MARCELA BOVIO, THE VOICE OF STREAM OF PASSION, MAKES 'UNPRECEDENTED' FIRST SOLO OFFERING
Dutch Metallers Stream Of Passion have created a loyal and dedicated following over the years and the voice and songwriting skills of their effervescent Mexican singer Marcela Bovio has been a huge part of that.
I was one of many people around the world who were dismayed to hear that the band were going their separate ways at the end of this year but at least now we have this, the first solo effort from Ms Bovio to temper the disappointment. I asked the lady herself whether working on this album had any relation to the break up?
"Not much; I started working on this album a few months before we decided to quit."
'Unprecedented' is both a far cry from the symphonic/prog/Metal style of Stream Of Passion but yet clearly related to those songs too. It is a collection of songs performed with a classical string quartet but the expressive, emotional vocals, the Latin twists, even the occasional string quartet arrangement have been part of the band's sound for a long time.
I wondered whether these were songs which just worked in this style or if the songs were written especially for a string quartet?
"It was a little bit of both. I started mostly with new tracks and then dug into my archives. Through the years I had written some songs on the piano that I couldn't translate into Stream of Passion songs, but worked out really well arranged for the quartet."
It is obvious from the beautiful vocal performances here that these are personal songs, drawing heavily on the life and personal experiences of their author and doing that bravest of things for a performer and laying out her emotions for everyone to see.
'The Cartographers' starts off as a restrained and haunting piece building to a dramatic conclusion and was described to me as "a song about religion, and the crazy things religious leaders try to sell us sometimes. I was raised catholic, but I've been losing touch with those beliefs through the years, to the point that the stories and rituals seem more strange and irrelevant; and it creates a lot of confusion in me, It makes me mad to think that there are people that take advantage of faith and its power to get things their way."
'Powerless' is a reflective piece with a nice little rhythmic vibe and some beautiful cello and violin playing which "is about the inevitable passage of time, and this fear of mine of wasting it away; not being able to give all I have to give. A part of me hopes to be able to leave something behind before I go, and the thought haunts me; on this song I try to remind myself that it's all about the journey, and not the end of it."
Personally I think there is already a body of work which pretty well covers this but that's just my own opinion.
Happiness is of course an emotion too, so the jaunty violin hooks of 'The Treasure Hunter' are described as "a song I wrote about my good friend Maxi Nil [of Visions Of Atlantis/Jaded Star]; her heart is full of love and joy, and wherever she goes she spreads these beautiful feelings around
and shares them with every person she talks to. It's really beautiful!"
Something which always sounds amazing is when this beautiful vocal talent gets to sing in her native Spanish and this is well covered here in 'Dime', 'Alicia' and opening track 'Hay Amores'. Being a typical Brit I am no good with languages but it doesn't matter that I don't understand all the lyrics in these songs, they just somehow give me goosebumps anyway.
The versatile Ms Bovio can of course manage a bit of operatic soprano too and 'Stars' lets that side of her vocal talents shine. Interesting to hear what she sounds like singing soprano with a string accompaniment rather than soaring over a metal band in full flow.
We are MetalTalk and we publish rock'n'roll so it may be strange to some that we think a classical album can be of interest to metalheads. However we have always been a broad church and Metal has the most loyal fans around. This may not be Metal but I think the vast majority of fans of Stream Of Passion will connect with these songs.
The setting may be different but the same spirit and soul which is found in her band endeavours is clearly here and works tremendously well in a new environment. This album just makes me want to hear more Marcela Bovio whatever the musical style she chooses.
Stream Of Passion are doing four UK shows in October as part of their farewell tour:
October 13th: Underworld, London
October 14th: Bierkeller, Bristol
October 15th: Classic Grand, Glasgow
October 16th: Robin 2, Bilston Tickets Here
'Unprecedented' is released on Friday 23rd September and is available on CD, vinyl and digital download at marcelabovio.com.