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"Ode To Tennyson" - Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Rebecca LAPPA: "Ode To Tennyson"

Rating: RRRr
Label: Lappa Music/Socan 2014 
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom 

Release the Kraken - Release the Kraken!! Ehem. Excuse me while my brain confuse the classic work of Tennyson with the really dodgy movie phrase of the eighties [Clash Of The Titans and I believe they did a equally dodgy remake recently]. Let's try again as this is the great and already fourth (yes, 4th) full-length album from the mere 17 year old 2014 nominee at Canadian folk music awards.

Rebecca Lappa is her name and extremely classy folk, singer/songwriter, jazzy, art-pop is the nature of her game. The creative blend of several styles of music reflects a mature sound and a much older soul than her actual time spent here on earth. This ain't your typical bubble-gum pop nonsense of the MTV.

The album is obviously inspired by the works of British poet and posh legend of Lord Alfred Tennyson. And yes, there's a song titled "Kraken" and 'the ocean's wide and vast and deep. Beneath its heart untouched a monster sleeps'. Lappa is certainly not afraid to wake up the beast as she unleashes her stunning vocals right at the ugly story. She's blessed with emotional and great set of pipes similar at times to Tori Amos and even Sarah McLachlan with a more sulky twist.

The music on "Ode To Tennyson" follow no strict structure and thus why each and every track is like a brand new story. One minute it's Irish/Celtic rootsy folk music and the next art-pop that harks back to the golden era of Kate Bush, but sounds more like Tori Amos to be completely honest. "Mermaid and Merman" has a loose and fun creative feel with a simple grand piano and Lappa's voice at the centre of attention. "Gypsy" with its violin, aria and 'ohhh-ahhh-ahhh' as chorus part is a nice build up to the darker mood of the "Kraken". Rebecca tickle the ebony and ivory as Tori Amos did in the nineties as the monster appears in the distance. It's all very laid back and there's plenty of violin, cello, accordion, etc. to be found on this fine record. 
FolkWorld #55, "Ode to Tennyson" Review
FolkWorld #55, 11/2014

Rebecca Lappa "Ode to Tennyson" 
Lappa Music, 2014
Only 17 years old, this young Canadian singer/songwriter presents here already her fourth album, with a high level of maturity showing both talent and the development of her own style. On this album, she sings primarily songs inspired by the famous 19th century English poet Lord Tennyson. The songs sit somewhere between folk and pop, with a slight Celtic perspective, and I found them pleasantly reminiscent of the early works of Katie Melua. The musical arrangements feature guitars and occasional accordion, violin, piano or drums. With that beautiful voice and writing talent she will no doubt make waves, in her homeland and beyond. 

© Michael Moll
Maimann: Rebecca Lappa's latest album pure poetry

The fact that Rebecca Lappa is releasing her fourth album at age 17 is a pretty clear indicator she’s not your typical high school student.

While her friends are keeping up on the latest pop hits, Rebecca Lappa has been sinking her teeth into world music and brushing up on history.

Saturday night at Roxy Theatre, the folk singer and multi-instrumentalist will release her new CD Ode to Tennyson, a diverse album based on works by 19th Century British poet Lord Alfred Tennyson.

Lappa says Top 40 fare has just never drawn her in the way a good book does.

“I guess I don’t feel like there’s enough story in the music. It’s just the same chorus over and over again. It’s like, ‘Well I heard that part already. Is there going to be something interesting happening in this song, or you’re just going to say you’re at the club?’ ” she says.

“I mean, I haven’t been to a club yet, but lots of people have. I just prefer songs that have stories that actually mean something.”

The album has already earned Lappa a nomination for Young Performer of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, the latest in a long list of nominations and awards.

Ode to Tennyson starts with Charge of the Light Brigade — a grisly “Irish war song” that builds to an upbeat Celtic-folk charge — and slows right down for The Earl, a sparse and haunting number with vocal inflections reminiscent of Lorde.

Lappa schooled herself on music from across the globe to suit the lyrics for each of the album’s 11 tracks, while also drawing inspiration from Canadian artists like Sarah McLachlan and Loreena McKennitt.

“I wrote the music catering to the stories specifically,” she explains. “I have a song in there that’s about the Roma people, so I’ve been listening to stuff from their culture. I’ve been listening to some Celtic stuff and jazz and Mariachi bands, different things like that, to help create the themes that those specific songs were looking for.”


The songs on Ode to Tennyson are impressively mature and complex.

A $10,000 RAWLCO Radio Grant helped take Lappa’s arrangements to the next level with a team of veteran musicians including guitarist Gord Matthews — who has worked with k.d. lang and Ian Tyson - and producer Barry Allen, a local rock legend who scored Canadian Top 40 hits in the 1960s. She also got help from Edmonton’s Maria Dunn, who added whistle and accordion, and members of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra among others.

With a remarkable list of accomplishments that include writing and performing an entire folk opera based on Tennyson’s poem The Sisters, and pulling off a one-woman musical at Nextfest in May called The Great Edmonton Elephant Stampede From 1926, Lappa’s future holds limitless possibilities.

She hopes to get accepted to the songwriting program at Boston’s Berklee College of Music after she graduates, and would love to pen some big hits — but not for herself.

“I want to write for other people for a living, so then I don’t have to be confined to one genre,” she says. “I don’t really need to be on stage with 50,000 people watching me. If somebody else gets to do that with my music, then that’s good. I don’t really like a lot of attention.”

Lappa will perform with a four-piece backing band Saturday. Rocky Mountain House duo The Doll Sisters will open the show and release their new album Off the Edge of the Earth.

Tickets are $14 through the Roxy Theatre Box Office at 780-453-2440.

Maimann: Rebecca Lappa's latest album pure poetry

Ode to Tennyson - Review by Connor Sadler /

In her latest album, Edmonton-born Rebecca Lappa blends folk and classical vocals to create Ode to Tennyson, her fourth full-length album. The album is inspired by the works of 19th century British poet laureate Lord Alfred Tennyson.

Lappa’s music is energetic and complex, with classical and folk influences dove-tailing into jazzy, Celtic and even Latin territory.

The opening track, “Mermaid and Merman,” has a serene feeling created by a simple piano and vocal melody. The song picks up and takes on a bubbly atmosphere, but is kept grounded by the drums and bass. The LP takes a serious turn with “Kraken,” which compares the turmoil of love to a kraken sitting just below the surface waiting to swallow ships whole. The rest of the album is varied — “Queen of May” has a smooth jazz sound, whereas “Field of Dishonour” borrows from Latin-American music. “The Light Brigade” has the feel of a Celtic march.

The album’s second last song “Lemon Mine” — which tells the tragic story of two friends who kill each other over a cave of gold — is set to a spirited tune, creating an unsettling contrast between the story and the music.

At first, Ode to Tennyson can seem like another generic folk record. But the album shines with Lappa’s ability to weave a storyline into her songs with the versatility of her voice. Whether she is singing a Celtic poem or a Mexican love song, Lappa’s voice fits perfectly and the variety keeps the album from being repetitive.



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