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Chris Conway - Spirits Of The River / River Of Life
Chris Conway - Spirits of the River

Chris Conway -
keyboards, acoustic & electric 9 string guitars, acoustic nylon string guitar, voice, tin & low whistles, kalimba, zithers, electric kantele, theremin, bamboo flute, percussion, loops, temple bells, water sounds
Georgina Sear - voice - 2, 5, 6, 7, 9
Neil Segrott - fretless bass - 1, 2, 7
Mick Oxtoby - violin - 3, 5
Clare Johnson - flute - 5

Chris Conway River Of Life back

From One Drop Of Rain mp3
Gathering Spirits mp3
River of Youth mp3
Between Waterfalls mp3
River of Memory mp3
Rapids mp3
Delta mp3
Out To Sea/ Commingling / Evaporation mp3
Spirit of the River mp3

Chris Conway
Different streams, joining together to make one music - one life - one river.
Lush, evocative, relaxing music featuring an amazing collection of instruments.

"There is a palpable sense of beauty and positive energy which permeates this entire album. Drink long and deep from this water source and I can almost guarantee you will be refreshed." - New Age Reporter

Many portrayals of rivers have focussed only on the static beauty of a river scene. I wanted to focus on the "Life" part of the river of life. Make music that moves, lives, and flows."
Another factor affected this album. As I was writing and recording, spring was in the air, and summer was coming. I wanted to make warm music. In came Brazilian rhythms, and a warm vibe I hope the listener can feel, whatever the season."

Making this album was a hugely rewarding journey for me. So many diverse influences and genres and instruments unexpectedly came together, and combined so naturally.

Brazilian bossa & samba, Celtic, hints of jazz, harmony groups, Indian influences, minimal, chill-out, world music - all blended so well.

Acoustic instruments and the state-of-the-art electronics sit together happily too.


Marcos Valle, Paul Winter, Pat Metheny, Bebel Gilberto, Brian Wilson, Alan Stivell, John McLaughlin, Ralph Towner,

Mick Oxtoby and Neil Segrott were members of Chris Conway's Talking Fish songs band.

Spirit of the River was made into a song which can be heard on his Songs For Dreamers album as "Sunrise"

Between Waterfalls was the first time Chris used his electric kantele.

Out To Sea/ Commingling/ Evaporation started as a test for a new synthesizer Chris was deciding whether to buy from a friend - one thing led to another, this track was born - and he bought the synthesizer in the end. (An Access Virus C)

River Of Life was rereleased as Spirits Of The River in 2012

CC's fave track - Out To Sea/ Commingling/ Evaporation


Chris Conway

1. From One Drop Of Rain 4.37
One fascination with the cycle of rivers is that it starts anew all the time from one drop of rain. The kalimba and piano keep a light watery feel. The childrens voices amongst the rivulet sounds in the end-section seemed to fit perfectly, and also symbolize new beginnings.

Chris Conway - piano, keyboards, tin whistle, kalimba, percussion, water sounds, recordings of children's voices.
Neil Segrott - fretless bass

2. Gathering Streams 7.36
Many different musical themes and streams come together here, each joining the main course of a Brazilian bossa rhythm in their own time. As a young person gathers strands of knowledge, and as a river gathers streams along the way.

Chris Conway - keyboards, acoustic 9string guitar, voice, electric kantele, percussion,
Georgina Sear - voice
Neil Segrott - fretless bass

3. River of Youth 6.28
This Celtic piece evoked for me the carefree abandonment of youth. Especially the way the tin whistle and violin dance round each other. The river is not yet mature, but is new and strong and a stream no more.

Chris Conway - acoustic 9string guitar, keyboards, tin whistle, voice, kalimba, percussion, water sounds
Mick Oxtoby - violin

4. Between Waterfalls 5.45
A little waterfall reverie, then the river (and life) gathers apace before another waterfall. It's an unusual mix of the Celtic and the Latin - with the Irish whistle with the zithers and kantele (together sounding like Celtic harps) alongside the Spanish-tinged guitar.

Chris Conway - keyboards, acoustic nylon string guitar, low G whistle, electric kantele, zithers, percussion

5. River of Memory 7.24
I was thinking of India here, and the timeless Ganges where it is wide and slow. The rhythm is interesting (16 beat cycle accented 6 + 6 + 4), and I used a characteristic Indian "tihai" (a motif played 3 times, ending on the 1st beat) in the melody. The piece also changes halfway through from minor to major - like a large bend in the river. Or a change from troubled middle age to mellowed old age…

Chris Conway - keyboards, vibraphone, voices, zither, percussion, temple bells
Mick Oxtoby - violin
Clare Johnson - flute
Georgina Sear - voice

6. Rapids 5.39
Life, like rivers, can still throw surprises and excitement, at any time. The sound of rapids here together with the percussion rhythms made me think of a boat being thrown around in the white water. The Chinese bamboo flute solos happily among the samba rhythms.

Chris Conway - keyboards, acoustic 9string guitar, effects, bamboo flute, voice, percussion, water sounds
Georgina Sear - voice

7. Delta 6.37
I wrote this at the piano at the end of a long day, and it seemed to sum up nearing the end of a long journey, and looking back at it with warmth and contentment.

Chris Conway - piano, keyboards, electric 9string guitar, low D whistle, percussion
Neil Segrott - fretless bass
Georgina Sear - voice

8. Out To Sea/Commingling/Evaporation 7.30
The analogy of life and the river, taken to the journey out to sea and evaporation fascinated me.
In the three sections, the final journey of the river out to sea blends into section 2 where the waters mix together with seawater and water from other rivers. The third section traces the water molecules evaporating to the sky.
The aquatic sound of 2 theremins, the shimmering keyboards, water sounds and rhythms all hypnotically mix together to paint the scenes.

