Ophelia of the Spirits
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Ophelia of the Spirits

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Band Folk Adult Contemporary

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"Singles Reviews"

Here's a piano-playing female singer/songwriter who hasn't resorted to the contemporary penchant for emphasising her Australian accent, yet isn't singing with an American accent. Her limpid vocal delivery is studied and articulate, often haunting, even as her accompanists on a track like 'Nothingness' hurtle into chaos. There are hints of Enya & Loreena McKennitt, even Maggie Reilly circa Mike Oldfield's 'Moonlight Shadow', without being twee or cloying. Rather, there's a certain elegiac quality that invariably recalls her Shakespearian namesake. All very pre-Raphaelite really, in an impressionistic musical way. - Drum Media


"Classical & Jazz - Preview - Ophelia of the Spirits"

The music is officially "unclassifiable" but that doesn't stop Alexandra Coghlan tapping into Ophelia's spirit.

Arranging to meet up with someone who goes by the name, "Ophelia Of The Spirits" presents a variety of issues, not least the lack of elven copses and wooded glades in central Sydney, and the undeniable difficulty of obtaining ambrosia (or mead, at the very least) at 11am on a Monday.

"It is a sort of character," singer-songwriter Ophelia explains of her artistic persona, "but it's also those parts of me - those really intense emotions - that you can't really bring out in everyday life. It's hard to lean across the table over a coffee and say, ‘God, isn't there so much pain in the world; how do we make it better?' But I felt I had to engage with those ideas and find a way to bring them out in my music and in the people who listen to it."

With her self-titled debut EP out this month, and a full album also in the works, Ophelia still finds it hard to categorise herself as an artist. "I think my producer actually put the disc into the database as ‘unclassifiable', which is both a blessing and a curse. My tastes are hugely diverse but the one thing that I think is consistent across all the different styles I'm drawn to is that sort of melancholy beauty that music can have. I can definitely feel the Celtic character that people keep talking about in my music, and I don't know how it got there; it must just be something embedded in my consciousness."

Among the more conventional line-up of musical influences that features Lisa Gerrard, Tori Amos and Fiona Apple among others, Ophelia also reveals some more unlikely figures. "When I was growing up and everybody else was listening to pop bands and loving them, I was idolising Rachmaninov! I think it was the depth of the harmony; there's a real Russian intensity to it!"

For Buddhist Ophelia there is also an important spiritual element to composing and performing. "One of the fundamentals in Buddhism is that when you actually let go of the mind and start losing yourself in the moment somehow things end up in the right place. When I was first playing live I used to get very nervous, but when I realised that we were all there to help each other make great music, then it became this totally different experience going out on stage. There's no fear, it's just about sharing, circular communication."

See Ophelia launch her EP at The Vanguard, Wed 7 May. 7-11.45pm.

NB This article is also available online at: http://www.timeoutsydney.com.au/music/classicaljazz/ophelia-of-the-spirits.aspx


- Time Out Sydney


Discography

Ophelia of the Spirits (Self-Titled EP) - independently released digitally 10th May 2008. Re-released digitally & to retail by MGM Distribution 2nd December 2008.

Australia (Music From the Film) - EP. Released digitally 16th December 2008. Features "By The Boab Tree" & "Waltzing Matilda" by Ophelia of the Spirits alongside tracks from Elton John, Rolf Harris & John Butler Trio.

"Shame" Single. Released digitally 10th Feb 2009. Australian iTunes Single of the Week 3rd March 2009.

Photos

Bio

Ophelia of the Spirits was born in 2007 when Sydney-based performer, songwriter and film composer Angela Little was studying for her Masters degree in Screen Music Composition at the Australian Film Television & Radio School (AFTRS). One of only four students accepted into the course after a nationwide selection process, her vision was to develop a compelling creative concept which fosters strong interaction between different art forms including music, film, theatre, and animation/digital media.

The name itself derives from characters in the works of the great playwright William Shakespeare and Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini, and was intended to highlight the importance of promoting artistic, philosophical, and spiritual development and discussion within and between communities. More than a person, Ophelia of the Spirits is a portal to a Jungian inner universe of magic and mystery where the surreal environment serves to question what is real and what is imagined, and ultimately to highlight the truths revealed when we turn inward to confront our own struggles and triumphs, and those of all humanity.

In May 2008 Angela independently released her debut self-titled Ophelia of the Spirits EP, which received airplay on Triple J, ABC, and community radio stations around Australia and shot to #30 on the iTunes Australia charts in its first week of release.

Angela’s vision of combining her songwriting and compositional talents gained momentum when she was brought on board to co-compose Additional Music for Baz Luhrmann’s 2008 film, Australia, in a music team headed by Oscar-nominated composer David Hirschfelder. During the process, she co-wrote and was asked to perform the film’s love song, By The Boab Tree, which featured on the end credits of the film, and was ultimately amongst 49 songs shortlisted for a 2009 Academy Award for Best Original Song from a Motion Picture. In addition, she co-wrote and orchestrated a version of Waltzing Matilda, which also featured on the end credits of the film, and was televised worldwide as part of the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup. Both of these songs subsequently featured on the EP Australia: Music from the Film, alongside songs by Sir Elton John, Australian icon Rolf Harris, and John Butler. The EP was released on iTunes in December 2008, and achieved considerable success on international iTunes Soundtrack charts, with By The Boab Tree reaching #1 in Spain, #5 in Germany and #7 in Italy, and Waltzing Matilda reaching #3 in Spain and #7 in Germany. Following this success, the Ophelia of the Spirits EP was re-released by MGM Distribution in December 2008, becoming available through retail outlets for the first time.

Throughout 2008 and early 2009 Ophelia of the Spirits has continued to perform at venues along the East Coast of Australia, including multiple headline shows at The Basement & The Vanguard in Sydney, and Manchester Lane in Melbourne, building a reputation for staging shows that are visually exciting and strongly focused on storytelling through music and image.

Angela has also been shortlisted for a number of awards over the past year, including two songs shortlisted in the 2008 Australian Songwriters’ Association Awards, as well as being a top ten finalist in the 2008 Musicoz Awards, and a finalist in the 2009 APRA Professional Development Awards for Composition for Film and Television.

2009 has already proved to be a busy year, with the Ophelia of the Spirits single Shame being selected as iTunes Single of the Week in March, and subsequently hitting #35 on the iTunes charts. Currently working on her first Ophelia of the Spirits album, The Secret Garden, Angela is now planning its release while co-composing the music and recording vocals for upcoming Australian feature film The Clinic with Australia’s leading film music production facility and scoring stage, Trackdown.