Triumphant spirits of soul rise up as one
THE parallels between Toni Childs and Beth Nielsen Chapman are palpable. Independent female American singer- songwriters of similar vintage and quality, they have overcome career- threatening illnesses to reemerge simultaneously with their strongest, most spiritually inflected albums. The title of Childs’s first studio album since 1994 conveys the fortitude that enabled the Kauaibased Californian to deal with an acute thyroid disorder. A documentary song commission from The Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler inspired the comeback. The life- affirming Because You’re Beautiful , which went on to score an Emmy award, is now Keep the Faith ’ s sign- off. The stirring title track is the lead- off. When All is Said and Done , written during the artist’s battle with Graves’ disease, is another song that moves and grooves. The gravitas is counterbalanced by the humour of I Saw God in the Supermarket , the down- home Mama’s in the Kitchen and the chirpy One Life . Nielsen Chapman’s voice is perfect for Prism , a two- disc collection of devotional and spiritually charged songs. CD 1 showcases pieces penned with other celebrated songwriters, plus material by Finnish composer Sibelius and a splendidly named 19th- century British poet, Folliot Sandford Pierpoint. CD 2 is even more catholic, comprising a combination of traditional and contemporary material from Iran, Israel, India, South Africa, Tibet, Cuba, and the Hopi nation, with the Nashville singer, who has overcome breast cancer, coping impressively with some tonguetwisting languages. Nielsen Chapman’s pluralistic, non- academic approach renders Prism fully accessible, even for atheists.