Like an instant shot of optimism, Annabelle Chvostek's new CD Water delivers songs steeped in joyous lived experience. Backed by some great acoustic musicians drawn from Montreal's jazz and cabaret folk scene, Chvostek weaves dreamy meditations on love, loss and redemption. Her sparkling vocals and guitar work touch on pains and passions both physical and spiritual, tracing emotional depths we've all known, but few have expressed with such precision and compassion. The thirteen tracks on Water speak to a generation waking up to a wider world, a generation grappling with a vast and shifting landscape of environmental, political and social forces. Chvostek is willing to ask the hard questions, and seeks the truth with a grace of intent that always electrifies her audience.
Springing from a hyper-creative childhood (her first gig was with the Canadian Opera Company when she was seven!), Annabelle Chvostek broke on the Montreal cabaret scene in early 1997, when her soulful acoustic jazz-pop immediately swept audiences off their feet. She quickly became a major presence in Montreal's music scene, where she's shared the stage with Dar Williams, Veda Hille, Kinnie Starr, Martha Wainwright, Tegan and Sara, and Penny Lang. Annabelle's thirst for new horizons has led her to diverse performance venues in New York City, Toronto, Philadephia, Vancouver, India, Japan, and a tour of the northeastern United States with Rose Polenzani. Her distinct multidisciplinary bent has led her to undertake numerous collaborative projects in video, dance and music as well.
Annabelle Chvostek's songs unfold like multidimensional kaleidoscopes, hypnotic melodies delivering words of grace and being. They combine seductive hooks with a sensual musical intricacy, and heady lyrics that leap from the personal to the political to the universal in an edgy metaphysical style. An artistic risk-taker, she can captivate an audience on her own with tools as simple as a djimbe and the human voice. She's equally at ease working with various musical friends in an experimental electronica collective, a traditional jazz ensemble or a nouveau-folk hootenanny.
Annabelle self-produced both her 1997 cassette debut 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.and 2000's Full Stop CD. Full Stop won wide attention, including a number 7 spot on the national campus radio charts. Her new CD, recorded by Howard Bilerman at Mom & Pop Sounds, is called Water, and water is the theme. Songs like "The Great Divide", "Holy", "Melt", "Sirens" and "Weeping Willow" draw upon water as a metaphor and source and force. The title track draws its opening lines from the Cochabamba declaration:
"Water belongs to the earth and all species and is sacred to life / Water is a fundamental human right." But Water also boasts Chvostek's signature aura: in her own words, "There's plenty of humanness and spirit and psychological twistings and love and stuff."
The thirteen tracks on Water were recorded with the help of prominent young Montreal jazz musicians Adrian Vedady on bass, Tony Spina on drums, and Andrew Schinasi on alto sax. Indie music diva Jordi Rosen guests on three tracks with backup vocals and some accordion, Ricky Rigby chimes in with vocals and harmonica, and Becky Foon adds supple cello lines. These musicians combine with Annabelle's acoustic guitar, voice and percussion in a warm alchemy of sound.
"Annabelle doesn't fake the folk. She freaks it." --(T'Cha Dunlevy, The Montreal Gazette)
"Chvostek has a sultry voice that you can't and won't forget. She creates music that inspires visions of modern dance and late afternoons on a café patio, sipping wine and writing long letters to old friends. It is easy to hear how she can emerge out of the Montreal underground to be appreciated by the masses." --(Suzy Malik, X-tra!, Toronto)
"Soulful, jazzy, sensuous, surprising, that's Annabelle. A superb instrumentalist with a voice of velour, her edgy compositions are hypnotic and commanding, walking the line between jazz-acoustic and folk-funk. She's also gifted with incredible stage presence and an animal magnetism that seduces audiences and fans on all frontiers." -- (Folquébec www.folquebec.com)