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Deborah "DJ" Hamouris: Press

Recording Reviews

For Moonrise: Songs of Love, Magic & Other Mysteries

If I were to imagine the sound of faeries singing in a flower-strewn meadow on a May Day or a moonlit night, the album MOONRISE would be about as close as you can get. This delightful collection of three women's voices singing the praises of the Goddess, the mysteries of magic, and the wonders of witches, blends delicate harmonies like the triple Goddess Herself. From the catchy rhythms of "Who is the Goddess/Who is the Goddess/We are" to the lyric style of "Through All the World Below" to the dark, jazzy "Crone Song" the voice of the Goddess sings out in infinite diversity. With songs to Brigid, to Demeter, to the moon, and to the romance of a springtime fling with the Horned One, MOONRISE flows like water in a brook. Learn these songs for rituals, or just enjoy the delicate feminine caress. You will enjoy this album again and again.

Anodea Judith
Author WHEELS OF LIFE, CHAKRA BALANCING, THE ILLUMINATED CHAKRAS
Anodea Judith (Feb 21, 2005)
For Moonrise: Songs of Love, Magic & Other Mysteries

Participants in the 2003 Spiral Dance in San Francisco heard the premier of a new/old Goddess-invocation song - DJ Hamouris' "Who is the Goddess," which weaves elements of the traditional "No End to the Circle" into a complex and dynamic arrangement that filled the center of the room with dancing bodies. The song opens the first CD by Bay Area trio Moonrise - Robin Dolan, DJ Hamouris, and Denise Castleton - and serves as a metaphor for the album: a blending of the traditional and the unexpected. The unexpected takes many forms, as if the three singers are exploring where their collaborative efforts might take them. Some paths lead to the future, some will be one-time experiments. At first glance, this CD resembles Reclaiming's teaching tapes - sparse, well-performed arrangements of classics like "Through All the Worlds Below," "Demeter's Song (I Am the Wealthy One)." and "Barge of Heaven." These familiar numbers will guarantee Moonrise an audience - which is a blessing, because listeners are in for more than a few surprises. DJ's vocal on "Crone Song" points toward a possible career as the world's first Pagan Dinner-Jazz Stylist. Accompanied by jazz guitarist Brook Schoenfield, her voice glides and caresses Anodea Judith's one-of-a-kind lyrics. "The Ash Grove," a delicate a cappella duet by Robin and DJ, is a work-stopper - when the song comes on, my fingers refuse to type for at least one verse, not wanting any extraneous sound interfering with the purity of the voices. Sound like a good CD? Hold on, I've saved the best for last. Rumor has it that Denise wrote "Wartime Lullaby" in the final week before recording. That would be ironic, considering that the song sounds like it's been with us for generations. Deceptively simple words, carried by Denise's haunting voice, bring tears to my eyes. The CD concludes with a rendition of Catherine Madsen's "My Heretic Heart," an apt song for this trio and one that listeners may find themselves singing in the shower. This is a generally warm and simple recording that you'll want to play over and over.

Reclaiming Quarterly, No. 92, Winter 2004
Reclaiming Quarterly #92 (Nov 24, 2004)