Reviews, Articles and Quotes

Cindy Kallet, Ellen Epstein & Michael Cicone

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  • What People are Saying about Kallet, Epstein and Cicone

    • “…sheer beauty… Together they wove a sound as warm and healing as it was technically elegant… The stunning voices, often singing without instrumental accompaniment, summon up visions of a more simple, certain time.” — Daniel Gewertz, Boston Herald
    • “…a marvelous sense of balance among the voices. The music shines, flows, hangs in the air, impeccable… Together the group wove tapestries of magical sound.” –Pat Waring, Martha’s Vineyard Times
    •  ”Unadorned beauty…there are few better trios. The quality of their music is measured in their ability to bring out the best in the audience. Cherished feelings come back, mist comes often to the eyes. You leave the evening with a sense of hope and recovery. There is little distance between those who sang and those who listened.” –John Budris, Martha’s Vineyard Times
    • “Kallet, Epstein, and Cicone may be the best-kept secret in the New England Folk Scene. Their harmonies are throaty, lush and elegant… They did most of their folk-sweet set acapella . . . a bold move beautifully obscured by the richness of their harmonies and the inviting lilt of their melodies. Their set was warm, winningly paced, and thoroughly lovely.”~ Scott Alarik, Boston Globe
    •  “Kallet, Epstein and Cicone are not only masters of well-crafted harmonies, but are masters also of the even greater challenge of presenting their audiences with a well-chosen mix of traditional and contemporary sources of great songs. This ability to weave together the new and the old in an ever-growing body of music in the tradition of acoustic performance is the key to keeping that indefinable genre we call “folk” alive and thriving as we approach the 21st century.”~ Ed Brown, U ‘n’ I Coffeehouse
    •  “When I first heard Cindy Kallet, Ellen Epstein and Michael Cicone, my brains sort of oozed down my legs and started leaking out of the eyelets of my shoelaces! Cindy is well known in these parts as an outstanding songwriter and guitarist; Michael is a superb hammered dulcimer player; and Ellen is one of those charismatic performers that holds a stage on sheer personality. And voices – the harmonies are positively brilliant! . . .DO NOT MISS! ~ Mike Agranoff, The Folk Project
    •  “Cindy Kallet, Ellen Epstein, and Michael Cicone bring their wonderful songs and exquisite harmonies to our stage. They perform traditional ballds, songs of the sea and contemporary music with a sound that is almost ethereal. Their version of “The Last Leviathan” sung acappella is as powerful as anything you will ever hear, and song after song is performed with impeccable taste. Their most recent CD, “Only Human”, is filled with a wide range of marvelous songs. Every time this trio is here, people leave saying it was one of the best concerts they’ve ever heard. It’s hard to believe that three people can create such beautiful sounds.” — The Left Bank Cafe
    •  “The first time I heard Ellen Epstein, Cindy Kallet and Michael Cicone perform, I was so taken by the intermingling of their vocal harmonies and their superb choice of music that I made the acquisition of their cassette tape a major priority. That was back in the late 80s. To this day I must have played that tape ten thousand times. ….the delicate melange of this trio’s harmonies create an aural impression which lingers long after the beautiful strains of their music have ended. Mix in a little bit of guitar or a touch of hammered dulcimer and the results are complete and unforgettable…. (They) have the gift of gleaning the finest music from the traditions of the Old and New World as well as from the best songwriters of our times. Their work is a healthy mix of the heavenly and the earthbound. These three musical voices move effortlessly from one vocal style to another. Haunting, breathtaking, ethereal tones merge in melodies such as “The Lowlands of Holland” and “Ready for the Storm”. But an earthy, lilting, ribald quality slips easily into the lyrics of the “Shantyboatin’” song. They always stretch their artistic boundaries. Their heart wrenching airs of beauty, love, and loss are delicately balanced with gritty tunes of social and political concern or songs of earthy, everyday life. They truly are musical ‘angels in daring’.” –Martha Waide, LITMA News
    • “I wanted you to keep on singing into the wee small hours of the night!! I wanted to yell, “Oh! Please don’t go!”
      I felt so filled with warm, loving feelings as a result of your wonderful songs and exquisite harmonies…
      including the caring and fun between the three of you! Truly, I felt as uplifted as I have in months…..
      The Shanty Boat song transported me. I could feel the flow of the river, soak up the ease and the weather, almost smell the land. In my opinion, you three create (with an appreciative audience) an amazing energy and vibration that helps us remember the joy of who we are. Thank you SO MUCH.” –a fan in Cambridge MA
  • Reviews of Recordings

