Back to the Roots
When I saw the cover art of Zera Vaughan’s Back to the Roots, I was struck by the image of a dramatic-looking female ice dancer. Her body was painted shades of brown with ridges and lines of what looked like tree bark. I knew I was in for something expressive and heavy.
The first track, “Almaz,” is rich and bewitching. It leads off with a lovely moan. Vaughan’s voice is haunting and reminiscent of early Sarah McLachlan. As the tracks progresses, the swells of the new age and world influences wash over me. Traces of Indian, Eastern European and French music can be heard in the instrumentation. Some songs are sung in English, but most are in French.
On a few tracks, Vaughan pulls the listener along through a verse in one language and then the chorus in the other. “Sweet Home” is a pumping French song that makes you move and could easily become the album’s first single “The Crying Moon” winds into “The Moon Track,” closing the album and leaving the listener lost in an echoing trance. This collection of songs is a fusion of cultures that grow, curve and bend like a tall tree.