Reviewed by Matthew Cordle
The Riveras have, in the last few years, released a number of CDs of spontaneous musical worship with a distinctive style, largely led by Alberto on the piano and Kimberly singing, with additional input from other members of their Tennessee-based music team on violin and drums. Whilst worship music is usually lyric-led, this is instead music-led, and various instrumental music, wordless singing and the occasional words flow out as the group allows the presence of God to infuse them and inspire their playing. They flow together remarkably well, seeing as they never rehearse these times! The idea of "soaking music" is to literally soak in God's presence with it "a meeting place where two lovers demonstrate their passion and care for each other." This CD comprises a musical journey that ebbs and flows with tracks labeled simply as "Awaken", "Soar", "Resting Place", "Glory" and such like showing the thoughts going through the musicians' minds. Emotively, the entire CD progresses towards the penultimate track, "Show Me Your Face", the only words-based song on the CD, based on Moses seeing God's glory on Sinai, a passionate prayer for God to show us his face. The violin adds a wonderful pathos, Kimberly has a beautiful poise to her voice when quiet and power when loud, and Alberto is obviously an extremely competent pianist, although the piano sounds a little harsh on the louder passages. As a church musician the "soaking" approach seems very liberating. The fact that these musicians can improvise so creatively and effectively is testament to God's gifting, and even though I have heard the Rivera's music previously 'Live Soaking Sessions Vol 1' makes me want to check out more of their CDs.
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