Full Reviews

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Artist: Darlene Koldenhoven

Title: Traveling the Blissful Highway

Genre: New Age-Contemporary

Release Date: October 14, 2022

Label:  TimeArt® Recordings

Website: https://www.darlenekoldenhoven.com/

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Darlene Koldenhoven's instrumental new-age world release Traveling the Blissful Highway, will be another significant achievement to add to her impressive catalog of releases. 

 

There are several instruments utilized to create the tracks. Darlene is the producer, engineer, composer, and instrumental-vocal arranger. She played keyboards, provided background vocalese and spoken word, added quartz singing bowls, rainstick, shaker, and native drum, and used a synth programmer. It would take a considerable amount of space to list all the rest of the instruments provided by contributors' names that may be familiar to you in the genre, including Charlie Bisharat, Ron Korb, and Joanne Lazzaro to name a few. There are many more as well. I cannot understate the importance of collaboration with so many different instruments coming together in the tracks. Steve Shepherd provided the mixing and mastering, and his work shines from beginning to end.

 

It is some of the most relaxing and dreamy music you will have the pleasure of enjoying. The first single of the album, "Cheerful Mohana," sets the tone and atmosphere perfectly. The Mohana (Urdu: موہانہ), sometimes referred to as Mohanoمهانو, are Sindhi Mohana tribes called Mohano Mallah Mirbahar Mirani in the province of Punjab. 

 

I liked the play on the words "Dot Calm," it is a great way to take something that can be stressful or frustrating when things are not working right and flip it to the positive. The internet or dot.com space is a wonderful tool for millions of people. It takes that word and changes everything you think about cyberspace. That is the point here, I believe.

 

Even the title suggests a change of thought patterns when referring to the highway. The morning or evening commute can be a nightmare. The artwork would mean something entirely different with a view of beauty and colors. That kind of scenery is possible; however, I think you would get the idea here for those looking for another "road." Life can be bumpy and full of unforeseen potholes. This road is in your mind by following the music's power of suggestion. Music so peaceful and a slice of heaven has a way of changing you from the inside out. It starts with audio and vibrations, then adjusts your brain waves, which changes you physically. That is the healing power of music.

 

"Osmium Glow" (Osmium is a shiny, silver metal that resists corrosion) is one of the most serene and inviting tracks. The combination of instruments is superb (as they are on every track). Lovely piano, synth, violin, and some vocalese towards the end are the perfect complement to one of the more exciting songs. The world elements give it a flavor and spice all its own. If you are in the mood for Celtic influences, then "Highland Mist" will deliver with some alluring flute.

 

Traveling the Blissful Highway can become a daily trip to your paradise. This music exists meant to change you on so many levels. Ultimately it will succeed in doing so if you allow it. The key to enjoying any music is letting it envelop you, to be a place where you feel safe and loved, and most importantly, a place you can always go to get reintroduced to some well-needed rest. As always, music can lead us there. 

 

Darlene Koldenhoven is very talented, and every album I have heard and reviewed is entirely different. It is the fifth release to add to my collection and has already become one of my favorites. 

 

Being eclectic and using all the tools at your disposal is the way to record such a great album. With the addition of talented friends into the mix, this artist has found everything she needs to continue recording great music for years to come.

