So, there are only a few day to go before two of the finest voices in prog, Christina Booth and David Longdon, share Magenta’s stage at the Borderline in London and the Robin 2 in Bilston to give us Spectral Mornings, the 2015 charity version.
However, Christina has already provided us with plenty of wow moments on top of those in Magenta’s gorgeous 2013 album, The Twenty Seven Club, and that incredible performance at last year’s Trinity festival with Magenta during which she sang Don’t Give Up with Alan Reed. Many grown men and women present were in pieces afterwards including dear Alan whose bottom lip did not stop wobbling during the song. It was simply one of those “you had to be there” moments.
It was no secret then as it is now about what Christina was going through, having lost both her parents in quick succession and then bravely announcing to the world that she was being treated for breast cancer. Well, if prayers and absent healing were all made available through all nations’ health services, the amount of love and good wishes she received during her diagnosis and treatment would potentially make modern day medicines obsolete!
Fortunately, Christina has now been given the all-clear and The Light is a legacy of these darker days she spent coping with both her family losses and her illness. As well as her immediate family especially her sister Francesca Murphy, who also sings, Christina has had the closeness of the Magenta family notably band founder Rob Reed, prog’s Everyman (not the one currently touring North America) and guitarist Chris Fry.
The Light is an album about love, loss, looking back, remembering, reconciliation, searching for knowledge, reassurance and finally finding that light of hope among all the darkness.
What is so special about this album is it is all about that voice, that crystalline pure soprano with that oh so slight vibrato that evokes so much raw emotion and that can seamlessly move into soulful or jazzy.
Rob Reed has produced The Light with real tender loving care and in such a way that none of the accompanying musical arrangements ever dominate or drown out her shimmering vocals.
The guest players are a who’s who of prog, the roll call comprising Andy Tillison, Theo Travis, John Mitchell, along with Magenta’s Fry, Dan Nelson and Andy Edwards with sister Francesca on backing vocals.
I defy anyone not to be moved by the tone of Christina’s faltering voice on Disappeared or uplifted by the gorgeous Celtic vibe on the title track.
There is plenty of light in this many-faceted world of prog, but Christina still shines the brightest and most glorious of them all.
Here is the video of the title track on The Light if ever further proof was needed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvudNV5hbeg