It is said that the hummingbirds teach us to laugh and enjoy creation, to appreciate the magic of being alive and the truth of beauty. Listening to 2002’s album “Hummingbird” (the pre-order/pre-save starts today), I’m happy to report that the same can be said about this inspired release! One would think that no piece of art could ever be as beautiful as the hummingbird. But then the first family of New Age music – Pamela and Randy Copus and their daughter Sarah – release an album that captures its brilliance on so many levels that it leaves the listener speechless.
2002 debuted in 1992 with the album “Wings”. Since then, they have had 13 albums on the Billboard Charts, encompassing various genres and styles. “River of Stars” (2000) spent 74 weeks on the Billboard New Age chart. Their most recent albums are “Celtic Fairy Lullaby” (2016) and “A World Away” (2018). In April last year, they released “Celtic Fairy Dream“. In my review, I wrote: “2002 has always been one of the best New Age music bands, but today it is more apparent than ever that Randy and Pamela Copus’ daughter Sarah lifts the band to incredible new heights. Take my word for it: Even Enya would be amazed by “Celtic Fairy Dream”. It has musical magic dust sprinkled all over.”
The “Hummingbird” album opener is called “Rainbow Cove”. 2002 is in no hurry to get the melody moving, making the listener relax, breathe and prepare. Then we hear a violin, a flute, and a rhythmic guitar. The different melodic segments are introduced in a playful, almost Tubular Bell-ish way. There is an interesting mid-section too, where the piece stops then starts again. The ending with a flute-and-violin duette is mesmerizing. I must also point out Sarah Copus’ vocalization, which is on par with Enya. “Rainbow Cove” is, in short, a terrific opener!
The little hummingbird is everywhere on the album, but especially on “Wind Dancer”. The piece is slightly slower than the title might indicate, carried by a gentle and warm wind. The cello, flute, and piano take the melody to incredible heights; it is the kind of music 2002 do best. It is thought-provoking and with a hint of melancholy. It is a jewel.
“Jasmine Rain” continues where “Wind Dancer” left off. I like how the first two and a half minutes lay the foundation for the guitar lead. Still, the harp is center stage and makes this into something truly divine. No one on the New Age music scene does it better, and that includes Enya too.
First Day of Spring
Talking about Enya, “First Day of Spring” offers vocalization, pluck synths, strings and harp. Notice how light and uncomplicated the intro is and how more complex and darker elements are added as the piece develops – as if illustrating nature’s underlying struggles. You cannot fully appreciate spring and life if you don’t take winter and death into consideration. Its conclusion is epic!
Enjoy the album’s first single, “Gathering the Clouds”:
The reflective mood continues on “Gathering the Clouds”. The violin makes me think of Fionnuala Sherry. 2002 shows that they equal not only Enya but also Secret Garden too. The listener can sense how the clouds are coming in and transform the landscape. It is a masterfully crafted tableau, one that you take with you when the album is done playing.
Up next is perhaps the finest piece on the album, “Sacred Mountain”. Thanks to the guitar it takes off from the beginning, and the violin and flute lift it even higher. The mountain comes to life before our inner eye, filled with magic, spirits, and mystique. Thanks to the wonderful ending, it feels as if we have reached the very top.
This album is not only dedicated to hummingbirds – but rainbows too! “Sunlight in Rain” is a genuine firework of colors, covering the whole spectrum. So when the meditative “Courting the Moon” comes on, it feels good to relax the senses, if only for a few minutes. Then the album is back on track with “Walela”, the Cherokee word for hummingbird. The larger-than-life “Through the Rainbow” takes our mind for one last, high-flying ride – making it easy to envision being free as a bird, if only for five minutes.
In conclusion: 2002’s “Hummingbird” is one of those rare releases where everything is just right. Not unlike the bird, its songs come from deep within. And the best part; it doesn’t require you to listen carefully. You tune in without noticing it. Unpretentious, light, and gentle, these ten exquisite pieces seem to communicate a hope that we humans will find our way back to Mother Nature. I believe the hummingbird is a symbol of that.
I don’t know how 2002 found the strength to record such a positive album during the Covid19 lockdown, but once again they time their release perfectly and give us that energy boost when we need it the most – just like last year’s deeply comforting “Celtic Fairy Dream”. In a discography as strong as this it is always hard to say if “Hummingbird” will end up as an “essential 2002 album” years down the line, but I know with 100 % certainty that it will end up on top of many best of 2021 lists – and be a fan favorite for many. Everything about it is just bursting with colors, movement, and grace.
I will end this review by pointing out that hummingbirds do a thing no other bird can do; it can fly backward! Listening to 2002’s new album, they prove once again that they too are one-of-a-kind. No other artist or band could have made this release. Invite the “Hummingbird” into your playlist. You will not regret it, guaranteed.