“Oceano makes "Top Picks of November 2007" on CBC Radio.”
Mark Rheaume, CBC Radio
“This CD is a soulful and intelligently delightful swim in an
exquisite vocal experience. I feel well and all smiley faced about the musicianship and sometimes poignant and therapeutic lyrics."
James Cervantes, KWVA-Eugene, OR
"Oceano is a warm breeze blowing up from Brazil - relaxed, effortless, and hip.
The songs recall the best of the 60's bossa nova movement.
Bryant imbues the songs with a modern touch in the production.” (3˝ stars)
Les French, WMEB-Orono, ME
“Her calm and warm voice makes listening to her CD a nice Bossa experience. The interesting Indian touch of track 3 “Born Innocent” immediately proves how great Shannon’s musical range and skills are. Of course with track 5, the real Bossa comes out and one can enjoy the joyful sound even more. Just get this CD. You will love it more and more every time.”
Joost Van Steen, Jazz & Blues Tour Radio - The Netherlands
Embracing the essence of the bossa nova, Shannon Bryant’s melodies and lyrics sway like warm breezes and gentle, tropical waves”.
Sandra Klein, Marin Independent Journal
October 9, 2009
By Brian Ball, Music Editor
Imagine yourself standing at the edge of the world—amidst crashing waves and cooing gulls, feeling enchanted and free. Now imagine if you could just switch this scenario on at any given time. That is exactly what happened when we pressed play on Shannon Bryant’s 2007 release, Oceano. In this intimate fusion of jazz, pop and adult contemporary styles, Ms. Bryant takes the listener to the shores of the human soul for a spiritual awakening unlike any other.
One of our favorite songs on Oceano is the poetic and enlightening song, “Born Innocent”, which fills the room with an Eastern vibe similar to Ravi Shankar (think George Harrison of the Beatles in the 60’s) and offers an underlying and unspoken infinite knowledge found through meditation or sensory deprivation.
Another notable song is “Little Samba”, in which Shannon creatively demonstrates her background in Brazilin and Latin jazz. The notes seem to jump right off of the disc and begin to dance around the listener in a charming and playful manner. Shannon’s good-humored vocals speak of the way music is able to magically take hold of her while sitting in front of a piano and playing her “little samba”.
In “More of Who You Are”, Shannon brings a dark and mysterious vibe to the album with tight percussion and descending lyrics. “Go down into the well / drown with me / dissolve all your defenses / unlock the fences for me” she sings, as the listener has no choice but to surrender to this epic sound.
Closing out Oceano, Shannon brings an enchanting and foreboding element to her music with “Fragile Leaf Lullaby”. Cradling the listener like a newborn babe and offering intimate lines like, “I’ll rock you oh so softly / I’ll stroke you oh so gently / I’ll treat you like a fragile leaf”, this extraordinary indie artist tells a story of all the beauty that is to come—both in the world at large and in her own musical journey.
“On her 2007 release, Oceano, Shannon Bryant offers a tender tale of incredible voyages that course from familiar waters of the heart to distant shores of the mind.”
London Free Press
Bryant back home
Thu, October 2, 2008
The California girl returns to her London roots to play Aeolian Hall tomorrow
By JAMES REANEY
The only samba-singing Brescia philosophy grad who has shared the stage with Carlos Santana has her own personal homecoming tomorrow.
Shannon Bryant plays London for the first time in about eight years at Aeolian Hall tomorrow at 8 p.m. "It's a little bit of a homecoming. I have a lot of friends and family coming out," says Bryant, a Lord Dorchester secondary school grad.
The singer and songwriter moved to San Francisco in 2000. Since then, she has often returned to visit her parents, who live in Dorchester, and other family members who live in London. Bryant admits to asking herself why it took so long to play a concert during a visit.
The answer, she has decided, is that her full-length album Oceano is out this time around. "Everything is in place at the right time," she says.
The self-produced Oceano's songs are all originals. They blend Brazilian, Eastern, pop and jazz rhythms with Bryant's vocals.
Her words on Oceano often reflect the spiritual and inner concerns that look back to her days studying philosophy at Brescia University College.
"It is serving me. I didn't know what I was going to do with it at the time," she says of her degree. "I don't like to say 'messages.' It sounds preachy," she says of the meaning and spiritual reflections to be found in her words. "It really just comes from my own experience . . . I'm getting the message and I'm just singing about it."
