Late Harvest is Serah’s seventh release, and is a refreshing change from the music I’ve been listening to lately. Serah is rather innovative; combining pop and new-age, with a strong touch of folk, she has developed a sound that is infinitely pleasing. Her vocals are like a soft caress, although in places there is a minor stumble.
The first song on the CD, “I Think I Know” reminded me instantly of Paul Simon. It has that instrumental vocal blend “hook” that grabs your attention. The vocals and backing vocals are a blend of pure comfortable harmony, the music takes a backseat, while still providing a current of sound for the vocals to travel. Richard Bona provides the backing vocals, and he and Serah are a wonderful combination. This is one of the most potent tracks on the disc as far as I am concerned. I can’t get enough of it.
There are nine original compositions on this release; the remainder are strong covers. “Stand By Me” is an old favourite, and I’m glad to say that nothing was lost in this version. Serah emotes wonderfully, and there is just a perfect hint of vulnerability and desire in her voice. Of course, it doesn’t hold a candle to the original by Ben E. King, but that isn’t a reflection on Serah.
Perhaps my favourite track on this CD is a gentle one entitled “Dolce.” Dolce means sweet or gentle, in Italian, and is a musical term usually meaning to play softly. It is an evocative tale of romance and possibilities, and the instrumentation creates the setting of a dreamy Mediterranean oasis. Serah’s vocals provide the conveyance, the lyrics stunning imagery. This is a stunning track, and one that I listened to again and again.
The following is a quote directly from Serah’s website that deals with “Dolce.” - “Late Harvest and its central song, the enchanting ‘Dolce (Late Harvest Wine),’ are based on centuries-old European folklore. As Serah explains, ‘A vineyard owner returned from defending his ideals very late in the summer, after the normal harvesting time, to discover that all of the people who helped him harvest in previous years had waited for him out of deference. The grapes hadn't spoiled yet, but were tremendously sweet. The wine that was made from them was called late harvest wine, and because it was so sweet, it was a dessert wine.’ Sometimes the late harvest, or one of the later seasons in one’s life, turns out to be the sweetest and most meaningful.”
Serah is an incredible talent who has lived in many places and opened herself to the experiences of different lifestyles and cultures, combining the best of each within her music. It is haunting, pleasing, and the world would be a much sadder place without it and without this modern day pioneer of music. Her social consciousness works with the music to create beauty and capture the goodness around her. This is a disc that will work for many occasions and settings, let it lift you away to exotic places and good moods.