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