Alicia Dara
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Alicia Dara

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE
Band Pop Cabaret


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"State of Grace"

With a thick, soulful swagger Vancouver native Alicia Dara blends rock and soul with a dash of cabaret to create a sound she’s coined to be “goddess rock.” And, in reality, that phrase is absolutely fitting to the music contained on Dara’s 2003 EP State of Grace.

Dara has an intense confidence about her without coming off as forced or insincere. The minimalist production is fitting to the theme of the album—love. Every song contained on State of Grace is written around love, but fortunately Dara doesn’t try to make everything sticky sweet and easy to digest. Her version of love is something less than perfect, therefore it is realistic.

Produced by Tom Hall (Queensryche), State of Grace isn’t perfect but with that said it is organic and lovely and not in the least bit abrasive. Dara possesses a comforting, feminine voice and a knack for writing songs that reminds me of fellow folkies Michelle Shocked, Natalie Merchant, and Lucinda Williams. It is important to note that the only flaw I see with State of Grace is that it isn’t adventurous nor does it seem a stretch. But for now, it will do, and it serves as a good introduction to a woman who manages to write her own music along with playing guitars—not to mention self-releasing her albums on Stegosaurus Records.

State of Grace is an all-too-brief window into the soul of Alicia Dara. She shines throughout most of the EP with only a modest stumble here and there. My biggest qualm with the album is indeed that it doesn’t even attempt to bend the borders, much less shatter them. In any case, I do appreciate and enjoy Dara’s voice and her songs and her lyrics. That combination is what makes Dara stand out from the crowd of independent female singer-songwriters.

While all the songs are pretty decent, there are two of the five that hit closest to home. Album opener State of Grace is funky and free but also cool and wonderful. I adore the groovy guitars not to mention Dara’s vocal style. It seems particularly fitted to this style of soulful rock. And those lyrics…well…

Take my hand and lead me on
As a child I spoke as a child
This voice is my home, I've been waiting so long
And it tears me up inside

The other standout is the intense, thoughtful, acoustic In the Night. The melody is definitely melancholic but also crystalline and true. Dara’s ability to speak from the heart is definitely an asset to her brand of rock. If she lacked sincerity, I wouldn’t be able to take her work seriously. But I believe every word…and this is a major strength.

State of Grace is a decently impressive EP. I’ve yet to be acquainted with Dara’s earlier work, but I’d be interested in examining solo releases Toys and Alchemy in particular. This Seattle resident is definitely one to watch.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Track Listing:
1. State of Grace
2. Inside the Charm
3. Stranger
4. In the Night
5. Temporary Tattoo

Yes - Epinions

"Alicia Dara: Alchemy"

Reviews: Alicia Dara ~ Alchemy
Posted on Thursday, September 06, 2001 @ 16:21:57 EST
Topic: Reviews
Alicia Dara
Artist: Alicia Dara

CD: Alchemy

Home: Seattle, WA

Quote: "Alicia Dara's latest CD releases cosmic energy that seeps into the tiniest pores and cells and allows you to feel the creative process in motion. It is truly a creation. She's taken simple musical tunes and produced art, a feast of listening".

By Les Reynolds

Alchemy: "2. a power or process of tranforming something common into something precious." (Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary)

Alicia Dara's latest CD releases cosmic energy that seeps into the tiniest pores and cells and allows you to feel the creative process in motion. It is truly a creation. She's taken simple musical tunes and produced art, a feast of listening.

The multitalented Seattle musician (who sings lead vocals, plays four guitars and nine other assorted instruments and noise-makers -- i.e., wine glasses) has a deceptively easy and flowing way about her that sometimes masks her quiet strength.

Alicia's voice is clear, precise and passionate -- perfect for the often haunting tunes she sings in her pretty soprano. Sometimes, her voice will reach a crescendo with a staccato utterance, to exclaim something, punctuate a thought or word.

Rhythm is another thing that seems to stand out here -- the word beautiful comes to mind for this as well. These tunes bring out the animal in you, pulling you in, settling into you, causing the entire being (internal and external) to want to move with it. Sultry. Hypnotic yet exciting.

The instrumentation and overall sound is superb, featuring quality engineering by Brad Purkey and Elinor Rimassa. Drums, not usually something quite so noticeable, are expertly played by Kirk Jamieson (who should be getting some notice and demand for his skills). And Alicia herself plays a gorgeous piano, featured on several tunes.

