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Astral Jim
August 08/08/19, 2019
The Lightness of Dark: a new Classical Crossover album by Fiona Joy Hawkins and Rebecca Daniels

The renowned Australian and English musicians Rebecca Daniel and Fiona Joy Hawkins present a powerful exploration of loss and beauty amidst life's sadness in an uplifting Classical Crossover style.

On this new album, The Lightness of Dark, the two explore the many facets of life and loss, the search for something positive in the crippling shadows; the resulting album is an example of the potential beauty that can emerge from mourning and sadness. Hawkins and Daniel will be supporting the Classical Crossover-style album with U.S.-based performances in Fall 2019, at Dizzy's in San Diego (, also in Colorado, Julian, CA, and at an exclusive ticketed event in Los Angeles; updates on the duo's Facebook page.

“We believe our album will connect with everyone because we all experience loss in varying forms,” Hawkins says. “It can be the loss of youth, a loved one, a pet, your changing events where we are left to mourn because of loss. People only face their own issues when you lead them to a safe place to do this.”

Both Hawkins and Daniel know that when real life becomes art, experiences can be shared, learned from and resonate with others who are going through similar challenging situations in their lives. Both were channeling the effects of difficult personal experiences into the music they were creating on their own, and soon realized their intent, ideas and visions for what this project could ultimately be melded perfectly.

Music critic Jonathan Widran observes, "While The Lightness of Dark is most-richly experienced in its entirety as the duo converse and ultimately merge their expressions into a singular statement of grace, several pieces stand out thematically" on the 11-track album, including "Interwoven Threads of Chance" and "Ghosts, Insanity, Angels."

The Lightness of Dark weaves its lush, cathartic narrative via music with varying instrumentation depending on the emotions the two are expressing. The opening track “Heavenly Voices” blends string quartet (featuring The Kanimbla Quartet) with organ, piano and vocals. Other tracks, feature solo piano (“Ghosts, Insanity, Angels”), piano/violin duet (“Elegy”), piano with quartet pads (“Lake of Contemplation”), string quartet only (“Interwoven Threads of Chance”), string quartet featuring piano (“Empty Moments”) and other combinations uniquely fitted for the compositions they imbue.

Daniel’s fascination with Trauermusik (mourning or funeral music) began with the study of Paul Hindemith. Hindemith wrote a famous piece of Trauermusik for solo viola and string orchestra, and since performing this in the UK, Rebecca has embraced the rich and layered sounds of viola with string accompaniment. She says, “I drew inspiration for the Theme and Variations on a Ground Bass, from Hindemith's ‘Trauermusik’ and Purcell's ‘Dido's Lament’, which I have performed in the UK. Both pieces are powerfully tragic, and yet the beauty that comes through is deeply moving and engaging, in a way that leaves you uplifted, and wanting the experience again. On the title track ‘The Lightness of Dark,’ for instance, I use viola as a solo voice, as did Hindemith, and a simple descending bass line in the strings and piano, as a repetitive foundation for solo lines, as used by Purcell. The piece is written for string quartet, piano and vocalist, and uses repetition and simplicity to convey an emptiness and yearning, juxtaposed with rich chords in the strings and piano. The listener should be left emotional, yet content and at peace.”

The duo have enjoyed a long history of collaborations, and enjoyed working together with renowned Australian Producer Llew Kiek on the project. Daniel and Hawkins have performed over 50 concerts together including at the Sydney Opera House for the 2012 MusicOz Awards, New Orleans for 2014 ZMR Awards and 2017 Sydney Women’s International Jazz Festival; Daniel has appeared on nearly every one of Hawkin’s solo albums. The two have played together as part of Hawkin’s Blue Dream Ensemble, and Daniel produced the group’s album, Live at the Q.

Rebecca Daniel studied violin and chamber music with Emanuel Hurwitz and the Amadeus String Quartet at The Royal Academy of Music. She worked with Trevor Pinnock and Simon Standage, and The Australian Chamber Orchestra, and was Orchestra Leader for Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, The Sound of Music and Beauty and the Beast. She has recorded and performed with, John Denver, Bread, James Galway and the Chieftains, Will Ackerman, Shirley Bassey, Barbra Streisand, Men at Work and INXS.

Fiona Joy Hawkins, a Conservatorium-trained pianist, renowned for her romantic, melodic songs and lush arrangements, is a prolific composer, who regularly tours China and the USA and is also a member of the Contemporary New Age instrumental group FLOW (Fiona Joy, Lawrence Blatt, Jeff Oster, Will Ackerman). Fiona’s song “Grace" is on a 2014 GRAMMY-Winning album, and in 2016 she won two Independent Music Awards at the Lincoln Centre in New York. She has several Best Piano Album ZMR Awards and regularly works with Producer Will Ackerman (Founder Windham Hill Records) and Cookie Marenco (Blue Coast Records) for hi-resolution audiophile recordings.

The artists invite fans to connect on social media to share stories of loss and healing through music:

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San Diego Concert Info:

Location: Dizzy's Arias Hall

Date: 10.4.19, doors open 7:30pm

1717 Morena Blvd., San Diego, CA, US 92110

Cash or Venmo at the door, or tix online:


The Lightness of Dark is available today for purchase at Amazon, Bandcamp and other fine retailers, as well as streaming at Apple Music and other platforms worldwide, including Spotify:



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