Music & Poetry
by Fella Cederbaum
Review by Anne Carlini
Courtesy of AnneCarlini.com
On Truth and Destiny, psychotherapist-turned-poet Cederbaum aka MahnoDahno, shares a lifetime of insights on how to transcend disruption – and thrive!
Indeed, isolation and lockdown led to the creation of Truth and Destiny, the debut recording of artistic polymath Cederbaum. On the brand new debut album, the multi-talented author recites a dozen of her poems while performing her original compositions on piano and keyboards.
Coming to terms with the past, cherishing the present and facing the future with lifted spirits are among the themes Cederbaum explores on Truth and Destiny, the first recording from the popular poet who has authored three books: the well-reviewed Of Life and Other Such Matters, Volumes 1 and 2, which came out in 2018 and 2019, and That’s Why, set for 2022 publication.This debut recording from the internationally recognized poet, composer, filmmaker and artist opens on the classically backed, soothing set of Have you? questions, that one and all you know you have indeed considered or been through, and travels on through other such poems, such as letting go of the last thought you were holding, of the last words you were knowing, or the last dream of your past.
And, amongst others, when all hope for the future has been thrown out (The Door), the piano-backed poems of inner bliss (Sprinkled Bubbles) and of when you are finally tired of all your endless thoughts and yet how new ones keep flooding in (Eternally Tickled), and the penultimate wonderment and spiritual wanderings of when it is time to release all your stories of old into the universe (Will You Hold Me).
With Truth and Destiny, Cederbaum offers her poetry as a welcome guide in navigating the current difficulties we are all experiencing, and fining opportunities for self-discovery in the Covid era, challenging us to look at ourselves with acceptance and kindness.
Her musings on truth, love, loyalty and friendship are often soothing though always thought-provoking, replete with words of wisdom that encourage and reassure like a spa visit for the mind and soul.
Oh, and besides writing and performing the music and poetry, Cederbaum is also the producer of Truth and Destiny.
Cederbaum has built an enthusiastic global following for her poetry as a regular guest on WABC radio, broadcast in the New York tri-state area. She has been featured regularly on the station’s weekly Poetry Corner segment, as well as on international streams and widely-available podcasts creating a burgeoning social media presence and earning kudos from the likes of coaching guru Tony J. Selimi.
Review courtesy of PhilsPicks.wordpress.com
Spoken word is not a genre that is for everyone, like any kind of entertainment. It is very much a genre that appeals to a very distinct audience group. To that end, famed poet/author Fella Cederbaum’s debut album, Truth and Destiny is a work that will certainly appeal to a very targeted audience. The main aspect of this 12-track presentation is its lyrical content. This will be examined shortly. While the album’s lyrical content makes the record worth hearing, its musical counterpart detracts from the appeal of the record’s presentation. It will be discussed a little later. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the record. All things considered, they make Truth and Destiny a presentation that will appeal to only a very targeted audience.
Fella Cederbaum’s debut album, Truth and Destiny is an intriguing presentation that will appeal to a very targeted audience. The record’s appeal within that listener group is due in large part to its featured lyrical content. The lyrical content in question is composed of Cederbaum’s poetry. The poems that she recites here touch on a variety of topics. Case in point is the poem, ‘Truth,’ which comes just after the record’s midpoint. Cederbaum asks audiences here, “Do you know what truth is?” before admitting, “I recognize it/But I don’t know what it is.” From there, she expands, discussing the even deeper topic of what exactly is reality, not just truth. The whole rumination about knowing what is true is deep here and is sure to engage listeners.
On another note, the earlier entry, ‘No Gyroscope.’ This poem is deep in its own right as Cederbaum seems to address how we all develop balance and direction in our life based on what happens to us. That is just this critic’s interpretation. Regardless of what she is saying, the reality is that this poem is just as deep as ‘Truth’ and the rest of the album’s poems.