 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder

July 18, 2022

We were honoured to welcome the wonderful Grammy Award Winner Darlene Koldenhoven from Los Angeles into our Harley Street clinic for a luxury Vie Signature AquaFacial back in April. Darlene’s music plays a huge part in our client journey. It conveys our core values at each of our establishments. It is the beautiful sound of Darlene's albums: The Grand Piano Spa and The Grand Piano Spa: Legacy, that we play throughout our clinics. We received a preview to her upcoming instrumental album, Traveling the Blissful Highway that we are excited to be adding to our musical library on October 14. This exceptional music made to enhance all of our client’s and associates’ well-being, enriches the signature Vie Aesthetics multi-sensory approach to the client journey. Marrying the feel of a spa-like establishment with the medical standard of services that we are so proud to provide to our clients. We aim to speak to each of our clients in a multi-sensory way, from the moment they step into our clinics. Sound, is one of the senses and we cater for it by using Darlene’s music. It has a huge impact on the way that people feel, when they are met with the therapeutic calming sounds. This aids people who may feel nervous about their non-surgical treatments with our practitioners, but also helps those who are booked for a relaxing facial or massage with our Skin Therapists to find their optimal state of relaxation. And it is a beautiful environment for our lovely staff too. Alongside our Global Aesthetic Practice of the Year title, we are a multi-award-winning clinic and believe that only the best is good enough for our clients and Darlene well and truly is the best indeed!

–Vicky Grammatikopoulou, Owner, Vie Aesthetics, Harley Street, London, England 7/27/22

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Darlene Koldenhoven
Traveling the Blissful Highway

(c) & (p) 2022 TimeArt Recordings
 
Where is the road to the unknown taking you?
Perhaps there, at the end of the road, you will find yourself.

 
Turning on this album, you go on an amazing journey. And this road turns out to be endless, filled with joy and the most pleasant impressions.
 
The music of "Traveling the Blissful Highway" is colored with many colors, as if you are enthusiastically leafing through a color album of a wonderful photographer who captured the most beautiful landscapes that he met on his way. And each new page is even more beautiful.
 
This is no coincidence. The album's music contains ethnic motifs that create a sense of celebration of life and bring a special, incomparable atmosphere of meditation and tranquility. Keyboards Darlene Koldenhoven and her divine vocal softly frame the sound of harmonious compositions, creating a bright polyphonic picture.
 
It must be said here that many truly remarkable musicians took part in the recording of the album, such as Charlie Bisharat - violin; M.B. Gordy - percussion; Ron Korb - bansari, Irish, whistle and C flutes; Harry Kim - flugelhorn; Catherine Del Russo - oboe; Mike Miller - guitars; Venugopala Raju – tablas & Indian percussion; Gayle Levant - harp; Lyn Bertles - viola; Joanne Lazzaro - Native flutes, C flute & bass flute; Courtney Jacob - C flute. "Traveling the Blissful Highway" was masterfully mixed and mastered by Steve Shepherd. I can admit here that the sound design of the newest work of Darlene Koldenhoven is truly perfect.
 
I will add that the sounding of this project is filled with nature sounds that harmonize the listener.
 
The album “Traveling the Blissful Highway” is addressed to a wide range of lovers of instrumental, new age, meditative and ambient music. It can be a wonderful end to a hard day, bringing peace to the soul and clearing the mind of worries. And, also, this project can be listened to simply to achieve a state of relaxation and enjoy the beautiful music created by a company of talented artists.
 
What else can be said about this unique album? There is sophistication and a lot of the smallest nuances in its perfect sounding music.
 
Immerse yourself in these light harmonies. Feel the beauty of the surrounding world. And this music will undoubtedly lead you to yourself. After all, that’s where every true journey leads.
 
Serge Kozlovsky, Minsk, Belarus 7/30/22 https://skozlovsky.com
 
Visit Darlene Koldenhoven’s web site at https://www.darlenekoldenhoven.com
 

Traveling the Blissful Highway
Darlene Koldenhoven
2022 / TimeArt Recordings
54 minutes

