Wowthe more I listen, the more I like it …

Beyond the Waves” is an impressive production; energetic, exciting, fresh and original… and always musical. It consists of fourteen tracks: mostly small ensemble, some just harp and bass, two harp solos. The ensembles masterfully blend the harp with cello, violin, soprano saxophone, and accordion, in turns, as well as bass and percussion. The harp is never lost; it weaves beautifully with the sax, for example.

Sharlene is a strong and masterful player.

The ensemble musicians are excellent. The sax and violins merit an x-rating (for excellent). I must mention the use of the accordion as a single-line solo instrument. I don’t recall ever hearing accordion like this. It adds a marvelously delicate, plaintive voice (along with violin) to “Habanera Gris,” among others.

Latin-American rhythms predominate (I would say nine out of fourteen cuts). In fact, two of the pieces are by Alfredo Rolando Ortiz. One of them — “El Rio” — is absolutely delightful. (I’m not surprised; I was impressed by Sharlene’s performance of Alfredo’s “Llano”, on an early recording.) It begins with an octave ostinato on the harp, adds a repeating bass pattern, and builds. It made me feel like I was standing on a mountaintop, watching the sun rise.
– M. Landy, Folk Harp Journal (2005)

“And speaking of that whole Enya/Loreena McKennitt take on Celtic music, this is probably as good at time as any to also recommend Beyond the Waves by harpist Sharlene Wallace.”
– Charles de Lint, author

“When we sold out just through word-of-mouth and without even advertising the performance, I knew she was good. But the first time I heard Sharlene play I was in an adjoining room: The music was so intense, so vibrant, so amazing I thought there was a trio playing. How can you do that with just one set of hands!?”
– Les Jones, Bookstore Cafe, Camden East (2005)

Sharlene is … one of our most important lever harp interpreters and composers. This CD (“Beyond the Waves”) has a general water theme, and the tunes, particularly the ones she has written, are connected to that theme in various ways. But these are not of the dreamy meandering style – they’re much more exciting than that. Many of the pieces feature the addition of one or more instrumentalists from a great ‘back-up’ band of cello, accordion, violin, bass, percussion, and (my favourite) soprano sax. The accompanying is easily among the most tasteful (to my ears) and musical I’ve heard in a good while.Sharlene’s playing is stellar: rhythmic, clean, (very clean), and precise; always going somewhere, but never rushing. Really something to strive to emulate! Sharlene has composed 9 of the 14 tracks; the others include a couple of tunes by Alfredo Ortiz. Great artwork and design, too, further indications of Sharlene’s creativity and attention to detail.”
– Marilyn Rummel, British Columbia (2004)

This is not just your harp music with a pretty face – it is smoky, saucy and flirtatious, serving up a delicious blend of drama and daydreams.
– Susan S.H.

“... Sharlene Wallace & Kim Robertson’s new album for 2 harps. If you love celtic/world music, you will be blown away by the awesome textures and beautiful melodies.”
– Frank Horvat, composer, pianist

Sunday noon. We find relief from the burning sun in the shade of a tarp over a wooded stage not far from theriver. Ontario-based harpist Sharlene Wallace teaches us how to pluck a string and plucks more than a few herself, transporting us to serene internal landscapes.” (Vancouver Island Music Festival 2007)
Postcards from Courtenay by Tricia Dower

“Today is the first Sunday in Advent and I am officially in the Christmas spirit. And the concert I attended Saturday night was the best way to start the season. Durham Region Concert Association hosted harpist Sharlene Wallace, flutist/pianist Susan Piltch and George Koller on bass. This trio played a variety of Celtic, Christmas and original compositions that left everyone on cloud nine. Their arrangement of Schubert’s Ave Maria was, well, heavenly. And Wallace was great at talking to the audience. She even took time out to answer a question about her harps – a classical or pedal harp and a Celtic or lever harp. The classic harp has, besides all those strings, seven pedals each with three notches which give the notes the required flats, sharps or naturals. Great music and an education at the same time.”
– concert attendee 2006 – Anticipation

“Completely captivating from the first few notes. Takes you to a place where you want to stay.” (Anticipation  – Sharlene & Susan Piltch)
– M.K. Classical 96.3FM

“A joy to listen to. ANTICIPATION is the first release of the combined talents of harpist Sharlene Wallace and flutist/pianist Susan Piltch. With relaxing yet powerful playing and arranging, this all original music is “up-tempo contemporary instrumental with a touch of the Celtic. Eminently listenable.”
– Renée Gelpi, Programmer, Galaxie CBC Digital Radio

“Wallace’s sound is a combination of Jazz, Classical, New Age, Latin and Celtic Folk. The pieces are visual, cerebral and full of rhythms… Sharlene’s harp-playing generates a sense of profound romance.”
– Teresinha Costa, eye for the future, Toronto

“A fantastic, joyous musical adventure that ended far too soon.”
Ian Hepburn, director “Music Alive! Musique en Vie”,Vankleek Hill, ON

“Hi Jurgen Goth – CBC, I love your show, listening to discdrive is a great way to wind down at the end of my workday. In case you take requests: I would like to hear more from Sharlene Wallace.”
– Elisabeth

“The rhyme and the river has an ongoing motion, that starts from the first song and flows through to the last. Wallace has a tender and whispery touch to the harp, which tends to make it sound lush–as if it were singing. Her patient rhythmic sense, careful attention to dynamics, and the lightness of her technique make her soft music very shapely and warm. In the brighter and faster songs, her awareness of accuracy and the exuberance with which she plays makes everything easy to the ear and extremely refreshing.

I particularly appreciate the sensitivity she brings to the construction of her songs. There are times when I can hear the river dropping into swells and trickling into brooks, the rapid water rushing against the rocks, and water dripping over waterfalls. Even more engaging is the tenderness in which she adds other intruments (bass, guitar, triangle, and fiddle) to the subtle ebbs and flows. The counter-rhythms add to the feeling of nature’s own randomness and uncertainty of where the river will, eventually, go.

I greatly appreciate this album, and would highly recommend it.”

– Sean Mahoney 
originally published in the Folk Harp Journal (1997)

“Contemporary Canadian harpist Sharlene Wallace melted the snows of winter at her recent performance in Vankleek Hill (Ontario) – March 6, 2005. With her fiery playing and warm audience rapport, Sharlene transported the listeners into her musical world “Beyond the Waves” – Sharlene’s latest CD. Whether playing original works, such as Lost River, Dream Habanera and Wallace Bay; or interpreting the work of Alfredo Rolando Ortiz – Llano, El Rio or the searing Merengue Rojo – Sharlene displays a meticulous control that, while technically virtuosic, always manages to be sensuous and organic, all the while appearing as easy as child’s play. A personal favourite, “Windows on the Sea”, shows Sharlene at her best. This work opens with a gorgous celtic-inspired piece, written by Canadian wind player Craig Noseworthy, then soon moves into Sharlene’s playful South-American inspired rhythmic vatriations. A highlight of the concert was Sharlene’s 3-movement “Island Mountain Suite”. This airy, verdant work is a gem – mixing elements of celtic dreaminess, rhythmic complexity and beautiful, memorable melodic writing. This was performed with fellow harpist Lucile Brais Hildesheim and brought the comment from many listeners that it was like hearing harps in stereo. Fabulous bassist George Koller accompanied Sharlene on many of the pieces on the programme and brought an added dimension of rhythmnic verve and harmonic profundity. A fantastic, joyous musical adventure that ended far too soon.”
– Ian Hepburn, director of concert series “Music Alive! Musique en Vie”, Vankleek Hill, Ontario

“We’ve had some very successful workshops recently. Sharlene Wallace delighted a packed room with her Celtic harp expertise.”
– Ottawa Folklore Centre, Ottawa, ON (2005)

2005 Mozart Harp and Flute Concerto: “The andantino gave Miss Wallace more opportunity to demonstrate not only the instrument, but also her capacity to make it sing. Wallace’s distinctive plucking carried each note throughout the theatre, sounding positively angelic. The melodic and well-known rondeau brought the piece to a glorious finale.”
– Danny Gaisin, Oakville Today (2005)

“…so fluid and musical that it could take your breath away.”
– Harp Notes Ontario

“Sharlene Wallace may not be a household name here in Canada; indeed, if she were a racing car driver with her accomplishments, her name would have been spread across every newspaper and news report …”
– Steve Fruitman, CIUT-FM University of Toronto Radio

“…a harpist who takes chances!”
– Lise Watson, ’twas, Toronto

“soulful, emotional performances”
– The Multicultural Heritage Centre, Stony Plain, Alberta

“an accomplished, innovative harpist …impresses with the intensity of her playing …a personal style that is at once rhythmic, ethereal and slightly exotic.”
– Don Butler, The Ottawa Citizen

“…so much intensity and musical depth that she took us away to another world.”
– G. Davies, International Folk Harp Journal

“a good Celtic harpist is hard to find these days… luckily, Toronto based Sharlene Wallace has stepped up to bat …gregarious Wallace …is all about good vibes, as her lovely disc shows.”
– NOW Magazine (November 1997), Toronto, ON

“a talented harpist and composer …a fine instrumental offering” (the rhyme & the river)

“In concert she enchants, from the muscular rhythms of her South American songs, through the foot-tapping Celtic airs to her own haunting compositions….the rhyme & the river highlights (Sharlene ¹s) diverse musical talents and is one of those leave-in-the-CD-carousel-for-months gems. She is an exceptional harpist with an evocative and compelling style … warmth and light of the harpist’s magic!”
– Martha Keil, writer, Toronto, ON

“The harp has a healthy future in contemporary music thanks to performers like Toronto harp virtuoso Sharlene Wallace …who cuts an impressive path between Celtic, folk and Latin styles on her debut disc the rhyme & the river. Harp talents don¹t come much more highly recommended.”
– Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal

“a fine collection of transcendent tunes which sparkle &resonate with Wallace’s masterful technique.”
– Jared Sizer, Soundscape Saskatoon

“the rhyme &the river has an ongoing motion that starts from the first song and flows through to the last …lush …shapely …warm “
– Sean Mahoney, Folk Harp Journal, USA

” …. she plays with fortitude …steering the boat into different fantasy realms, stroking mythological landscapes with her tender touch, all with a unique South American soul that bonds the creative forces together.”
– Darcy Losell-Cowall, eye for the future (1998) Toronto,ON

“Journey of Shadows is an excellent album to get if you like the harp and want something rooted in tradition but with a bit of a twist. Wallace delivers on both counts.”
– Tom Knapp,