The most peaceful acoustic folk album you’ll hear this year.
Yaima has been creating stunning ethereal folk music for about five years now. Their blend of soothing vocals, guitars, flutes, handpans, drums and synths has made them quite a potent force – especially in the world of music healing. Ceremonia is their fourth album and it is an about-turn. Stripped back their complex production, this is a reimagining of 12 of their songs as acoustic versions. The album is a delicate treat that keeps giving.
If you are already familiar with Yaima, I’d imagine you’ll be grabbing the album regardless but for those new to the duo, Ceremonia is one of the most blissfully tranquil albums I’ve listened to in years. More importantly – it never sounds or feels trite while doing so. Pepper’s vocals are key to this as she recorded this album with a fragile angelicness. Her voice has the tiniest bit of reverb on it but that aside, it is intimately pure and that sets the tone for the instrumentation.
The entire album is retracked with a lush reverberant acoustic guitar that sounds like its being played with harp strings. It has a thick warmth to it that along with minimal bass and hand percussion, creates a rustic and bare album that is carried by melody and feel alone. From the tentative beauty of ‘Reservoir’ to the flowing majesty of ‘Force’ to the Latin tinge of the guitar and vocals of ‘Reciprocity’ – each track glows in this new light. Occasionally the handpan takes centre stage such as in the mystical ‘Time Is All We Have’. This track specifically sounds like a curious winter theme.
Latin and South America play a large role in the musical musing of Yaima and that carries across here. ‘Follow The Heart’ sounds like it could hail from Venezuela whereas ‘Rise’ mixes Peruvian influences with the American desert dust. There is more than a hint of Jesca Hoop here. The East gets a nod too with the ambient bell synth rendition of ‘Davitadudan’ and the only track to feature synths ‘Nuclear Fusion’ reminds me of Elsaine. The best example of what the album has to offer though is the simple arrangement of classic Yaima track ‘Written in the Wind’. It is so effortlessly laid down by the duo and showcases what fine music craft they both have.
‘Ceremonia’ is a quintessential folk album for anyone new or old to Yaima. Its beauty and emotional impact is undeniable. It is a calming force of sound in a world that seems so loud. It is exactly what we need to pour water on the flames of disaster. A stunning return that makes all the songs feel brand new again – this is music rearrangement done right.
Recommended track: Written in the Wind
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