovesick devotion, longing, desire, and blissful delight. "I've never felt this way before" summarizes the sentiments of intimacy put forth with ardor. Like others before her, she interprets the sensuous imagery of the Song of Songs in spiritual terms. Although she obviously intends this to be worship music, the capacity for dual meaning makes some of these songs appropriate for human romantic aspirations.
Soft jazz stylings are equally balanced with inspirational CCM numbers, from effervescent to smoothly introspective. Only "Wedding Celebration" could be interpreted as Celtic in style with its lively flute, percussion, and modal instrumental interlude. The cover art is also romantic, featuring the artist dressed in burgundy velvet and taffeta in front of St Andrew's Cathedral, Honolulu, Hawaii--a touch of the medieval. Chivalry in jazzy clothing is evident in the song "Hero of my Heart."
"The Bride to the Bridegroom" won Inspirational Album of the Year for the Hawaii Music Awards.
Melodies that linger long after listening coupled with depths of devotion will make this a favourite of those desiring an intimate experience of worship.
REVIEW BY MICHAEL ALLISON
The Bride To The Bridegroom
Carolyn Vargas and her tantalizing voice is no stranger around here. Not too long ago I was swept away by the beauty and
eloquence of her soothing vocals. Carolyn keeps the beauty of her music alive and well with her latest release, The Bride To The Bridegroom. This spiritual album combines the subtlety and grace of contemporary music with her passion for her spirituality and faith. Carolyn's vocals are probably what stands out the most on this album. She has a range that defies explanation, but uses it in a way that doesn't play sour with the ears.Contemporary Christian music fans will find this music soothing and refreshing, to say the least. Carolyn's operatic vocal style and ability will have the fans of this music begging for more. This album is certainly a step up from the last, and that in itself is a remarkable accomplishment. The Bride To The Bridegroom is certain to find itself a home in your most precious albums.
THE BEST FEMALE MUSICIANS
REVIEW BY DENNIS HALSEY
The Bride To The Bridegroom
Carolyn Vargas uses her ethereal and haunting voice to present a collection of songs about love, and worship. She sings a different type of Gospel. It is not the clapping your hands and dancing around the room type, but a gentle and ethereal mix that relaxes the listener. Carolyn has also been known to sing for women's groups. Her songs are empowering. The songs are metaphorical, and while they are most certainly about the worship of God, they can also be about any empowering love. Carolyn is very comfortable as a singer and her voice is siren-like, luring the listener toward her shores.
while I am not comfortable commenting on songs of praise, I can say that Carolyn presents all these songs beautifully, and if you are looking for a disc filled with songs of inspiration and praise this one is worth a listen.
The Best Female Musicians
REVIEW BY KEN MOWERY
The Bride To The Bridegroom
As the title clearly states, this CD is all about the intense love, passion, and devotion that a bride feels toward her bridegroom. To the un-initiated it may come as a surprise to learn that the beautiful songs which Carolyn Vargas has written and presented on this album actually describe the love relationship that exists between Jesus Christ and His Bride, the Church. Her songs look at that relationship from the perspective of the bride. They are love songs to Jesus.
The thematic mooring for The Bride To The Bridegroom comes from Revelation 19:7, which speaks of the return of Christ at the end of the age and the eternal uniting of Christ and His Church in Heaven. This event is described in that verse as "the marriage of the Lamb." It is the one event that all Christians have been anxiously anticipating since the Resurrection.
There is an appropriate transcendent, ethereal beauty to the music on this CD. This pleasing effect comes from Vargas superlatively soaring soprano and the mysteriously mystic arrangements which rely heavily upon piano, layered background vocals, lush string passages and judicious synthesizer accompaniments.
There is stylistic variety provided on the CD by songs such as the jazzy "Hero Of My Heart" and "Wedding Celebration," which introduces a nice Celtic/world beat feel. The last two songs, "I Will Say The Words" and "I Love You," are songs that could be easily adapted for use in congregational singing, especially in churches that tend toward more contemporary styles of worship.
Aside from the overall pleasant aesthetic of The Bride To The Bridegroom, there are some important and probing question raised by this project. What inspires a person to feel such deep and profound love toward Jesus Christ? Should everyone feel this way? Finding the answer to these questions is worth the price of the CD, but there is also much to appreciate and enjoy musically.
THE GLOBAL MUSE
REVIEW BY MICHAEL ALLISON
In My Fathers Arms
Carolyn Vargas has that certain way of luring you into her smooth adult contemporary sound with her beautiful voice and eloquent songwriting style. The music is very refreshing and has the tendency to pull at your heartstrings and open your soul. There is always a spiritual value to her music and a feeling of peace and tranquillity. There is almost a world sound to this music which gives it an added flavor that is somewhat unexpected, but easily accepted. Carolyn has that beautiful voice that contains a lot of control and an almost operatic effect.
I have to say that I really enjoyed this music, but because of the sheer excellence, found it hard to find words to express my feelings.
That's when I know music is at it's best.
This is music that proves that point entirely.
With great joy in my heart, my Album, "THE BRIDE TO THE BRIDEGROOM," WON the award for Inspirational Album of the Year, for the 7th Annual Hawaii Music Awards. The "HAWAII MUSIC AWARDS" are the PEOPLE'S CHOICE and I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to all who voted. God Bless You All.
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