Bryant began writing songs before the voyage to Oceano. One of them, Little Samba, was co-written with a London songwriter. "I wrote it with Steve Hardy in London here -- it's always been a favourite of people," she says of Little Samba. "It was one that's always fun. I'll do it for sure."
Hardy and Bryant shared melodies and lyrics while creating their samba, she says. "He was always so good at the chords, the music element."
Other songs from Oceano are sure to join Little Samba at Aeolian Hall when Bryant and her group take the stage. Travelling from the Bay area is bassist Mark Armenta.
Joining the two San Franciscans are London-tied pianist Steve Holowitz, trumpet player Paul Stevenson and drummer Richard Brisco. Earlier in their careers, Stevenson recorded with Bryant on For All I Know, a performance that is on Oceano.
Bryant's music combines elements of jazz, world and pop. She chooses the term "adult contemporary" to describe it. "It's not the kind of pop where it's a lot of guitar-based rocking pop."
By any name, her music has its roots in the Forest City. Bryant has family ties to Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadians. Lombardo guitarist Francis (Muff) Henry was her grandmother's cousin.
Her first band was an 11-piece R&B group, the Midnight Soul Revue, an act modelled on the band and music in the film The Commitments.
She also sang with Margaritaville -- Spirit of the Keys, a seven-member London band which paid tribute to Jimmy Buffett and the music of the islands.
In the same era, Bryant's love of Brazilian and Latin music was strong enough to win her a Sunfest-tied gig in her London days. Her love for those melodies and rhythms continues now that she's in California.
Bryant's California adventures include a close encounter with legendary guitarist Santana, who brought Latin rhythms to rock four decades ago.
In March, 2004 Shannon headed to the San Francisco chapter of the Recording Academy with her demo and became a member. The same day, she was selected to perform with Santana in a tribute to the Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart.
"I piped up and said, 'I can sing,' " she says. "I'm singing lead for the Mickey Hart song which was Fire on the Mountain -- I had to memorize these words," she says.
There was talk Sammy Hagar would be the guitarist. "It turned out be Carlos Santana and it was amazing," Bryant says.
IF YOU GO
What: Concert by former Londoner Shannon Bryant, an "adult contemporary" singer and songwriter.
When: Tomorrow, 8 p.m.
Where: Aeolian Hall, 795 Dundas St. (at Rectory)
Tickets: $22 in advance, $25 at the door. Visit aeolianhall.ca or call 519-672-7950
Les French, WMEB-Orono, ME
"Oceano is a warm breeze blowing up from Brazil - relaxed, effortless, and hip. The songs recall the best of the 60's bossa nova movement. Bryant imbues the songs with a modern touch in the production. This is an album that will appeal to fans of Latin jazz and Brazilian music. RIYL: Bebel Gilberto (3˝ stars)"
Marin Independent Journal
IJ Weekend: Shannon Bryant Band offers sounds of love
Article Launched: 02/06/2007 07:32:55 PM PST
Embracing the essence of the bossa nova, Shannon Bryant's melodies and lyrics sway like warm breezes and gentle, tropical waves.
The perfect Valentine's Day warm-up session, "It's About Love" will take the audience on a musical journey of self-discovery and love Friday night at the Larkspur Cafe Theatre. Through contemporary pop and world music and jazz, along with dance and poetry by 13th century Sufi poet Rumi and passages from "Tao Te Ching" author Lao Tzu, the show explores the universal themes of the human conditions of love, fear, isolation, connection and celebration.
"The dancers tell a story of a love relationship and take the songs to a deeper level," says Bryant, singer and creator of the Shannon Bryant Band. "
The show starts off dreamily and mystically with the opening pieces, 'It's Love' and 'Born Innocent' and then shifts to contemporary pop and gospel and to reggae, bossa nova and samba."
Mark Armenta, who plays bass in the band, believes Bryant's inspiration might be connected to the birth of her baby last year.
"To me, this is partly an expression of what's going on for a new mother," Armenta says. "The message is how she is viewing the good side of life. We dwell on the negatives so often. Shannon is pointing out the things we may take for granted."
Bryant says she didn't make the connection between motherhood and the theme of "It's About Love."
