Lily Storm

If I Had a Key to the Dawn

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

There's some very beautiful music on this CD, culled from all over Eastern Europe and performed with spare, aching loveliness by Lily Storm and her musicians. She's a wonderful, malleable vocalist who's absorbed a lot on her travels around the region and from records. The lengthy "Gulo" is a standout, full of elaborate ornamentation, as are "My Nightingale" and the sad closer, "The Swallow Is Flying," but nothing is less than excellent. On a couple of tracks she performs completely solo, but even when accompanied there's real subtlety and sparseness in the arrangements that let her voice shine through. However, she's not the real star here; that crown belongs to the material. There's real longing in the carefully picked songs, leavened with a couple of instrumentals (one for accordion, one for duduk) that act like sherbet, preparing the tastebuds for more singing. Storm knows her material (she was with the vocal ensemble Kitka for five years, an excellent apprenticeship) and sings with reverence, real skill, and true emotion. She's most certainly a class act, not appropriating the songs, but disseminating them to a wider audience.

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