“A Seeker’s Slumber” by Cheryl B. Engelhardt
“Cheryl B. Engelhardt seems to be redefining the ‘New Age’ music space altogether, or perhaps bringing back the New Age back to itself. I can’t say enough good things about, ‘A Seeker’s Slumber.’ I don’t have that many adjectives. Do yourself a favor and just get it. It’s a true gem.” – Dyan Garris
I had the pleasure of reviewing a few singles from “A Seeker’s Slumber,” so I was excited and honored to be asked to review this whole album. Cheryl B. Engelhardt is an innovative force in the New Age music space. Her creativity and talent are off the charts. “A Seeker’s Slumber,” her new album, is designed to “help the listener process the day and ultimately fall into a deep sleep.” It succeeds on every level and then some.
As we emerge from the pandemic of 2020, and begin to reclaim our lives, coming back to “groundedness,” our personal and collective center, a state of balance, and peace, can be a real challenge. This is where this beautiful concept album can help. Among other things, Cheryl purposefully chose specific tempos for these 10 tracks that would literally calm the physical heart rate. The concept of “A Seeker’s Slumber” is a journey through a day where we awaken, reflect, contemplate, resolve whatever conflicts arise, release them, rest, and surrender to ultimate relaxation, and fully return to a state of peace in mind, body, and spirit.
Featured on the album is 2020 Grammy® winner Joannie Leeds, as well as 37 members of Cheryl’s musical mastermind group, AMPLIFY, plus an appearance by in-house Saturday Night Live drummer, Shawn Pelton. The album is an intricate artistic tapestry, combining lush intsrumentals with contemplative lyrics and vocal pieces. Each song feels deeply crafted with love and infused with vibrant life-force in every note and nuance. If this doesn’t rejuvenate you, I’m not sure what will.
So, let’s seek. The album opens with the ethereal, “Ithaca.” This seems to represent that dreamy space we find ourselves in in between sleep and awakening. And I would say it’s also the perfect representation of exactly where we find ourselves as a global collective, emerging out of the odd, somnolent slumber that was the year 2020. So gorgeous, so beautiful, with it’s “ooh-aah” vocal harmonies, this is the perfect opening to this album.
Following is the absolutely amazing, “Awaecnian.” The song charted in the top 3 on the New Age Notes radio chart (NANMC). The title is the Old English meaning for the word, “awakening.” The song is akin to “awakening to a whole new world,” or, in a bigger picture way, collective humanity awakening to a whole new reality. It’s uplifting, hopeful, timely, forward moving, and just utterly gorgeous.
“The sun shines through the clouds again. . .arise. . .arise.”
The way this song was composed is a story in itself. Cheryl provided 37 members of her independent musician group, AMPLIFY, a basic music bed and invited them to improvise anything they wanted atop that. Then she built the song around their improvisations. I think that’s artistically brilliant.
The vocal harmonies here are extraordinarily beautiful and intricate, and the orchestration and percussion are scintillating. The production is stellar. The joyful song sparkles with an uplifting magic that is undeniable. Time to awaken.
“Circlet of Pisces” is a gently flowing, light, Sanskrit “chant.” Again, heavenly, ethereal, vocal harmonies invite us to just relax and release whatever is ailing us.
The incredibly beautiful vocal piece, “Unwind,” invites us to come back to ourselves. The lyrics are deep and reflective:
“I am not lost just because you can’t find me. . .
My heart will always find me, so you cannot unwind me. . .”
Gorgeous this is, and it profoundly touches the spirit.
“Emerald Dreams” is utterly relaxing with its lush vocal harmonies. And along with these, twinkling piano gives this a gentle and magical feel, rather like a soothing adult lullaby.
Released as one of the singles from “A Seeker’s Slumber,” just prior to Mother’s Day this year, “Mother Gaia” is a tribute to all mothers everywhere, including Mother Earth. The piece features 2020 Grammy® winner/s Joanie Leeds and Chava Mirelon (Best Children’s Album) on vocals. Cheryl played here on synths. The drum programming by J. Chris Griffin rounds out the mix of multi-layered, lush harmonies and adds, as well, to the already rich and luxurious feel. Here, we also have deep and wonderful lyrics:
“Ripple Ripple, through her blood
Breath behind the desert flood.
Rage of lightening, [sic] delicate nest,
In her shadows, we are blessed.”
One of the most soul-soothing songs you’ll ever hear, “Mother Gaia” is beautifully constructed. This has a smooth as silk “in and out” flow all through. It’s like a flowing river of peace.
“Anyway You Choose” is a deeply touching vocal piece and features again that softly scintillating piano along with other instrumentation. Here we are invited to just get on with things and move forward:
“Drowning in doubt, yet soaking in hope. . .Anyway [sic] you choose is moving on. . .”
Choose a direction and let’s go. Who’s in?
Cool synth effects mix with sensitively played piano in the piece, “Pentacle Path.” Anywhere our journey leads us, there are always signs and symbols of deeper remembrance. This is interesting and intriguing.
“Temperance” feels like a continuation of the previous track. For those that perhaps do not know, in the Tarot deck, the card of Temperance relates to patience, but also signifies a divinely guided, protected path ahead. I bring this up about the Tarot only because pentacles are also featured in the Tarot deck and for the most part symbolize money. So, this is yet another spiritually deep and interesting song. Angels are watching over us, the Divine is leading the way, so let’s get our lives back now, spiritually and materially. Gotta love that.
This completely captivating album closes out perfectly with the outstandingly tranquil piece, “Sopor.” “Sopor” is Latin for “deep sleep,” and usually refers to a profoundly deep sleep. This track features some incredible, almost otherworldly, wordless vocals atop a droning synth bed. It’s a wonderful way to zone out.
To sum up, I can’t say enough good things about, “A Seeker’s Slumber.” I don’t have that many adjectives. Do yourself a favor and just get it. It’s a gem.
Cheryl B. Engelhardt is definitely an artist to watch. I feel like not only are we watching a rising star, but she seems to be redefining the “New Age” music space altogether, or perhaps bringing back the New Age back to itself. With so many profound and provocative layers to her, this album, and her music as a whole, she’s almost like a super-stock that’s about to break out and climb sky-high. And I think you’ll want to be around for that.
Get/listen to “A Seeker’s Slumber” here: https://www.aseekersslumber.com/
Official artist website: https://cbemusic.com/
Connect with Cheryl here: