Music Review: Divine Inspiration

ALELA DIANE AND WILD DIVINE by Alela Diane (Rough Trade)


| May-June 2011


Singer-songwriter Alela Diane has a rich, gossamer voice that can pull off yodel-like shifts in pitch, reach down to a bluesy, throaty sound, and draw out round vowels like a jazz singer. It’s impressive enough on its own; deployed in the service of her vivid, hauntingly hopeful folk-rock songs, it’s downright entrancing.

Diane has made a name for herself in France as a singer of mostly spare, poetic folk music. Now settling down in Portland, she has steeped herself in a fuller, deeper pop sound adorned with tasteful flourishes of Americana—but lacking any of the attendant clichés. She comes by her rustic roots by osmosis rather than affectation.

Her songs brim with natural and emotive imagery, and they are suffused with a sense of mystery and wonder that sometimes turns dark but never despairing. Fans of smart modern songstresses like Neko Case and Laura Veirs will find much to like here—but so might those old schoolers who tend more toward Sandy Denny territory.

“This is music, this is madness / Clear the room,” Alela Diane sings on “Suzanne.” No thanks. We’ll stick around.



Cover-165-thumbnailThis article first appeared in the May-June 2011 issue of Utne Reader.














Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!




Facebook Instagram Twitter


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265