If ever there was a perfectly-titled album, Darlene Koldenhoven's Traveling the Blissful Highway is it! Darlene's previous two albums, The Grand Piano Spa and The Grand Piano Spa: Legacy, debuted on the Billboard Charts in the Top 10 (both were released in 2021). She has had several #1 albums on the Zone Music Reporter Worldwide Radio Charts, was given a Lifetime Achievement Award and is the first inductee into the Indie Music Hall of Fame. An award-winning composer/pianist/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist and so much more, Darlene is probably best-known for her soaring vocals on the Yanni, Live at the Acropolis PBS special, video and tour and as the tambourine-waving singing nun, music director and vocal coach in both of the Sister Act films with Whoopi Goldberg. On Traveling the Blissful Highway, Darlene composed, produced and engineered all of the music. She performs on keyboards, synth programming, background vocalese, spoken word, quartz singing bowls, rainstick, shaker, and native drum (not all at the same time!). Joining her are award-winning music luminaries that include Charlie Bisharat (violin), M.B. Gordy (percussion), Ron Korb (bansari, Irish, whistle and C flutes), and several others. The twelve tracks overflow with calming gentleness and warm optimism and are sure to brighten your spirit any time of day or night!

Traveling the Blissful Highway begins with the first single from the album, "Cheerful Mohana." Mohana is the name for the morning raga (or scale) in Indian culture and is known to to reduce anxiety, stabilize moods and blood pressure, and elevate a depressed state of mind. Bright and lively with an uplifting sparkle, the music features, keyboard, vocalese (no lyrics), flutes (Korb) and a variety of Indian instruments (Venugopala Raju). "Time Traveler" is much more ambient and was performed on synth and keyboards (Darlene). Very soothing and relaxing, it has an almost magical feeling sure to relieve stress and insomnia. "Jade Dreams" was inspired by a beautiful Japanese garden and features elegant flute and violin melodies by Korb and Bisharat as well as gentle background vocalese. "Gentle Soul" is a wonderfully soothing trio for piano, violin and harp (Gayle Levant). I can actually feel stress leave my mind and body while listening to this one! I really like the title "Dot Calm"! This one features Darlene on keyboard, spoken word, quartz singing bowl and rainstick, and Joanne Lazzaro on flute and bass flute. Ambient and hypnotic, this one is also a real stress-reliever! "Tropical Chill" features Harry Kim on flugelhorn and Darlene on synth, keyboards and vocalese - warm, lazy and very inviting! "Osmium Glow" is a piece about transformation and refers specifically to Osmium crystals which are mined with platinum and transformed into gems that are harder and brighter than diamonds. This beautiful piece features Darlene on synth and keyboards as well as vocalese, Mike Miller (acoustic and electric guitars), Cathy Del Russo (oboe), Charlie Bisharat (violins) and M.B. Gordy (various percussion). The closing track, "Blissful Highway," is a soothing ambient piece that oozes sunshine and beautiful vistas - even if only in your mind! Darlene's voice and keyboards create a warm and inviting duet with Mike Miller on electric guitar. What a great way to let go of all of the stress and chaos swirling all around us - even if only for an hour! It's a wonderful and healing escape!

Traveling the Blissful Highway will be released on October 14, 2022, but is available for pre-release sales on Amazon and Apple/iTunes. You can pre-order CDs on Bandcamp for just $5 until 10/20/22! Very highly recommended!

Kathy Parsons
MainlyPiano.com

REVIEW PAGE

8/3/2022

Traveling the Blissful Highway by Darlene Koldenhoven

Review by Lissette Cascante for Auralscapes

Acclaimed soprano soloist and classically-trained pianist Darlene Koldenhoven boasts one of the most diverse portfolios a musician could ask for. Hailing from Chicago’s south side, and raised in a musical family, the GRAMMY® Winner and three-time GRAMMY® Nominee, with her radiant smile and her powerful 5-octave range voice, has traveled the world performing solo as well as with top industry names such as Yanni and many others in concerts and events, conducting workshops, teaching music, even appearing in blockbuster movies (both Sister Act films with Whoopi Goldberg.) Additionally, Darlene gives of her time and talents not just as an entertainer but as an advocate contributing her efforts to charities and worthy causes dear to her heart, such as her Music Matrix Foundation, to help make the world a better place.

