Sally Doherty’s overwhelming debut album is an enchanting journey through a myriad of sound and voice-scapes. The acoustic instrumentation is sometimes lush, sometimes minimal.
African and Indian percussion offer a mesmeric rawness which contrasts brilliantly with the fluidity of the piano and strings. Occasionally Sally uses merely the percussive and harmonic qualities of her voice to create a piece of music. The backing varies in mood and style to suit Sally’s changeable and expressive voice.
The voice is sometimes a soft and focused closeness and at other times strong and full or instrumental and abstract. The experience is emotionally intense throughout. The music is inspired by several genres and ancient musical forms yet in itself is contemporary.
Reviews of Sally Doherty
“This CD is a revelation. With a voice like Portishead and original instrumentation (piano, cello, violin, flute, cornet, double bass, percussion etc…), Sally D transports us into a sweet and fragile universe. An indispensible CD.”—Prikosnovenie, France, Winter 96–97.
“ Sally Doherty‘s music is not conventional. Nor is her approach to performance. For instance, when she was at university, she did a twelve-minute performance as part of her degree in combined and media arts. The audience was greeted by the sight of a 9ft 7ins tall rotating Sally who was standing on a plinth hidden by a satin dress which fell away into a huge hoop. Projected on to the dress was a film of a normal-sized Sally, while her own music provided the soundtrack. The same voluminous dress, minus hoop and plinth, plays its part, to stunning effect, on the cover of her latest project, her debut CD, which again combines her uniquesense of the visual with description defying music. As a musician she combines classical instrumentation with rootsier percussive sounds and modern elements. But it is her voice which marks out the album as something special. Her multi-layered vocals, often unaccompanied, wordless and improvised, transform from Eastern style wailing to soft haunting melodies to hard jabbing rhythms. The minimal accompaniment, including her own flute playing and piano, provides the perfect backdrop to her vocal acrobatics.”—Martin Lilleker, Sheffield Telegraph, UK, 1996.
“Sally takes us into hazy atmospheres between melody and experimentation, with a few excusions into ethnic territories (‘Tiger’ and ‘Ennui’). ‘Long Walk Home’ is intriguing, recalling the best things The Smiths have ever done (but with piano instead of guitar). Sally’s voice dominates everything, powerful and soft at the same time, she manages to make her voice whine and explode with one single breath. But you won’t find any showing-off here, Sally uses her ability to convey real heart-felt emotions. ‘Ennui’ is another stunning episode; it starts like an Arabian litany and progresses into a percussion-driven frenzy. Every song on this album deserves to be mentioned (‘The Sea Nymphs’ and the beautifully sad ‘New Arrival’). You’d better have a listen to this and try to catch Sally live.”—Ferruccio Quercetti, Music Club, Italy, August 1996.
“Possibly the most intriguing 50-plus minutes you’re likely to set your ears on… as ambitious as it is simple and as beautiful as it is brooding. Sally’s chameleon-like voice provides an unpredictable continuity… her album is a simmering cauldron of vocal gymnastics and wonderous instrumentation.”—David Dunn, The Star (Sheffield), 1996.