Back in November 2017 our team visited a concert (see review) of Mayra Orchestra at the Parkvilla Theater in Alphen aan de Rijn in the Netherlands. This performance for Serious Music Alphen was a magical evening for everyone present. We had witnessed a great show of an international allure. The songs from the bands two released albums came much more alive when performed on a live stage. At the time I wrote: “”If you have the chance to see them. Go!!! You won't regret it”. And now, almost three years later, I can witness it all one more time on a special released live double CD and DVD. Titled Oracle Live.
On the Oracle Live you can enjoy the complete performance which the band did at Cultuurpodium Boerderij Zoetermeer on March 31in 2017. At the time this special show in the Netherlands was arranged for the release of their second album Oracle (see review). Only a half year before I enjoyed the band myself at the earlier mentioned Parkvilla show. So in a way I did know what I could expect, even before seeing and hearing the footage and audio of this release. But still, after watching and hearing the complete two hours live performance, I am again speechless. Just as when I saw them live.
Because Mayra Orchestra takes the listener on a colourful journey full of imagination. And above all they have an eclectic mix of theatre, rock instruments, classical strings, brass and polyphonic singing forming a dynamic and atmospheric show. During their show you see a fairytale forest. Small lights sparkle through the trees. You hear magical, almost mesmerizing music performed by several musicians on a very crowed stage. The band consists of a group of young, very talented musicians who know how to create a great show. Not only a band that plays their music live, but knowing how to transmit the music from their two albums into a very special live experience. The decoration of the stage, the convincing projections and the addition of acrobats makes it even more worth watching this whole performance. It's just great to see someone doing some stunning moves during Ruler during a kind of trapeze act. Or a fire act during Edge Of The World, or what about a young lady in white clothes who hangs in two ropes and shows her graceful and breathtaking acrobatic arts during Everything In Its Place.
As for the music of Mayra Orchestra, this is without doubt hard to describe. It is utterly symphonic, but furthermore it cannot be placed in a box. Don't expect lots of solos performed on the guitars and keyboards. All in all only during the songs Hymn To The Sea and I Just Want To Be Loved I've heard real guitar solos done by Sky Architect singer and guitarist Tom Luchies. But to be honest I didn't miss them. The music is richly layered and complex, but also very accessible. The addition of violin, cello, harp, wind instruments and extra percussion gives the music a rich and deeper layer. It is particularly impressive how such a large group of musicians is so attuned to each other that it seems to take no effort. The radiant centrepiece in all this is the graceful appearance of lead singer and piano player Maartje Dekker. She is largely responsible for the music the band performs. Music which has certainly references with acts such as Hooverphonic, Ane Brun or Tori Amos.
The main part of the performance was of course the songs taken from Oracle, most of which were played. It is an album that has a strong flow, in which the songs blend nicely. It is therefore wise that the songs are played in the original order, albeit that they did pass in blocks. To alternate, eight songs from the debut World Of Wonder were also played, this means that almost the entire album was done as well. All those songs are perfectly filmed and during the great performances of them you get good close ups of the several musicians playing. So a good job of the filming team indeed! Bravo to them as well next to the great performances of the many musicians on the perfectly lighted stage. So nothing to complain about. Musical highlights? Lots of them, but I can give you some. Highlights for me are Stormhorses, with its handsome structure and catchy chorus. Lots of musical drama and pathos are featured as well. Furthermore the stage act during this piece of music was really awesome to watch with all the mystical figures and beautiful lights. But also In The Woods is a song which stays in your head because of its number of clever transitions. Metamorphosis can be mentioned as well because of the beautiful break. And what about Silver Paradise with its great musical climax. Also the two earlier mentioned compositions with the fine guitar solos are absolute highlights. Also the encores The Lake, followed by Face In The Water are songs which you will love all the way. The first one starts with Maartje only behind the piano. It starts very delicate and fragile but when the rest of the band joins in the party really gets started!
The live reputation of Mayra Orchestra is without any doubt very solid. Don't miss out on the opportunity to experience this for yourself at the next opportunity. Because you will have become part of an unknown, but intriguing kind of ritual you will love all the way. You want to know how this feels? Just watch and listen to Oracle Live. You will enjoy the second live DVD of Mayra Orchestra as much as I did. The DVD comes in a digipack with double live CD and audio download. So lots of good music to enjoy whole hearted! Highly recommended!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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