Spirit and devotion have always been prominent aspects of Donna De Lory’s music. On her new album The Unchanging, she beautifully builds upon this foundation. Crafted in honor of her father Al De Lory, who recently passed on, the album is heartfelt and touching, while also carrying an uplifting and spirited quality.
This eleven-song album builds on and solidifies Miss De Lory’s musical spirit. She injects dance-infused grooves and pop sensibilities into many of the songs, and conversely offers a softer, more personal delivery on others – accented by sparse instrumentation that inspires reflection and emotion. As a result, she has created a dynamic, full, and rich body of work.
On “Gayatri Mantra,” De Lory’s unmistakable voice soars over trance-inducing beats. She intersperses repetition of the ancient Sanskrit mantra with her own heartfelt English verses. Upbeat grooves lift songs like “The Offering,” “Be The Change,” “Amma,” and her joyful take on George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” (the first chant she learned as a child) to a place of movement and celebration of Spirit.
Another musical dimension of The Unchanging is one that is soft, open, and expansive. “Amazing Grace” is a spacious rendition of the traditional melody, laid over a down tempo beat. The a cappella “Kinder” delivers angelic harmonies and lyrical beauty. “Luciana,” a touching song about De Lory’s daughter and motherhood, accents lyrical poignancy with piano supported by a graceful string section. The final song on the album, “Life Without Boundaries,” also backed by piano and strings, carries a deep emotional quality. Both of these touching songs, “Luciana” and “Life Without Boundaries,” along with the title track “The Unchanging,” feature Donna playing her father’s piano.
In addition to vocals and piano, De Lory plays a variety of instruments on this album and works with long-time collaborator Mac Quayle. She has assembled a top-notch group of artists to record the album with her. Their credits speak for themselves. Be it album mixer Kevin Killen (U2, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Elvis Costello), bassist Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, John Lennon), drummers Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel, Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney) and Dave Allen (Michelle Branch), guitarist Jerry Leonard (David Bowie) or bhakti go-to musicians like tabla icon Girish, bansuri flute master Manose and bassist Mark Gorman, all are respected and talented masters in their chosen fields.
It is fitting such talent has assembled for an album paying respect to De Lory’s father. Al De Lory was a noted music producer who produced two Grammy-winning albums; he was also a session pianist who worked with The Beach Boys and Phil Spector, among many others.
“I’m honoring him with this album” says Donna De Lory, “It’s about how my father’s death affected my whole spiritual path.” She speaks of him as one of the most important people in her life and embodies that statement in The Unchanging’s liner notes: “This CD is dedicated to my beloved father Al De Lory who showed me the way to follow my bliss.”
Join Donna for a Pre-Bhakti Fest event: Donna De Lory’s CD release party at the Kula in Santa Monica on Saturday, July 27 at 7:00 P.M.
Catch Donna De Lory live at Bhakti Fest West: Buy your Bhakti Fest West Ticket and use discount code: layoga to receive $50 off !
Reviewed by Joe Kara, who loves his double life working in music and teaching Yoga in Hollywood and the Valley. And he plays bass, too. Facebook/ Twitter. @JJKara