Hailed as having the "ability to bring the listener towards deeper personal and social consciousness," Mary Sarah and Elements of Return swirl around the musical globe creating a sonic sanctuary from which we return different than when we arrived. Drawing heavily on percussion, found instruments, ambient sounds and vocal styles of world cultures, they beckon us with a new musical experience. "Our goal is to create a connection.
Music to emotion and emotion to community," states Sarah.
Heather Rudin, an artist associate states, "All of life's dimensions exist within their music." Linda Helm-Kraphf, executive director of The Myhelan Cultural Arts Center, adds, "Mary Sarah brings us inside to what moves us. Someplace which feels like home."
Recently making their national debut at The New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Mary Sarah and EOR were one of nine bands to perform in a select offering of New Jersey/Metropolitan New York's finest artists. Other recent honorary appearances include: the opening act at Luna Stage's Gala event in Montclair, NJ, hosted by actress Julianne Moore and actor Frankie Faison, guest artist for "Tilling Grace," a benefit concert to rebuild the gardens of Kabul, Afghanistan, sponsored by Eve Ensler and Siobhan Fitzpatrick and featured artist for the ambassadors concert on conflict resolution at The United Nations.
Mary Sarah and Elements of Return have been cited alongside Brian Eno, Laurie Anderson and Peter Gabriel as innovators. Like their compatriots they are emerging through their unique voice and originality. Crossing genres and without formulas, they take risks through exploration and curiosity, impressed by the pure and real sounds that are possible in world music. Sarah states, "There are many languages of sound and soul that are waiting to play with us." Josh Kazman of Splendid E-Zine lauds Sarah for her emotional authenticity stating that instead of emotions which are forced and mushy, Mary Sarah creates songs that are stark, raw and intimate. Maurice Velenosi of ISBA /Canada heralded Mary Sarah as "the female Bono," and as Bono does, Sarah would like to use her work as a place of contact. To celebrate this, last summer, Mary Sarah and EOR were chosen as Independent Artist of the month by Independent Songwriter, as well as Women in Rock.
Mary Sarah's journey with her voice began at age 11. By the time she was 15, she was singing professionally and was drawn to explore the link between spirituality and culture. She began to experiment with vocal styles from around the world as well as study African drumming, indigenous folk music, medieval chanting and classical piano. Meeting producer/musician Danys Levasseur in 1997 while working jointly on a project with Canadian chanteuse, Suzy Tremblay, left her in awe. A musical innovator and culturalist, Levasseur and Sarah began producing work together in 1997, culminating in their 1998 release, "O." Joining them shortly after was percussionist Eric Seftel, who saw Sarah's appearance on the T.V. show, "Horses Sing None of It." Eric's interest lay in the "emotional intensity" of the work, which he felt was paramount to creating a new kind of music. The newest member, Luis Manuel, a folkloric Portuguese musician heard Sarah while performing at NYC's Gaslight. Impressed by the originality and power of the songs, he signed on, fueled by the possibilities of creating new sounds and expanding on indigenous world music concepts.
"Ultimately, we are all here to connect and express ourselves," states Sarah, "To lift each other up and feel our humanity. In the end we'd like to use the music to bring awareness on a much larger scale. I think artists can do this. I think it is time."