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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Review: Galya - If Only

Galya - If Only
2009, Vocation Records

Galya discovered the piano as a 6-year old school girl in her native Ukraine and quickly immersed herself in the works of Debussy, Tchaikovsky and Ravel. Over time Galya developed a taste for the work of David Lanz, Yanni and Keiko Matsui as well as a host of popular artists, but Galya’s piano style lives and breathes in a world of new age music rooted in the classics. These influences bear out on the now Parisian Galya’s debut album, If Only.

If Only opens with the title track, a pretty song full of melancholy and regret. Galya builds palpable emotion into the piano line. "Breath" is cyclical in nature and very full of emotion, ranging in scope from cinematic to over-bearing. "Aquarelle" is a thing of beauty; dark and moody for a time before it takes off and soars. There's an undertone of anger or pain that never abandons the melody line even in its skyward moments. "Riverland" features some of the best emotive work on the album, with Galya using exquisite phrasing and resolutions to bring out the beauty of the composition. "Silence" is full of angst and irony, a contemplative piece full of a refined and distant beauty that Galya shows you glimpses of but is never close enough to grasp. "So Me" is the light moment on If Only, an effervescent tune that plays like bubbles floating on a summer breeze. Galya closes out with "Angel Dust", a solid composition that is an adequate closer but is perhaps not as strong as the several songs that came before it.

Galya's greatest strength is in her phrasing and emotive style, gifts she uses to full effect only intermittently on If Only. At her best, Galya is an absolute pleasure to hear. When not fully engaged, Galya is sufficient for background listening. If Only is about 50/50, enough to make it worth checking out.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Galya at If Only is available as a download through

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