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  • Jonathan Widran

ANN LICATER, Beyond the Waves

Nine years after her breakthrough debut solo flute recording Following the Call made her an internationally acclaimed artist, award winning world musician, composer and producer Ann Licater continues to transcend the boundaries of contemporary instrumental music while creating intimate, soul to soul experiences.

On Beyond The Waves, her fourth full length release on Cul de Sac Mystic Productions, takes listeners on a spirited, soothing journey of soulful traveling meditations designed as open doors to deeper personal spiritual experiences. From the opening gentle strains of “Rhythm of the Stars” through the lush and haunting meditational flow of “Ocean Lullaby,” the 12-track collectdion is artfully designed to enhance the listener’s well being, promoting relaxation, rejuvenation and inner reflection.

While her first three recordings (including Doorway To A Dream and Invitation From Within) featured no or minimal outside instrumentation, Licater’s latest work is a fresh, conceptually expansive, dynamically arranged ensemble work featuring touches of jazz, new age and world music. She builds emotional breadth beyond the core ancient sounds of her trademark Native American flutes and modern silver and alto flutes on selected tracks with piano, guitar, world percussion, bass, synth, violin and vocal layers.

Guest artists include violinist Scarlet Rivera (Bob Dylan, Indigo Girls); Grammy nominated bassist Peter Phippen, who also performs Shakuhachi flute in a duet with Licater’s Native American Flute on “Echoes in the Mist;, Grammy winning arranger and multi-instrumentalist Dan Ferguson (Cher, Joan Baez, Mare Winningham); vocalist Arielle Peri (featured on TV’s Nashville and at 2016 SXSW); Grammy nominated vocalist Arnae Batson (Arrested Development, India.Arie, Chaka Khan); and world percussionist David DiLullo, who runs the largest recurring drum circle in the San Francisco Bay Area. Beyond The Waves was produced by Licater, Ferguson, Phippen and Ivar Lunde, Jr. Lunde, former principal oboist of the Norwegian National Opera, also engineered and contributed synth programming.

Licater’s recordings are staples on Sirius XM, Soundscapes, Music Choice, Pandora, Spotify and Apple music, and her work has been recognized by Amazon music editors (Top Ten Best New Age Album) and ZMR Music Awards (Best Relaxation Album). Her music is featured in-flight entertainment on Cathay Pacific Airlines and Virgin Airlines in the “Well-Being” and “Relaxation” categories. Her international performances (including Carnegia Hall and the Awakened World Conference in Rome and Florence, Italy) and popular “Flute For The Soul” workshops have made her an influential figure in new age and healing music.

Beyond The Waves takes her beyond this realm with tracks that have powerful mainstream crossover potential. The title song “Beyond The Waves” has a Van Morrison mystic soul vibe, while “Halcyon Morning” taps into new age/pop and “Sailing on Moonlight” floats on the edge of Keith Jarrett influenced jazz with the beautiful trio interaction of Ferguson’s lush piano, Phippen’s acoustic bass and Licater’s lead alto flute. In addition, her guest artists come from a multitude of genres, including classical, blues, country, pop, folk and EDM (DJ Bander, who contributes synth programming to “Rhythm of the Stars”).

Beyond the rich arrangements, Licater also goes deeper than ever emotionally, creating a powerful flute and violin dynamic with Rivera on “Dancing in Time” and allowing her bamboo flute to say “hello” and “goodbye” in the same breaths. Licater calls Beyond the Waves a “traveling meditation” because the music takes the listener to multiple places in the imagination – from the cosmos (“Rhythm of the Stars”) to the depths of the sea (“Ocean Lullaby”).

Lee Starkey, Music Buyer for East West Magazine says, “Ann Licater seems to draw from the sound field of Mother Earth vital sonic refreshments for our ancestral ear.” On Beyond the Waves, she uses her flutes as guides for a unique trip through time, space, water and the stars – an emotionally resonant experience that demands multiple listens from beginning to end (in an era where most prefer to build their own playlists). The album removes listeners from their world and jettisons them onto the slipstreams of her signature sound, which has long carried people to unknown places in the soul and safely brought them back refreshed and rejuvenated from their experience of deeper place within.

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