Of the dozen tunes, all of which are penned by Alicia, there is not a spoiler in the bunch. The opener, "Animal," is a magnetic, slow, piano-driven song with lots of melodic repetition. A perfect preface to a wonderful list of tunes: "...Here and now I surrender...I sit here in grace and the animal waits..." Just makes you want to go wherever she leads, doesn't it...

"In the Temple," is a tune featuring soft drumming and easy, pulsing electric guitar with a swaying, medium-tempo. "Stay this crescendo of hope like a thief underneath my skin...Your angel heart beat inside mine all this time...and the temple is the only place where I can show you who I am..."

A very primitive spiritual utterance is the essence of "Raga," exuding a Native American aura and featuring only percussion and Alicia's voice: "Sacred rhythm take me in your arms, come and live through me...Sacred ember flows inside Keep this body warm Heaven's only daughter rise ready to be born."

Throughout the entire CD, there is a spiritual thread, something cosmic, a universal feel, something very deep and sacred being created. "Over My Bones (Archangel) is perhaps the very essence of that and all that's wonderful about this CD. It brings all the best elements together. It's strong beat, electric guitar and Alicia's alternating soft and sultry and strong voice make this easy rocker the best of the 12. "Archangel, I give you my voice and you sing over my bones and wings of fire rise from my life..."

Can't you just feel that? Another line that seems to just sum up her entire musical experience (and even that of the listener) is this (from "Animal") : " it all turns around Here and now I surrender...Fresh from the edge to get my soul free. Come into my heart you can feel it through me."

This is one creative gem that will become part of your very breath and heartbeat as you listen

Artist Website: - Indie-Music


This is a wonderful, powerful album full of evocative, razor blade introspection that pours out over Dara's guitars and vocals which both come at you with the kind of open, revealing charms that just might leave you bleeding. The leadoff track, "Virgin Kiss" is a remarkable song that speaks of independence and vulnerability in the same urgent breath; a theme which is repeated through quick, poetic imagery against the beat of electric guitars. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Bryan Baker 1/10/2000.

- Gajoob


2010- The Volcano Diary (produced by Steve Fisk)

2008- "The Secret Dream of Tigers" CD
2003- "State of Grace" EP
2001- "Alchemy" CD
1999- "Toys" CD
1997- "Thrive" EP



�Well-produced with lush sonics, Dara knows how to make a melodic record�a talented vocalist with a wide range and charming voice� �Indie-Music.Com

�[Covering] David Bowie�s �Heroes� is a hard feat� but Dara�s version has it�s own soul�- CollectedSounds.Com

Chroma Records� newest signing is Alicia Dara. Born in Vancouver BC, Alicia is the daughter of Grammy winning symphony musicians. Trained at an early age as a vocalist, Alicia explored musical theatre and cabaret before writing her first record of original songs in �97.

�The Secret Dream of Tigers� is Alicia�s new CD. In the vein of Aimee Mann�s �Bachelor Number 2� and Rufus Wainright�s �Poses�, �The Secret Dream of Tigers� is a musically eclectic group of songs that explores several different styles in service of a larger theme. Alicia dedicated it to �all the artists, with love and encouragement�, and the metaphor of interaction with tigers (who are mentioned on 5 of the 12 songs) serves to illustrate an artist�s struggle with demons both inner and outer.

The culmination of 2 years of work with producer Jason Staczek, it features a host of Seattle luminaries including Ian Moore, Mia Boyle, Andy Stoller, Johnny Sangster, and Dave Brogan. Standout tracks include �Trouble�, a love song that features Alicia�s stunning soprano voice at its most seductive, and a cinematic cover of David Bowie�s �Heroes�. �Black Muddy River� praises the power of female appetites, while �Leather Jacket� reads like a cautionary tale about buying into the evils of one�s own image.

So far in 2008 Alicia has shot a music video for �Black Muddy River� (due on YouTube later this year) and signed a publishing deal for film and TV soundtrack representation. Alicia also went on a summer pre-release tour. She played at the Knitting Factory in New York, the Limelight in Nashville, and at Genghis Cohen in LA. �The Secret Dream of Tigers� will be released on Wednesday October 8th.