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Starr Parodi | The Heart of Frida

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The Heart of Frida

by Starr Parodi

Cinematic Piano musIc inspired by the Life and Art of Frida Kahlo adj. include: ambient, healing, meditative, introspective, world music with european, new world and gospel influences; all played, improvised and imagined by Steinway Artist, Starr Parodi
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Heart of Frida
4:20 $0.99
2. When Doves Cry
5:12 $0.99
3. The Elephant and the Dove
6:17 $0.99
4. Rancho Hamilton
6:33 $0.99
5. Hardly Touching
3:53 $0.99
6. Overture of Color
6:23 $0.99
7. Nights in White Satin
6:10 $0.99
8. Don't Be Discouraged
4:25 $0.99
9. Sun and Life
4:35 $0.99
10. The Lightness of Frida
4:25 $0.99
11. Hope
6:48 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Contemporary pianist and composer Starr Parodi’s latest gift, The Heart of Frida, is an enthralling musical tribute to Mexico’s favorite daughter, transcendental folk painter Frida Kahlo. Like Kahlo, Parodi’s music is vividly bright and brutally honest. Parodi seamlessly blends in a pair of well-known classics and six original and passionate compositions to tell the story of a legend. Highly recommended. - RJ Lannan (Zone Music Reporter)

Starr Parodi, The Heart of Frida

A fair share of recorded music can melt your heart. That’s what happens to me while listening to the latest album from pianist/composer Starr Parodi. The Heart of Frida is Starr’s vividly moving tribute to transcendental Mexican artist and painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1954).

Parodi’s passionate, beautiful, ethereal rendition of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” seems the polar opposite of his raucous original. She recorded it a few months before Prince’s death, making the song even more poignant. This and “Nights in White Satin” — which you’d swear begins with electric piano, but that isn’t so (more below) — are the only tracks Starr didn’t compose herself, and the latter song explores sonic landscapes never touched by the Moody Blues.

The pensive and introspective “The Elephant and the Dove,” nicknames for Frida and her artist husband Diego Rivera, is Starr’s musical exploration of their loving connections and vibrant differences.

Painting with sonic colors is another Parodi skill. Witness “Overture of Color,” inspired by Frida’s statement “I paint flowers so they will not die.” Starr composed the piece for orchestra, but this rendition is remarkably expressive and complete.

The subtle twists and turns in Starr’s piano lines — as well as some added mystical signal processing — send thrills through my spine. The Art of Frida isn’t purely an acoustic piano album. In a few select spots, you’ll hear what seem like synthesized and distinctly non-piano audio. What’s actually happening is a bit of subtle delay and filter processing of the piano sound, courtesy of husband Jeff Fair’s studio artistry. And what a piano! Centrally located in their home studio is the 1928 Steinway grand that once lived on MGM’s scoring stage and contributed to The Wizard of Oz soundtrack. Surely no one, however, could coax more passionate feelings and rainbow colors out of the instrument than Starr. Like her previous solo piano album Common Places, released in 2008, The Heart of Frida belongs in the library of anyone who loves brilliantly and emotionally crafted music. – Mark Vail, http://markvail.com (Keyboard Magazine)



to write a review

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"The Heart of Frida" is the second solo piano release from Starr Parodi, and what an incredible album it is! I was lucky enough to have Starr appear in a house concert here a couple of weeks ago and she played quite a few of the pieces from the album. To say that I was mesmerized with her performance would be a huge understatement, so I wondered if that same magic would come across in the album - it does! Inspired by the life and art of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, the album includes nine original tracks that began as improvisations and two covers of classic rock tunes that are given a truly original treatment. Starr’s debut album, "Common Places," was named Album of the Year in 2008 by Whisperings Solo Piano Radio, and I have no doubt that The Heart of Frida will appear on many “best of” lists and awards for 2016 - including my own! This is masterful solo piano that is deeply expressive and emotional - compelling listening that reveals new sonic colors each time you hear it. Don’t let it disappear into background music - crank up the volume and let it envelop you in the beauty of true artistry. Yes, it’s that good!

