Merope – A Journey to Authenticity
Merope, one of the 7 tracks of the award winning album Pleiades by Christel Veraart features in Merope – A Journey to Authenticity, a film by Juan Carlos Zaldivar that further highlights dance & choreography by Jordan Pelliteri, visual art by Amy Ernst, Max Ernst, Dorothea Tanning, Jim Peterson and Glenn Grayson, poetry by Nikita Gill and Hermann Hesse. Besides the music, Christel also wrote the story-line for this film.
Sedona-based composer/singer and lyricist Christel Veraart trained classically in Europe, South America and the US. She is the recipient of multiple grants and fellowships and her music has featured and broadcast internationally.
Seamlessly alternating between cinematic, classical and new age styles, Veraart’s music transports you to far away places that range from solo and small ensemble to large orchestra. Her influences are eclectic, drawing on a wide variety of musical and cultural influences. She writes for film, dance, theater, and most recently for Google.
Touted as “musical glossolalia that reminds some of the secret-language vocalizations of Lisa Gerrard’, her 10th album Pleiades was awarded by Zone Music Reporter (ZMR) with the 2020 “Best Ambient Album”. Described as: “in our oh-so-troubled times, her music will help you focus on the positive and rise above the fray”, this album was hailed as: “If you ever wanted to verify the power of sound in its tonality and vibration, this is where you can feel it–like a scoop of an earth-moving crane, Christel’s vocals carry you and transport to the starry worlds, where mysteries become mystical and unknown becomes the most cherished companion…”
In an interview with New Music Alert’s Vivek Kumar Christel explains:
While thinking about how to shape Pleiades, I became fascinated by the number seven, which Pythagoras considered the most spiritual of all numbers.
Following my fascination with this number, I learned about the ancient philosophical concept of the Music of the Spheres, which regards proportions in the movements of celestial bodies — the Sun, Moon, and planets — as a form of music.
The number seven appears in music, mythology, science, and of course the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades. All this led to my celestial musings on these stars.
My eternal search for universality formed the main inspiration for Pleiades.
Space, the stars, the seven sisters, — it is hard to imagine anyone not being inspired by them. They live in a place (space), void of time and idiom, and as such provided me with the perfect backdrop for my album. A backdrop where my voice could take center stage and neither language nor meter would interfere. As you so aptly captured in your review: “Vocal music is often limited in its reach due to the language cognizance of the audience”, and I am humbled you feel that my music, “defies all such boundaries.”
The inspiration behind creating Pleiades also came from an experiment to see what would happen if I made my world go quiet if I could silence my own judgment and training, and embrace whatever sound would spontaneously present itself to me.
Creating Pleiades felt like I was guided by the gentle glow of that star cluster in the night skies. As if I gave voice to messages I heard the Seven Sisters whisper into the spheres, as a shaman might converse with their spirit world.
For me, creating an album is magical, and it is hard to capture what is really at play during the time of creation. I think reviewer Dyan Garris captured best what I was unaware of myself:
“…Christel sings in “tongues,” with languages that may be foreign to the ears but not to the soul. Channeled, one might say, although she doesn’t present it as such as far as I know…” Full Review
Similar to many before me, the Pleiades have woven themselves into my daily life and continue to fascinate me every day. I feel privileged to live in a community where the early morning dark skies allow me to salute the Seven Sisters before starting my day in the studio. The music for Pleiades might be complete, but the influence the stars have on me endures in visuals and stories. Only the stars know what else may unfold. Read Full Review