Chris Conway - theremin, keyboards, percussion, ocean sounds

9. Spirit of the River 4.53
This theme (briefly mentioned by the whistle in the middle of "From One Drop Of Rain") returns but orchestrated for voices and low whistle. This theme haunted me for a long time after I had written it. The voices, and the interlocking rhythm of kalimba, 9 string guitars, suggest the great cycles - of time, of life, and of the river.

Chris Conway - keyboards, acoustic 9string guitars, low D whistle, voice, kalimba, percussion
Georgina Sear - voices

Chris Conway is a multi-instrumentalist whose specialty is making mood-rich music that taps into the beauty of the natural world. With his album SPIRITS OF THE RIVER, the artist presents a mellow new age soundscape that peppers laid-back acoustic instrumentation with ethnic flavor. Guitars (acoustic, electric, nylon string) and keyboards provide the main melodies, while flute, violin, temple bells, kalimba, Asian zithers and various percussive instruments flesh out the backdrops.

The music is brisk and breezy throughout, with the perfect amount of rhythm to keep the music moving, tempered with instrumentation that adds a dose of tranquility. Whether fusing a samba beat with warm keyboard tones and guitar as on "Rapids" or mixing slow guitar with Celtic-tinged vocal tones on "Spirit of the River," Conway's SPIRITS OF THE RIVER offers an engaging listening experience that simultaneously stimulates and calms.

malkie at Amie Street

This whole collection is an ideal way to be transported away. It gives a wonderful sense of the beauty and strength of the entire river from birth to re-birth.

mrbhayn at Amie Street
just plain me

New Age Reporter

From multi-instrumentalist Chris Conway comes a joyous and diverse celebration of music in many forms. Drawing artistic inspiration from water itself (nature sounds of the element in various forms, e.g. rain, brooks, waves, etc., flow throughout the recording) the nine tracks on River of Life crisscross the globe, as Conway explores all manner of musical fusion. You’ll hear influences from Celtic to Indian, African, and Brazilian, and encompassing genres such as new age, chill-out, jazz and who knows what else. Conway epitomizes the term “renaissance man” as he plays a dizzying number of instruments: piano and keyboards, kalimba (African thumb piano), percussion, 9-string, nylon string acoustic and electric guitar, vibraphone, zither, tin and low whistle, voice, and even theremin! He also features some accompanists: Neil Segrott on fretless bass, Georgina Sear on voice, Mick Oxtoby on violin, and Clare Johnson on flute, Of course, with mastering by Kevin Kendle, you don’t even have to ask how this all sounds, do you? Yet, even with all this going on, this is not some over-produced flashy extravaganza. Rather, it’s immensely human in feel and at times intimate in scope. Finally, the liner notes are some of the better written ones I’ve read lately too!

“From One Drop of Rain” begins quietly with kalimba mimicking the sound of water droplets while minimal piano plays over a hushed synth line. Things pick up steam and a lively blend of kalimba, bass, bells, synths and that sparse piano all coalesce into a delightful album opener. The seven and a half minute “Gathering Streams” is a superb chill-out tune with lots of cascading bell tones, leisurely playful piano, soothing layers of synthesizers, spot-on application of wordless vocals, sparkly BecVar-ish guitar and a solid midtempo drum kit rhythm. Celtic influences color “River of Youth” with jaunty Irish liveliness and, once again, Conway’s wordless singing adds, rather than detracts, from the cut. “River of Memory” has a spiritual/mystical aspect to it, emphasized by the presence of temple bells, zither, and gamelan-like keyboards. Both Conway and Sear contribute their unobtrusive wordless refrains (almost mantra-like) to the track. The song builds its drama as it eventually introduces slow tempo percussion elements. “Rapids” energizes with uptempo energy contained in its sexy mixture of chill-out, lounge, and samba flavors yet the spark is somewhat restrained so that it doesn’t spin out of control. “Delta” comes across like a new age number with a blues undercurrent, buoyed by some laid back yet jazzy runs on piano, lightly pealing electric guitar, and Sear’s wordless duets with Conway’s low whistle. Conway goes it alone on the seven-and-a-half minute “Out to Sea/Commingling/Evaporation,” playing keyboards, percussion and theremin. Part flowing melodic new age (built around a repeating note progression), part ambient textures, and part uptempo chill-out, the track showcases Conway’s composing bravado. “Spirit of the River” concludes the CD with a slow-paced gentle amalgam of vocals from Conway and Sear, 9-string guitar, low whistle and kalimba, the mood conveying the gentle flow of a river’s current.

Even if you normally avoid “wordless vocals” on an album, Conway seems to have an innate understanding of how best to integrate the lyric-less singing with his vast array of instruments so that those who might shy away from such a thing should not be intimidated or turned off. I’m impressed at the multitude of instruments Conway wields so artfully on River of Life as well (I also wish to acknowledge the accompanists). There is a palpable sense of beauty and positive energy which permeates this entire album. Drink long and deep from this water source and I can almost guarantee you will be refreshed. Highly recommended.
Bill Binkelman

Rating: Very Good +

Hi, nice CD Chris! What I'm noticing with a fair few New Age composers these days is that they're getting darned good at their craft. I appreciate Chris' work. There's a beautiful balance and many sophisticated elements to this album, which often lifts it out of the confines of the new age genre. - Kinski - new music reviews

Chris Conway from England supplies here a music which creates pictures. This “life stream” is tenderly, playful and mystisch on the one hand, meditative, relaxing
and inspiring on the other hand, like a river from the source in the sea…

Previously released as
River Of Life

Chris Conway River Of Life

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Chris Conway - Spirits of the River

Previously released as River Of Life with this artwork