Updated: Jul 25
Review by Chris Watson
Sara Vian is a musician on a mission(!) having cultivated a real faith in life and how the world can be changed for the better; she also has a love of the sea, which many of us can relate to – such an inspiration of constant movement and moods with wide open vistas of opportunity.
Sara began her career with the release of her Debut EP on Record Store Day 2015. It’s a real gem which earned the title of “fastest-selling local indie artist” at her local record store and kicks off with an upbeat rendition of “People Get Ready” Curtis Mayfield). This then follows with three self-penned songs: “Trouble”, an unsettling but catchy song with exquisite harmonies; “Faith Zone”, a truly inspiring simple analogy of a ship leaving port for the high seas and the wide open spaces with the freedom, beauty and open possibilities of personal happiness! And then closing with “Damaged”, a beautifully accomplished song which I would rank amongst the songs of the legends, given a really special feeling with the addition of ethereal and uplifting strings.
Sara’s songs speak to me and whatever her own motivation and feelings were for writing them, the lyrics can translate timelessly to all of our own life stories. They are complex stories of love, relationships and finding a new path, reflecting on the problems many of us have faced.
Good music brings joy and excitement but it can also inspire and support. This is where Sara has added the extra; her songs are a source of comfort and her strong, smooth and evocative voice with jazz undertones has star quality. Her chord changes, voice, harmonies, added strings and occasional subtle echo combine to trigger and increase your seratonin levels, sending shivers down the spine – expertly produced by Will Angeloro!
The songs on her debut album, “Wild , Free, and Beautiful”, which was released on Record Store Day 2016, seem to link together and tell a story which many of us could identify with. Beginning with the passion of new love in “Beautiful soul” to growing love in “Bless my world” and then followed by the catchy, edgy and interleaved vocal effects of “Cat and Mouse”, a song indicating that we need to find our way to interdependence with a strong connection to our own soul first.
“Good Habits” goes on to evoke void, emptiness yet self-belief and then “Love Be With Us” tells of the special support from a friend in hard times. “Thank you” introduces simple piano and speaks of the gratitude we have for the continued support of that friend who sticks by us through the doubt, anguish and rebirth of creativity to expunge the pain, which is then followed by “Trickster”, another edgy song addressing vulnerability and trust.
“Trust the Sea” seems to evoke forgiveness and making up within close relationships, introducing slide guitar to enhance the sentiment; and then finally, the title track “Wild, Free and Beautiful” echoes regret of what has gone but also the necessary freedom of the individual soul.
I think we all hope that special other soul is out there for us and once found, we have to learn to give them freedom as well as love to become whole again together. Interdependence is the key to the best relationships and I think Sara can lead us to that through her songs.
Sara has also developed her songs further by expanding to accompaniment with electric guitar, bass and drums on the live set, “Midwinter Magic”(2017) which translates well into a bigger and more powerful sound; and this is an area begging to be developed, as illustrated by her grand album launch party with full band in September 2016, broadcast live with studio audience from the Assembly Rooms in Frome by Frome FM.
Find out more at: http://www.saravianmusic.com
Bio: Sara Vian (Vee-Ann) is an half-English/half-Iraqi singer/songwriter, born in South Wales and now living in the People’s Republic of Frome, Somerset*. Described as “vintage blues-folk”, she has been compared with Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, PJ Harvey & Nico, to name a few.
*People’s Republic of Frome: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/22/flatpack-democracy-peoples-republic-of-frome
Sara also hosts the West Country Music Network, an informal networking space held monthly for musicians and all disciplines/venues associated with the music business.