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Jane Siberry

Jane Siberry isn't what you'd call a conventional jazz singer, but just as easily as the greats, she can twirl a note like a spiral of smoke and drawl with buttery smoothness over any given utterance. Alternating between crone-like knowing and fey puerility, Siberry sings about things like: children separated from their mothers, capricious lovers, foreboding mysteries on abandoned farms and poets lost in landscapes of gossamer beauty. She's reminiscent of Kate Bush but more unhurried, more playful and full of wide-eyed possibility. Siberry's ethereal forays are well grounded by her deep sense of soul. Much of her work is composed of spiritual hymns and laments- music that is embedded in tradition and storytelling.

After crossing a surfeit of sounds and genres (jazz, folk, country, techno), Siberry demonstrates her versatility and range with the winter release of her album SHUSHAN the Palace (Hymns of Earth). Rife with bizarre translations of work by composers such as Bach and Handel, Siberry's earthy yet lilting voice infuses these traditional sacred songs with lushness and harmony. Siberry has described her album as Ňan interesting and hopefully beautiful alternative to traditional holiday aural fare,Ó but in many ways she transcends her own description by subversively breathing new life into the most canonized works of Western music.

SHUSHAN is the latest release on Siberry's label, SHEEBA, which she started in 1996. SHEEBA was always a kind of career presentiment for this inscrutable chanteuse, who released her first album Teenager (later re-recorded on her SHEEBA label) in 1981- paid for by her waitressing tips. Siberry's trademark musical independence has been epitomized by subsequent releases like Bound by the Beauty (perhaps the only Warner/Reprise release recorded in an apple orchard) and Maria, flavored with jazz and vintage pop beats. Her A Day In The Life NYC 1997 is more like sonic art than a pop record, with its iterations from yoga class and warbled snippets of conversation from artists like Joe Jackson.

From mid-November through mid-December, Siberry will be touring across North America with filled-out string and horn ensembles with various vocalists and musicians. Lyrically and intellectually, her tour is demonstrative of how Siberry is constantly in the process of revising her musical atlas. Fraught with rippling jazziness and lullaby-like tempos, one has to wonder from where Siberry channels her material. Despite her graceful way of straddling a line between pop and time-honored classicism, this time she certainly invokes delicious speculations of other, more preternatural, places.