Review of "Out of the Corner of the Eye" by KIVA

From Faerie Magazine, Summer 2006 edition

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Kiva's newest offering "Out of the Corner of the Eye," their ninth recording since their inception in 1990, is a collection featuring thirteen songs with themes on the fey folk and the wildness of the earth in which they dwell. KIVA's players include eight core musicians and some talented guests who fill each song with an honest soulful quality. These modern day bards expertly weave mandolin, guitar, bass, cello, flutes, didjeridu, percussion, violin and voices into a celebration of the natural world. The songs have a timeless feeling and it is easy to get swept along on the wave of instruments into whatever tale is being told.
      This album runs the gamut between lively faster tunes and slower insightful songs, all of which are excellent for dancing. The title track "Out of the Corner of the Eye," is a story told through the perspective of the fey. It has a moving mysterious sound grounded by the drums, bass, and guitar. The lighter sounds of the mandolin, flute, and vocals complete the songs and add more interest. If you ever wondered what Fairie music would sound like "Faerie Glen" is the answer. It is a fun frolicking instrument jam that is an invitation for all night dancing with abandonment. "Faerie Glen" is followed by another vivacious composition, "Green Man," originally written by Deidre Stuart. This song, featured on "Live at the Forest Inn," an earlier KIVA recording, has been augmented with the addition of the male musicians singing the Green Man's words and various instruments to produce a richer arrangement. You will also find an excellent rendition of the classic "The Battle of Evermore" by Led Zeppelin. This is a good choice for this group who are adept at making vocals and instruments compliment each other in a noninvasive way.
      For those who enjoy being swept away, "Rise up the Call," by Jim Noland and Ariana Lightningstorm is a ballad that brings one through the ecstatic heights and low quieter moments that encompass the interconnectedness of relationships. It is like slow dancing in the embrace of one you love. In "Once More" the ethereal sounds of the different flutes guide us through a soulful journey of the cycle of the seasons and the emotions that these times can conjure in us.
      A fun twist is a bluesy number "In Praise of Winter" which is unique with it's addition of a violin and flute. The conclusion of this album is a lively little ditty called "The Coming and Going of Fey". A harmonious parade of accompanied voices singing dun da dum, da da da da, dum and fading away into the air.
      KIVA is certainly a band where each members contribution creates the full fluidness that characterizes their music. No one overpowers another and all of the instruments and voices flow in cooperation to create a healing, inspirational sound that is unique in the world of mortal music. I recommend this recording to all mortals and fey who have an appreciation for the natural world and really like to get down!

By Leah "Sunflower Thistledew" Odom

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Revision Date: May 25, 2006