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"‘Letter’ bags Poésis’ essence"

Debutantes they’re not, but Poésis’ debut album is definitely a coming-out party.

With “The Letter,” the Manitou Springs band secures a prominent place in the local music scene. The release party for the CD is Thursday night at Kinfolks Mountain Shop in downtown Manitou.

The heart of the band’s “jazz meets indie rock” sound is Xanthe Alexis’ sultry voice and Jonathan Gabriel’s smooth guitar. Their chops made them one of three nominees for best solo/duo act in popular music this year by the Pikes Peak Art Council. He wields his instrument like a snake charmer, luring Alexis out of the basket and causing her to sway and sing. That intimate dance alone is enough to captivate the listener — and for a time it bled into real life when the two were engaged.

But Poésis doesn’t begin and end there. David Cannava’s light touch on percussion is perfect on the bouncy, old-school pop tune “Sunday Morning.” Melissa Jones’ acoustic bass comes to the fore in a dark and foreboding turn on “Psychosis.” And Gabriel takes over lead vocals on two tracks; he’s not as enchanting, but it’s a nice change of pace.

One of the most impressive things about this quartet is its range and flexibility. Musically, they are old beyond their 20-something years. They aren’t afraid to take genre-bending risks, or to infuse their songs with a pop sensibility. Poésis is cool because they are devoted to the music instead of to being cool.

“Healing Me” employs a dancey, tropical rhythm. “Boston” pulls out the fuzzy, indie-rock guitar. “Sunday Morning” sounds like a distant echo from Tin Pan Alley. And “A Thousand Miles” delivers a slow and sexy shuffle, à la Cowboy Junkies, with Alexis’ vocals as the song’s gooey center.

You can’t avoid her voice. It is thick and passionate (think Fiona Apple), with unpredictable ebbs and flows, cracks and surges. She can pull off the slow burn and the edge-ofcontrol climax.

Gabriel’s guitar is a good counterpoint, smooth and controlled and constant. He can rock but he seems to lean toward jazz. His sound is light and airy on the sweet love song, “Before I Was Born,” and you can hear some gypsy-jazz influence on “The Letter.”

The climax of the album comes on “Everything Fades,” which kicks off with the lyric “Santa Claus is every child’s first false God.” The jazzy, Latin beat carries Alexis’ angry, evocative words — a cathartic release before the pleasing denouement of “The Sky Is Falling” to end the album.

It’s a well-considered journey of emotion, within the context of a smart album, a fully realized musical statement about who Poésis is.

Here’s the bottom line: With this release, Poésis is one of the top five rock bands in the area, and their appeal is broad. Check ’em out.

Poésis CD release party for “The Letter”

When: 8 p.m. Thursday Where: Kinfolks Mountain Shop, 950 Manitou Ave.
Tickets: $15, available at the door, (includes the CD and hors d’oeuvres); call 231-7202

- The Gazette Newspaper, Colorado Springs, CO

"Manitou’s Poésis, Set to Release First Album"