"That's probably right É becoming a mom has been very inspirational," she says. "The song 'Born Innocent' is about the way we come into this world, and then the story drifts into the responsibilities and pressures we fall into when doing things like choosing a college and becoming an adult. And then it comes full circle in the end. Having the baby influenced my vision and helped with the clarity of the story."
Choreographer Beatriz Restrepo, originally from Colombia, has devised new moves to accompany the songs since joining forces with Bryant three months ago. Previously, only a few songs in the performance - seen previously in Marin at Servino's in Tiburon - were interpreted simultaneously by the dancers; now just about all of them are. "The choreography and dance adds strength to the songs and puts picante in the show," Restrepo says.
When composing music, Bryant moves among styles ranging from contemporary pop through the bossa nova. She says she will get an idea or an inspiration for a song and apply it to the genre she thinks is most appropriate. The late Antonio Carlos Jobim influenced Bryant's "feel" for music; he wrote "The Girl From Ipanema" and is credited as the creator of the bossa nova, which has its origins in American jazz and the Brazilian samba.
Stevie Wonder has been another inspirational source for Bryant. "He has performed a wide variety of soul, love and spiritual tunes, yet he is highly individual," Bryant says. "I like to think I am that type of composer and singer. His songs of social awareness, such as 'Higher Ground,' stir my passion for expressing such issues as social pressures in our society."
While in high school in London, Ontario, Canada, Bryant entered a speech contest sponsored by the United Nations and won the local contest. "I traveled to New York and gave my speech, titled 'Why the U.N. is Important' to the U.N." Soon after, Bryant entered show business.
One of her first gigs was with a Canadian band, the Midnight Soul Review, in which she sang backup. Then she formed her own jazz group, the Shannon Bryant Quartet, and relocated to San Francisco in 2000. "There was more energy here," she says.
In 2001, she put together the Shannon Bryant Band. Since then, her successes include representing Canada at the 2003 International Music Festival at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Gardens, performing with the London Symphony Orchestra and showcasing her music at the SunFest World Music Festival in Canada, and headlining the Sarnia Jazz and Blues Festival.
Also, in 2003, Bryant took time off from her career to work as a vocal coach with the Global Alliance on the Lwak Music Project. The Lwak, named after a Kenyan village, is a spiritual collaboration of Kenyan and American gospel artists. Once the project is complete, proceeds from DVD sales will be donated to help children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa.
In 2004, in a concert sponsored by the Recording Academy Governor's Awards Celebration in San Francisco, Bryant performed on stage with Carlos Santana. She sang lead vocals in a calypso, funk-style version of "Fire on the Mountain," which was a tribute to Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead. "Carlos smiled at me, not even knowing who I was, and I thought, 'Here I am on the stage with Carlos Santana!'" Bryant recalls.
"It's About Love" premiered at Club Jazz Nouveau in San Francisco in 2004 and another performance followed in 2005 at the Crocker Galleria. The latest version of "It's About Love" includes new songs and Restrepo's fresh choreography. This will be the first performance for the reworked show.
"Marin is a great place to debut something like this just because of the open-mindedness you get here," says Armenta, who with backup singer Sandy Griffith of Novato provide a Marin touch to the performance. "Musically, you have bluegrass, jazz, blues É and a great art scene. Musicians seem to be thriving here. I love it because of the freedom I have when I play. It's almost 100 percent improv for me."
Restrepo says her spiritual connection to Bryant, a San Francisco resident, was immediate. Restrepo saw a tape of previous performances and was asked to help give more life to the song lyrics. "I feel a really nice connection with Shannon," Restrepo says. "Her songs really talk to me. They taught me realities of my daily life, and now I can share that with audiences. The dancers do a great job with their interpretations. It's a very powerful performance."
"The passion that drove me to create this show," Bryant says, "was with the hope of reminding people of the force of love that connects each of us to our world. É I see my future as continuing to write and perform songs that strengthen the spirit and take people back to the ocean and warm summer breezes so they'll feel safe and loved."
IF YOU GO
What: "It's About Love," a performance of music, dance and poetry
Who: The Shannon Bryant Band
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Larkspur Cafe Theater, 500 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur
Information: 924-6107 or http://www.larkspurcafetheatre.com/
For booking information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-573-5511.
Visit http://www.shannonbryant.net for additional information