There is a connection between the ocean and humans. No matter where we live, we understand and care for the sea. It is embedded in our psyche. Kirsten Agresta Copely’s new album Aquamarine is an homage to her mother, and their mutual love of the ocean. This connection too is something that we grasp intuitively. We “get it”, from the very first note, and this is perhaps why Aquamarine has such a profound effect on the listener. This unique voyage into the deep blue sea feels significant, timeless, and heartfelt.
An international award-winning harpist and composer, Kirsten Agresta-Copely is hailed for her charismatic, telegenic presence on stage and known as the industry’s go-to harpist in the recording studio. Kirsten has performed with today’s leading artists, including Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, Enya, The Roots, Lady Gaga, and Andrea Bocelli, to name a few.
Kirsten’s contributions to the world of music education are equally significant, having held esteemed positions at Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music and Sarah Lawrence College. She earned degrees from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and is on the World Harp Congress Board of Directors.
Aquamarine is Kirsten’s second New Age music album. Her first, Around the Sun (2020), won “Outstanding New Age Performance” in the 2023 Grand Prix Music Awards; received the Silver Medal from the Global Music Awards; and garnered Listener’s Choice in the New Age Music Guide Top 10 Albums of 2020.
Aquamarine is, as mentioned above, an album with a back story: Kirsten’s mother (1936-2023), a remarkable pianist and former Miss Michigan, played an integral role in shaping her daughter’s musical journey. From their earliest moments together at the piano, to countless hours of travel for harp lessons and performances, her mother’s unwavering support and guidance set the stage for Kirsten’s artistic development. After recording and mixing the album in her newly built recording studio in Brooklyn, New York, Kirsten declared, “It was healing for me to record the compositions that were created throughout my Mother’s prolonged decline and transition.”
“I consider myself fortunate to have the ability to create within a secure and safe space, where I can breathe new life into melodies that bring solace to my spirit. My hope is for listeners to experience the therapeutic power inherent in both music and the ocean,” says Kirsten.
As the first notes on the title track wash over us, it doesn’t take long to sense that Kirsten has extraordinary beauty in store for us. Turquoise water, waves and blooming underwater life – from coral reefs, shells to fish and all other kinds of marine creatures – all come to life in an instant. Needless to say, the harp is a perfect match for anything water-related. Aquamarine sounds timeless and immense. It is a terrific album opener! But don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself:
Next out is I Am Water. Any body of water, either a big ocean or a small lake, has a personality. The melody is joyous, proud even, as if the water is revealing many of its secrets. It sounds so clean and clear. I Am Water is such a terrific piece, a winner from start to finish!
This is, as you probably have understood by now, an album about light and colors. The glass octopus’ enigmatic, transparent nature shines bright thanks to Kirsten’s harp. We can sense how it glides elegantly on the current. Perhaps the harp plucks here and there indicate how light passes through it? It Is such a delicate creature, and an equally delicate composition. Only a true harp virtuoso like Kirsten can capture its magic.
Deep Blue World is the album’s heart. The low and slow notes paint a dark tableau of this alien world. The few high notes are sharp, perhaps showing how life down here has its own set of rules? It is an important part of the ecosystem, and a vital part of the album too. We don’t stay long, though. Surfacing, which features Tess Remy-Schumacher on the cello, takes us back into the light again. There is a perplexing melancholy here. It might be a comment on how many (if not all) of the oceans’ problems originate from above the surface?
The meditative Sea Idyll leads us towards warmer waters. It is a gorgeous piece! Its light and uncomplicated atmosphere feels incredible; It is a moment of total bliss. The playful Naiads further underlines the feeling of being close to a something divine and everlasting. Nearer the end, the warm and colorful Coralline completes the tableau of a stunning underwater world.
It is time to resurface, but it is with some apprehension. A melancholy seems to hang over Into the Mist, which features cellist Dave Eggar and violinist Maggie Gould Wilson. It is a sad piece. Saying goodbye is tough, especially to a loved one. It is a key track on the album.
In conclusion: “The sea is like music. It has all the dreams of the soul within itself and sounds them over,” Carl Young said. On Aquamarine, Kirsten Agresta Copely captures all the magic of this incredible, blue world. I’m especially impressed by how vast the soundscape is. It is not just the reverberated harp. The compositions too communicate depths, the shifting colors and the currents. It has the same effect as the flute compositions on Terry Oldfield’s classic Out of the Depths (1993). It is that good.
Another aspect of Aquamarine is the dedication to Kirsten’s mother. Many releases have such dedications, of course, but this one seems to be especially significant for the end result. It is deeply moving and adds a dimension of gratitude to the listening experience. Old symbolism portraying the sea as a mother also plays a part, I think.
Even though 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is water-covered, we tend to forget about the importance of the sea. Listen to Aquamarine by Kirsten Agresta Copely, and its significant role in everyone’s lives will manifest itself. There is beauty in that. And an ocean of love, too. Highly recommended!
For more information and music samples, visit kirstencopelymusic.com.
See our Kirsten Agresta Copely coverage: newagemusic.guide/tag/kirsten-agresta-copely