 

Having already produced and recorded twelve albums on her label TimeArt® Recordings, one of which I had the pleasure of reviewing in 2021, an exquisite production for solo piano titled The Grand Piano Spa, Darlene returns with yet another masterful creation to add to our collection, this time in the New Age category with an all instrumental album of twelve tracks titled Traveling the Blissful Highway.

 

Darlene’s experience and exposure to varied cultures, countries and traditions have contributed positively to her broad and diverse vision of humanity and our world which comes through in her musical compositions, and especially shines on this album. She performs on keyboard synths, background vocals, singing bowls, Australian rainstick, Native drum and shaker. Four of the tracks are accented with Darlene’s vocalese which adds a subtle ambience to the pieces. She also surpasses herself in this project as producer, engineer, composer, and arranger. Collaborating on the album is an impressive ensemble of accomplished and award-winning musicians, detailed on the liner notes –  such as GRAMMY® Nominated multi-flautist Rob Korb and GRAMMY® Winning violinist Charlie Bisharat, among others – incorporating a fantastic variety of instrumentation throughout the album.

 

A lover of travel myself, I was excitedly drawn to the theme of the album. As a long, expansive highway stretches before our musical horizon, we can sit back, relax, and embark on a scenic “auralscape” allowing our imagination to take us to our desired escapade. An uplifting melody, “Cheerful Mohana” opens the album, inviting us to leave our cares behind and embrace a more spontaneous, bohemian side of life. The album offers a nice combination of lively and soft, meditative songs which keep the listener actively engaged in the process but also promotes a carefree and calm state of being. As we glide alongside the musical notes, sounds of birds and nature, native flutes and drums, and a vast array of exotic instruments add to the wonder of our sensory cruise.

 

“Jade Dreams” the third track for example, transported me to balmy beaches and tucked-away coves in remote places, Bali comes to mind; while “Tropical Chill” with its ocean wave sounds, flugelhorn and breezy rhythm presented for me a relaxing beach sunset view somewhere in the Caribbean enjoying a favorite tropical beverage. “Dot Calm” took me to the rainforests of Costa Rica, reminding me of my late father’s beautiful birth country. Along the way there are ancient stars to gaze at as in “Native Star” the tenth track with its haunting flute melody, and Irish green misty mornings to savor as in “Highland Mist.” My favorite track on the album, “Osmium Glow,” is as rare and precious a melody as the precious metal it’s named after. There is indeed a glowing quality and mystique to this lovely tune. “Blissful Highway,” another favorite with its transitory feel, ends the album, but the blissful sensation endures as we return from our musical excursion refreshed and renewed, ready for the next adventure. It’s only another listen away.

 

Traveling the Blissful Highway is an album you will want as your musical companion, to help make your life journey a more enjoyable and beautiful discovery.

 

Artiste: Darlene Koldenhoven

Album: ''Traveling the Blissful Highway'

"A sensational album by Instrumentalist, Spoken Vocalist & Songwriter Darlene Koldenhoven. Enjoy all 12 songs . . . a mixture of guest Vocals, Laid-Back Synths & Keyboards, Violin, Flute, Native Drums and Quartz Singing Bowls. So, lay back, un-wind and dream-way as you listen to all 12 tracks . . . 'Lady-Hawke' & I enjoyed the album immensely."

Recommended Tracks: Basically all 12!!!!! Hawke Rating: 10/10!!!"

–Terry James Hawke, Hawke CD Reviews, England

 

Darlene Koldenhoven
Traveling the Blissful Highway

 
After successes with her last two albums, The Grand Piano Spa and The Grand Piano Spa Legacy, GRAMMY® Winner and three time GRAMMY® Nominee Darlene Koldenhoven returns with an even brighter, more sophisticated and amazingly melodic album entitled Traveling the Blissful Highway. The wonderful journey is a dozen tracks of contemporary/New Age orchestral music that can accompany you to countless places, real and imagined.

