Volary has released their catchy, heartfelt CD The Light. The story of San Francisco’s Volary is one with true highs and heart-breaking lows. The woman behind Volary, Samantha Lien, passed away in 2013 after a courageous battle with breast cancer before being able to realize a concrete goal towards which to work. The album, The Light, is a representation of how the beauty of the spirit can live on through the many lives inspired along the way. In order to bring this project to life and share it with the world, Lien’s husband, Alex Kushner, has enlisted the help of musical director Minna Choi and her Magik*Magik Orchestra. In tandem with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The Light will be released on October 16 with a full orchestral performance at the Brava Theater in San Francisco.
Lien began writing the songs while in remission after undergoing aggressive treatment. It took three years after her passing to complete, but in an act of unwavering love Kushner took it upon himself to finish the journey for her, in a difficult, but healing process. The sequencing of the tracks unveils the story of her journey. Lien was inspired by the struggles with the disease passing, not only her battle with cancer, but more importantly what it meant to be alive. The lead track, “OK Tonight” is a 90s-charged song right out of the Riot Grrrl movement, with its infectious melodies and screaming, crunchy guitar solos. It’s bold, catchy, and memorable – you’ll want to listen to it over and over again. Other songs such as “Orange” delve into a more Classical exploration of sound, including the dissonance that can be created in the spaces in between the obvious musical notes. The album truly weaves in and out of light and dark to create a harmonious balance, and a tribute to a great mind, and a greater heart.
Minna Choi never knew Lien, but tried to be faithful to Lien’s vision and artistry, and succeeded beautifully. Volary was the musical outlet created by Australian-born Lien. She released her debut album Out Of Shadows in 2009. Lien worked with notable musicians such as Printz Board (Black Eyed Peas) who produced a version of her song “Let It Rain.” Her upcoming release, The Light, was not finished before her passing, and so Choi and a collection of friends and family saw the project to completion as a tribute to her life and spirit.
You can listen to the song “OK Tonight” below.
Choi admitted it challenging to write what Lien would have liked. But Choi used that to her advantage, allowing her to remain unbiased by only looking at what was internally present in the raw material. She says about the project, “Chances are I’ll never have a project like this again. It felt like a really fulfilling way to make music in a way I’ve never experienced.”
In tandem with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The Light will be released on October 16 with a full orchestral performance with Minna Choi and Magik*Magik at the Brava Theater in San Francisco. The show will be dedicated to Samantha Lien.
The complete track listing is below:
Let It Rain
What’s It Like For You?
You can listen/purchase to Volary’s 2010 release Out of Shadows from the usual musical retailers, including Amazon.com. The catchy, melodic collection of songs is reminiscent of Natalie Merchant at her best, performed with conviction and soul. The album teases the potential of The Light. Volary is a project not to be missed.