Much the same can be said of another late entry, ‘Dance With Me’ as has been said about the other poems examined here. In this case, the poem, which is accompanied by a subtle tango style musical arrangement (one of the record’s rare enjoyable arrangements) Cederbaum is more passionate in her delivery. She speaks about…well…dancing with someone; being in that person’s arms. She also talks about simply being with that other person. This poem is a love poem, plain and simple. It is a touching work that any romantic will appreciate. When its and the other poems examined here are considered along with the rest of the record’s poems, the collective gives audiences at least some reason to hear this record, if only once.
While the lyrical content featured in Truth and Destiny will ensure audiences’ engagement and entertainment, the musical content that accompanies those poems detracts from the overall presentation to a point. As noted, there is some positive in the musical content, as is heard in ‘Dance With Me.’ The semi-bluesy approach to the music bed for ‘No Gyroscope’ is also a positive. The issue is that they are about the only real appealing musical arrangements. For the most part, the record’s musical content is very melancholy from one work to the next. Right from the record’s outset, ‘When Thoughts Stick To Your Mind,’ the melancholic chamber music style musical bed here wastes no time putting listeners in a less than happy mindset, speaking of which. While it is clear that the arrangement is meant – in Cederbaum’s mind – to help translate the poem’s mood, it is just as quick in the process to make listeners somewhat down. The melancholy continues in the next poem’s musical companion, the poem being ‘The Orchid and the Daisy.’ Given, audiences do get a brief respite from that moodiness in the musical companion to ‘No Gyroscope,’ but are immediately thrown back to that melancholy mood again in ‘The Door.’ ‘Unlive The Lived,’ which immediately follows,’ continues the brooding nature of the record’s musical content. To a point, the pairing of the cello line and the piano here against Cederbaum’s matter of fact tone in her reading is just so somber overall. It will not leave listeners feeling happy, yet again. The melancholic, brooding mood and tone continues from that point on for the most part through to the record’s closer. Again, even as deep as Cederbaum’s poems are, lyrically, their musical counterparts do not help them as they will leave audiences in anything but a positive mindset. If anything they will likely leave many listeners feeling encouraged to skip from one song to the next, hoping the songs’ moods will improve. It is just too bad that they will not and mostly do not. Luckily for Cederbaum, while the record’s musical content detracts greatly from its appeal, the overall content’s sequencing makes up at least somewhat for the shortcoming of that musical element.
The record’s sequencing is of its own importance because it ensures that while the musical arrangements stay largely the same in their moods, the topics in Cederbaum’s poems change clearly from one to the next. This has already been slightly addressed here. From the opening rumination on what happens when a person gets certain thoughts stuck in her/her mind, to the noted examination on what is reality and true in ‘Truth,’ to the romantic approach of ‘Dance With Me’ and so much more, the themes change from one to the next, giving audiences something different from poem to poem. That in itself shows that the sequencing itself does just enough to keep things at least somewhat interesting. When it is considered along with the role of the themes themselves, the two sides are just enough to make the record worth hearing at least once among her targeted audiences.
Fella Cederbaum’s debut album, Truth and Destiny is an intriguing first outing for the famed author/poet. It is a presentation that will appeal to a very targeted audience. That audience will appreciate the varied themes presented in each of her featured poems. They are deep, thoughtful, and moving from one to the next, giving audiences plenty to appreciate and think about. On the opposite side of things, the record’s musical content detracts notably from its presentation. That is because for the most part, the musical arrangements set a decidedly melancholy mood. Sure, maybe they help translate the mood in the poems’ wordings, but that aside, they still maintain a pointedly somber tone from one to the next. This is going to definitely keep more casual audiences from wanting to hear the record. Though, the noted targeted audiences are likely more apt to appreciate this, at least somewhat. The sequencing of the poems makes up for this shortcoming at least to a point in that it makes sure that the noted diverse topics change constantly from one poem to the next. When this is taken into account along with the depth of the poems’ contents, the two elements collectively give the noted target audiences at least some motivation to hear this record. All in all, the album proves to be a work that only certain audiences will find appealing.