There is no better way to greet the day than with Cheerful Mohana. The stunning raga has a lot of beautiful moving parts and elysian elements to start your day. With a joyful flute by Ron Korb and subtle tabla by Venugopala Raju, Darlene’s rapturous opening number is all the energies in the universe soaking into your being. Time to take that first step.

With heralding horns the Time Traveler walks through the gateway and finds herself in a very different realm. Darlene’s dappled notes are meandering, drifting, and expansive. They invite you to a time when the air was cool and clear, plants were tall and lush. And the land was an Eden for all. A give and take of the melody clears the path for exploration. This is a favorite.

Now that you’re here you can experience Jade Dreams. Korb’s Shakuhachi flute invites you into a Zen Garden with shady paths that disappear around corners. The dulcet ethereal chorus lets you know that there are quiet ponds, emerald lily pads, and pure white lotus blossoms aplenty. Violinist Charlie Bisharat transforms his instrument into an improvisational erhu and the mood is tranquil and transcendent.

Waves of sound wash over you from Darlene’s spatial synthesizer in the song Sweet Peace. Close your eyes, breathe deep, and drift along with this decompressing music.There is something to be said and heard about this lush, tonal poem. Sounds like warm drone, soft guitar, water drops, and sparkling piano all blend together to create a free falling vibe.

Another favorite of mine on Traveling the Blissful Highway is called Osmium Glow. One of the most rare elements on the planet, osmium is the unobtainable, the exceptional, and the extraordinary and this is a day to remember those gifts. In this music the radiance is achieved by the like of Cathy Del Russo on oboe, Mike Miller on acoustic guitar, Charlie Bisharat on violin and Darlene on keyboards and synth. M.B. Gordy provide the percussion and the tune has a John Tesh kind of feel that I liked.

No wandering is complete without a nod to the wayfarer’s delight, Bonnie Scotland and Darlene’s homage includes an airy tribute with the tune Highland Mist. Irish flute, whistle, and oboe take the high road while voice, keyboards, and tickling percussion take up the low road. Not to worry, they all meet a bit down the way. The tune is a guid folk’s dance just as the moon comes out and the fires blaze. It says, “Noo jist haud on”. That’s Scottish for take your time, my friend.

There are shimmering sounds, happy horns, and kinetic keyboards accompanying the traveler as she finally finds her well-worn path. And it may not be paved with stones, or dirt, or grass, but created with the power of the spirit. The last tune Blissful Highway completes the circle. Whispery voice, pronounced bass, and an electric guitar sets the tempo for her journey home.But you know you/she/he/they will be back again.

Darlene Koldenhoven, always noted for her incredible vocals, has taken up residence in her role as creative composer of instrumental music and out done herself on Traveling the Blissful Highway. You cannot help but be transported by this ironic recording; one that offers you a clear path to relaxation, but also one in which you are soon quite lost. Highly listenable.

- R J Lannan, Artisan Music Reviews
8/9/22

Absolutely uplifting musical magic Darlene Koldenhoven – TRAVELING THE BLISSFUL HIGHWAY:  Our longtime musical friend Darlene is among the most prolific creators we’ve ever had the pleasure of reviewing… her latest album of absolutely uplifting musical magic will provide you with hour upon hour of healing and inspiration.  First, be sure to watch and listen to the opening track, “Cheerful Mohana“….

…if you SUBSCRIBE to Darlene’s YouTube channel  you’ll find delightful LIVE recordings and much, much more to enjoy… I’ve been subscribed there ever since she started the channel.

As always, Darlene includes many “name” musicians… I’m familiar with many of them, though there are a few new ones, too… Charlie Bisharat – violin; M.B. Gordy – percussion; Ron Korb – bansuri, Irish, whistle and C flutes; Harry Kim – flugelhorn; Catherine Del Russo – oboe; Mike Miller – guitars; Venugopala Raju – tablas & Indian percussion; Gayle Levant – harp; Joanne Lazzaro – Native American styled flutes, C flute & bass flute; Lyn Bertles – viola and Courtney Jacob – C flute.  One of the most impressive songs I’ve heard (yet) in 2022 is “Jade Dreams“… the vocals woven into the fabric of the song will simply hold you captivated… a stunning beauty in this performance!