    Angels in Daring (Overall Music OM-1, 1988)
    • Angels in Daring” [is] a collection of songs that can truly be called unique… The vocal harmonies are daring and often experimental. Truly original…highly recommended.” –Timo Lipping, Amherst Bulletin
    • “Once in a while a version of a song strikes with such impact that you know it is the definitive version of the song and no other need be tried. If this strikes one in every hundred albums, it is a lot…. On “Angels in Daring” there is a whole album of contenders, with “Sail Away Ladies”, “Lowlands of Holland”, “The Last Leviathan”, “Shake These Bones”, and “Terror Time”… It’s amazing good taste.” –Tor Jonassen, WRVD-FM
    Only Human (Overall Music, OM-2, 1993)
    •  ”Only Human” [is] a delightful array of songs drawing from a range as wide as traditional to Bruce Springsteen… “I’m a Mammal”…is alone worth the price of the recording.” –R. Warren, Sing Out!
    HeartWalk (Overall Music, OM-3, 2008)
    • “In time for the spring flowers comes the year’s most gorgeous album. Cindy Kallet, Ellen Epstein and Michael Cicone have delighted audiences since 1981, but this collection of close harmonies takes entertainment to ethereal levels.” Rob Weir, Valley Advocate
    • “Gorgeous. Moving, powerful, beautiful, inspiring, joy-and hope- inducing. When I listen to it, I feel relief. It is an oasis.” Sharon Teitelbaum Master Certified Coach
    • “The problem with the trio of New Englanders Cindy Kallet, Ellen Epstein and Michael Cicone is that their collaborative recordings are so sadly infrequent…This is well-crafted music from veteran performers whose quiet optimism is happily contagious.” (TN) Dirty Linen
    • A Review of Heart Walk in The Vineyard Gazette, July 4, 2008, by Julian Wise

    The folk trio of Cindy Kallet, Ellen Epstein and Michael Cicone have emerged after a 15-year recording hiatus to release HeartWalk,a collection of original songs and folk favorites. While the three may have spent the past decade and a half on other projects, the warmth and sincerity on HeartWalk demonstrates they’ve lost none of the chemistry that earned them accolades on the New England folk circuit for their previous albums, Angels in Daring (1988) and Only Human (1993).

    The trio has performed New England’s coffeehouses and folk festivals since 1983. Ms. Kallet is a singer, songwriter and guitarist with five solo albums under her belt as well as collaborations with Gordon Bok and Grey Larsen. Ms. Epstein has more than 40 years experience as a musician and music educator, including her work as a certified music practitioner who works with ill and dying patients. Mr. Cicone has been active in the Boston arts scene since 1979. in addition to performing with Ms. Kallet and Ms. Epstein, he teaches English country dance and hammered dulcimer.

    Throughout the 15 tracks on HeartWalk the musicians display a mature, gentle touch. The opening track, “Farthest Field,” a cover of David Dodson’s 1993 ballad, introduces gentle a cappella harmonies of old-New England folk music. The song exposes the simple beauty of the human voice and the magic of harmony. “The Shanghaied Dredger” is a lilting maritime fiddle shanty set in the era of the 19th century
    Chesapeake Bay oyster fisheries. Old Zeb is a version of Larry Kaplan’s homage to Zebulon Tilton, the Martha’s Vineyard sea captain who steered his schooner the Alice S. Wentworth through New England’s waters in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Frobisher Bay is an a cappella song about the hardships of Arctic whaling, while “Since You Asked” is a skillful rendition of Judy Collins’s 1967 folk classic, complete
    with finger-picked acoustic guitar notes and vocal harmonies.

    The disc sidesteps the redundancy of many folk discs by mixing in different styles. “Life Comes In” is a jazzy number with a swinging bass line and finger snaps, while “My Heart Is Ready is a speedy a cappella number written by Ms. Kallet that was inspired by the rapid pitter-patter of rain drops falling on a gutter.

    After a pair of instrumental songs (“Swampie’s Fancy” and “Househunting”), the disc closes with Shine On,” Susan Ellenton’s 1997 composition. The track’s gentle a cappella harmonies are a breath of fresh air in the era of sampling and digital enhancement, proving that the human voice, alone and unvarnished, is magic.