Awhile back, Manitou Springs resident Jonathan Sparks made a phone call to a couple of his former University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Jazz Ensemble teammates Melissa Jones and David Cannava, wondering if they’d possible be interested in attempting to put together a new band. Sparks knew he was ready to take his guitar playing to another level, and he felt he found a powerful voice in Manitou Springs’ singer Xanthe Alexis, so all that was left was getting bassist Jones and drummer Cannava on board.
Now, six months later, the band, collectively known as Poésis, is on the verge of releasing its first album entitled “The Letter.”
And to show their appreciation to the town of Manitou Springs for nurturing their talent, supporting them and watching them grow, the band members are throwing a party for the release of “The Letter” next Thursday at Kinfolk’s.
“The reason we’re having a CD release party in Manitou is because this has been the town which has really felt like our home,” said Alexis, who attended Manitou Springs High School years ago. “People have really embraced our music and supported us for the last six months and watched us grow. It’s our way to give back to them. To have the CD be available first in Manitou is our way to thank the community for believing in us.”
“It’s a really nice intimate setting for that,” added Jones about having the CD release party in Manitou.
When the band got together for its first practice, no one was quite sure what to expect, but once they heard each other’s sound, they knew they had something.
“We sounded great. We like the sound from the first time we played together,” said Sparks. “We were like, ‘Wow, this is something.’”
After that, everything just kind of took off for the band.
Sparks and Alexis, who were dating at the time of the band’s inception, said they would write lyrics and have a basic idea of how they wanted a song to sound. They would bring those ideas to rehearsal where Cannava and Jones would begin to pick up the remaining pieces with their own musical talents, and before long, Poésis would have another new song.
The days were sure to be grueling and long, and the hours plentiful as Poésis created its array of sound tracks. Eventually they were able to find venues to play shows all over southern Colorado, including Manitou. And now, with the release of “The Letter,” they feel they’ve definitely banded together and found success as artists.
“I think we all kind of feel a pull from cosmic forces. We’ve met with a lot of success in a very short amount of time,” said Sparks. “We’re just kind of surfing the wave.”
But so much success in such a short time hasn’t been met without resistance. Spending so many hours together with the same people can cause tempers to flare and stress to surface. The members admitted they had plenty of incidents over the past few months, but have managed to stick together and work things out for the good of the band.
“We saw each other more than we saw anyone in our lives,” said Alexis. “We have to communicate like a family. Nobody can be unhappy without the rest of us feeling it. We’ve had some pretty serious blowouts.”
“We’ve all gambled a lot and put this much energy into the band to make it this far in a short amount of time. I don’t think any of us are going to risk behaving poorly or whatever with how hard we’ve worked.”
One of the things which may have attributed to Poésis’ quick success if the different influences felt by the band members. While music is a passion for all of them, their reasons to keep going are all very different.
For drummer Cannava, his father has been one of the biggest influences in his life, but a well-known pianist is what has actually motivated him.
“My two biggest influences in my life are my father, who is also a professional drummer, and then Zoro, the drummer for Lenny Kravitz,” Cannava said. “Both of them have definitely been influences on my drumming and on my life in general. They’ve been encouraging in different ways. They’ve helped me. They’ve inspired me. And then Jason Atkins, he’s a phenomenal pianist. He has been an encouragement to me and motivation.”
Alexis feels what drives her is her need to succeed for her children’s sake. She feels her two boys, ages four and eight, are counting on her. After she left her music career to raise them, she eventually found herself as a single mother in need of finding a way to keep her and her sons’ lives stable. She felt she would go to college to get a job she would hate, or she could risk it all and jump back into music. “I realized if I was going to make a life for my children I was either going to have to go to college and get some sort of job I don’t want to do, or I could risk everything and really try to give my gift, which is my voice, my singing, and my writing,” she said. “That’s what inspired me, to be able to do things for my children.”
She feels one day her boys will be able to look - Pike's Peak Bulletin (Manitou Springs Colorado)


Poésis has released one album titled "The Letter"
The Letter is regularly played on 91.5 KRCC, Colorado Springs, and is available on iTunes, Pure Volume, Indie911, CD Baby, and many other internet radio sites...

This album contains the following tracks.
1. Lucid Rain
2. Healing Me
3. Song for Kristy
4. Boston
5. Sunday Morning
6. A Thousand Miles
7. Shipwrecked
8. The Letter
9. Psychosis
10. Before I Was Born
11. Everything Fades
12. The Sky is Falling



Poésis: (poi-ae-sis) self-creation; the creative manifestation of spirit; often defined as the force that mysteriously holds quantum particles together. From the bosom of the Colorado mountains, reigns a musical collective of four young, but surprisingly seasoned, musicians, who have created the unique ‘jazz meets indie rock’ sound that they call: Poésis. Each musician brings a unique musical history to the table. Xanthe, on lead vocals, developed her sound by way of constant shows with national acts, honing her thick, ‘Ella Fitzgerald meets Fiona Apple twang,’ leading jazz bands around the states. Xanthe is currently one of three nominees for ‘Best Regional Singer/Songwriter’ by the esteemed Pikes Peak Art Council. Jonathan Gabriel, vocalist, co-writer, and guitarist, was forged in the relentless LA fires of rock and roll, graduating at the top of his class at Musician’s Institute in Hollywood. His experience in the local scene is extensive, and he is no stranger to creating the type of atmospheric music necessary for soundtracks, or laying down a raw, unfiltered, impassioned, melodic lead. David Cannava, a well-seasoned drummer, has grown technically beyond his age, spanning the rhythmic gaps between hard rock and jazz. His poly-rhythms glues the band together. Melissa Jones, a young soulful acoustic bassist, knows how to walk with the best of them, and put down some serious funk. Together, the four manifest a mighty force of spirit, the types of deafening sounds one would expect in a canyon thunderstorm, juxtaposed with soft, melodic interplay, improvisation, and raw, spiritual, organic warmth.