"The Heart of Frida" begins with the title track - a stunning piece that overflows with sadness, strength, and resolve. Delicate yet passionate, the simplicity of the rolling broken chords in the bass brings out the poignance and complexity of the gorgeous melody. Wow! “When Doves Cry” is one of Prince’s best-known earlier songs, and is a favorite of Starr’s. Frida Kahlo and her husband, artist Diego Rivera, were often referred to as “the elephant and the dove,” so it fits right in. There are some really interesting sounds in addition to the piano, and those sounds were created with the piano using filters and delay. “The Elephant and the Dove” explores the relationship of Frida and Diego and their often stormy life together. The contrasting themes are remarkable and are seamlessly interwoven throughout the piece. “Hardly Touching” is another favorite. The title refers to artistic inspiration and how when it happens, one’s feet hardly touch the ground for the joy of it. Gracefully-flowing and delicate, the simple and heartfelt melody goes right to the heart. “Overture of Color” was originally created as an orchestral sketch that was performed (by an orchestra) in tribute to one of Frida’s paintings. A full palette of musical colors is expressed at the piano with passion as well as understanding. And then there is Starr’s arrangement of “Nights In White Satin,” one of my favorite songs ever. This track also includes additional sounds created with the piano using delays and filters in layers. The dreamlike quality of the song reminded Starr of Frida, and her arrangement is one of the best I’ve heard of this Moody Blues classic. “Sun and Life” is named for one of Frida’s paintings and is a gentle waltz with a lighter mood than some of the other pieces. “The Lightness of Frida” explores an idea of what Frida must have been like as a child. There is a feeling of innocence and sweetness with complexity and darkness simmering below the surface. Starr closes the album with an almost seven-minute meditation on “Hope” that she calls “a thought to end with.”

Wow! What an album! I give "The Heart of Frida" my highest recommendation! Don’t miss it!

Candice Michelle

Review from Journeyscapes Radio
Starr Parodi is a Steinway concert and recording artist who has performed and recorded with a number of artists spanning many musical genres, including having been a regularly highlighted performer on The Arsenio Hall show. Comprised of eleven improvisational solo piano compositions, “The Heart of Frida” was inspired by none other than Frida Kahlo, a Mexican folk painter who transformed her suffering into transcendental art. Recorded on a 1928 Steinway grand piano that once found its way onto the MGM scoring stage, the iconic instrument likewise boasts an impressive resume of its own, including having been the piano on which The Wizard of Oz was recorded. Perhaps it’s not surprising then that Starr seems to have awakened an old soul housed within this musical treasure box, thereby channeling the essence of a timeless and cultural legacy that spans several decades.

The album’s title track, “The Heart of Frida”, immediately imparts a haunting nostalgia like that of an old film. Emitting a beautiful resonance throughout, there’s an inherently raw nature to the sound of Starr’s piano and the melodies projected, which are often accentuated by neoclassical, minimalist and chamber-jazz elements. Her take on the Prince classic, “When Doves Cry”, is imbued with such elegance and creative improvisation, as the melody of this iconic piece echoes throughout the halls of what feels like a vast chamber in conjunction with a colorfully pulsating pattern throughout. Of the beautifully mysterious “Hardly Touching”, Starr explains that this piece is about artistic inspiration coming from another plane. Not only does such a thing seem to occur here and elsewhere on the album, but I particularly love how the higher register notes dance about gracefully among the underlying vastness of the lower register notes. Another iconic song that Starr has masterfully interpreted here is “Nights in White Satin” by The Moody Blues, which begins with the familiar pulsating pattern that often revisits the album. It’s almost easy to forget that this piece was indeed recorded solely on acoustic piano, as Starr skillfully reshapes the composition and makes it truly her own. I’m also particularly fond of the closing piece, “Hope”, which ebbs and flows with unpredictable continuity and captivating allure.

One thing I especially admired about this recording was that Starr chose to capture her creative and emotionally-charged processes as they unfolded in real time, as opposed to aiming for an obviously rehearsed sound that was overly perfected. Her enthralling melodies shift from bold and glittering to quietly subdued – often employing a serious tone that is soothing yet never saccharine. The uniquely unpredictable chord progressions and remarkably creative transitions are an enthusiastically appreciated and defining characteristic of her style, as she effectively transports the listener to someplace exotic and seemingly set within a decades-old era. “The Heart of Frida” easily sits among the most gorgeous solo piano recordings to recently cross my path, and is a particularly essential album for fans of the genre!