Images abound on the 3:23 “Birds in Paradise“… you will picture yourself wanting to waltz the night away… Gayle’s harp swirls in, out and through your consciousness… if ever a song could give healing power, this one can.

As I recuperate from chemotherapy throughout the last summer, I’ve found the perfect song for calming… “Sweet Peace” features Darlene doing solo synth and keyboard… absolute ambience, with purity and power… I just LOVE this beautiful performance, and you will too!

Darlene is a master at making music that has the power to heal and help love flourish… on her performance with Joanne Lazzaro on flute and bass flute, you’ll find the perfect music for guided meditation on “Dot Calm“… there was no question in my mind that it was my choice for personal favorite of the dozen delightful songs offered up.

I give Darlene and all her high-talent players a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) score of 4.99.  Get more information on Darlene’s page for the release.                        –Rotcod Zzaj, Contemporary Fusion Reviews 9/1/2022

#Absolutely #uplifting #musical #magic #Darlene #Koldenhoven

 

 

Traveling the Blissful Highway by Darlene Koldenhoven

Review by Steve Sheppard of One World Music Radio

If you’re looking to get away from this crazy world, you would do no better than to get a copy of Traveling the Blissful Highway by Darlene Koldenhoven and disappear off into a wonderful sanctuary of calm for at least 50 minutes; this has all the hall marks of a truly great album, and just what the planet needs right now.

I’ve been a fan of the artist work in this style since way back in 2014 and the release of Tranquil Times. Here Koldenhoven takes us by the hand and leads us on a blissful global journey; tracks like Cheerful Mohana start our journey, a piece released earlier as a single, here is a perfect starting composition one that also contains some masterful work from percussionist Venugopala Raju giving us all the light-hearted global vibe, and we’re off on our voyage of plenty.

Darlene Koldenhoven has also become quite adept at manifestation mood with use of her keyboards and synths as well; the following piece is a fine example of that colourful prowess and called, Time Traveler.

Upon this recording you will find 12 sumptuous compositions, all created with such skill, care and tenderness. Offerings like Birds in Paradise are utterly picturesque in their endeavour to take you off to heaven; this track would be one of my most treasured favourites, a light and positive piece, one that contains the skill sets of both Courtney Jacob with a crafted flute solo, and the ever brilliant Charlie Bisharat, whose violins I seem to be writing a lot about recently.

It is hard to choose one track over another as each and every one of them offers so much beauty charm and textured serenity. However we can drift on the harmonic energies of tracks like the ambient Sweet Peace, or float in total peace with Joanne Lazzaro’s spiritual flute on the track Native Star, the compositional quality and arrangement of this song alone is phenomenal.

Koldenhoven is a stylish multi-instrumental artist, and on Highland Mist that flowing Celtic flavour comes to the fore, as once more the artist treats us to another delicious track in her menu of a global sojourn, hats off to Ron Korb on this offering that gifts us a perfect Irish pipe and whistle, in what is the penultimate track off the album.

The release concludes with the perfect title piece entitled Blissful Highway, a floaty moment of tranquillity brought to us by the artist, and joined by guitarist Mike Miller, to bringing to an end this expedition of ecstasy.

Traveling the Blissful Highway by Darlene Koldenhoven is one of those rare albums that you could listen to a multiple of times over and enjoy the 10th as much as the 1st!  Here is an album that emphasises all the good in our world, the colours, textures and indeed bliss, it is a constant heavenly narrative throughout this amazing new album, one that I personally rate as the best instrumental release ever created by the musician, and as such, you would be crazy not to purchase a copy of Traveling the Blissful Highway by Darlene Koldenhoven, it is a veritable sanctuary of the soul.

–Steve Sheppard, One World Music Radio, 9/26/22