These words were among the first prose written for Anael, and seven years later, still capture the essential core of her artistic vision, one which closely mirrors her beliefs in the life she leads. At the outset, it was a unique challenge: to try and capture Anael's philosophy lyrically and marry it to my music (and some of hers), all while honoring a very different mindset. It wasn't long before this loving influence flowed into a fresh outlook in my own approach to this journey.
We both crave the truth, and it is highly sought after in our work. Each song is a celebration of life, a challenge to pursue or a thoughtful, heartfelt commentary. Through them, we strive to raise the collective consciousness and enhance this earthly experience; in the process, our own personal evolutions are stimulated. I continue to be fascinated by the power that music possesses, regardless of the language sung. Even when a listener's brain doesn't necessarily understand the content, their heart somehow translates the vibration. Forget genres and labels: this is vocal music for the human spirit.
At a glance, some might assume that ours is a religious approach, citing passages we've used from the Roman Catholic liturgy, or Hebrew texts from the Song of Solomon. A few songs even mention God himself. Fact is, we believe in the existence of a divine Source and in our spiritual quests to unite with this Source. There are countless ways to achieve this, and every individual has their course. By using texts from other languages or religions, we are at once paying homage to these age-old traditions and also promoting the dissolution of any form of barrier, be it linguistic, geographical or religious. Interestingly enough, the Hebrew words ANA (to sing or chant) and EL (God) together mean "Song of God," something we didn't discover until well into her 2nd recording!
Which brings us full circle. Welcome to Anael's greatest gifts. Why gifts? There are a few splendid reasons. Everything Anael has ever recorded has been a gift. From the inspiration that led to a song’s conception, to the long hours of refinement that shaped its reality, and finally to the excruciating process of putting it into the hands of listeners, each step; an outright gift. In those minutes and hours I'm graced with a new song, it is an experience of unspeakable wonder, a brief moment of divinity. No other reality has ever come close, nor likely ever will.
The songs we've chosen here are a few highlights from her first four albums: Light of Refinement ('97), Unconditional ('98) Language of the Soul ('00) and Spiritual Beings on a Human Journey ('03) We've sequenced them as carefully as possible here to create a new cohesive flow. For many, this collection may well be an an introduction to our work, thus we've given equal billing to each album, but as with any compilation, it is but a glimpse into our world. So let me also invite you to discover Anael's 4 previous recordings, each a precious timecapsule of the human/spiritual experience.
In the tradition of sharing something new, there are two heretofore unreleased tracks, and at almost 13:00 combined, they lend a considerable presence to the whole. Peace is Nigh and Homeward Bound were both recorded initially as part of the Unconditional sessions in 1998, yet each had not completed its musical odyssey. After five years of maturing, their time is ripe, and I hope you'll agree they've each earned their place on this special release. Ultimately, the relative success of any artistic endeavor is in its innate ability to clarify our paths, provoke thought and in turn stimulate more creative energy. If these words and music help take you to any of these places, we feel honored to have played a small role. For what is more glorious than to be able to do what you love, and then find a way to touch others positively with it. This might well be the greatest gift of all.
- Bradfield, July 2003