Arts and Entertainment

Donna De Lory hits Newton Centre

By Justin Quinn
Published: May 2010

Singer Donna De Lory returned to Newton Centre on May 3 for a concert at Samadhi Yoga Center as part of her annual East Coast Tour.

The atmosphere in the studio was electric as she took the stage, backed by cellist and long-time collaborator Cameron Stone and drummer Dave Allen for a two-hour show.

De Lory’s passion for her music radiated as she sang, danced, and played harmonium to the intimate audience of about 80 people.

Since releasing her first solo album in 1993, a self-titled dance record, De Lory’s musical style has evolved with each album as she explored world music and Sanskrit chants, two driving forces on her latest album Sanctuary and in her live shows.

Coming from a musical family, De Lory had been around music her whole life, starting to sing when she was only eight.
In addition to her solo career, De Lory was also a singer for Madonna for over 20 years, performing by her side on large-scale tours like Blond Ambition and Confessions. Even while with Madonna, she toured the world with her own music, playing in yoga centers and larger venues.

This is her fourth time playing at Samadhi, and each time she does, she brings a new energy and intention to her performance.

Naturally, since she is releasing a new remix album this summer, every song performed had a new arrangement that lent itself to movement and dancing.

The show opened with “Sanctuary, the title track of De Lory’s latest album.  Right from the beginning, the audience was captivated by her powerful, pure vocals over the rhythmic music.

The song started out slow, the soothing sound of De Lory’s harmonium filling the room.

After a few minutes, however, a beat kicked in and remained for the whole evening.

She went on to play a selection of songs from her expansive discography. De Lory noted at the beginning that she did not have a set list made for the show, so spontaneous moments and extended jams with her band filled the night.

Not too many artists can pull that off, but De Lory did and the results were incredible.

Mantras from De Lory’s acclaimed 2004 album The Lover and the Beloved, like “Om Nama Shivaya and “Govinda Jaya Jaya, were popular among audience members, dubbed the “Samadhi choir because they sang along so much.

De Lory fuses Eastern and Western inspired music to create these Sanskrit mantras, with their English translations woven in.

The upbeat pace of the show only slowed for one of De Lory’s most well known songs, “In the Sun. De Lory’s powerful vocals, echoed by the chanting of the audience, glided over the new, remixed instrumentation.

She played a small synthesizer pad during this song, adding an additional musical element to the performance.

After “In the Sun, the audience sang along with De Lory to “Jai Ma before she went on to the emotional “He Ma Durga.

Two new songs were performed as well: a lullaby she wrote for her baby daughter and a funky song De Lory and her band have been playing on the road for years’€perfect for audience participation.

The energy De Lory put into her music was contagious, and the audience was swaying and dancing throughout the show.

In a concert where every performance was top-notch, the final song, “Lokah Samasta was by far the highlight of the night.

Allen went crazy on the drums as Stone played the funky Latin rhythm on his cello. As De Lory showed off her dance moves across the stage, most of the audience was inspired to do the same.

When De Lory performs, the audience is an integral part of the experience, and even after the concert ended, the positive energy from the performance lingered in the studio.

After this unforgettable night right in Newton Centre, De Lory continued her tour visiting New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, before returning to her home in California for an upcoming string of dates on the Lilith Fair this summer.

The Lilith Fair is a touring festival that includes artists like Sarah McLachlan, Emmylou Harris, Kelly Clarkson, and Sheryl Crow, among others.

Fans in the Boston area can catch De Lory again in October, when she will play at the Somerville Center for Arts at the Armory.

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