Tag Archives: Heather Findlay

Mantra Vega announce album release and launch party

Mantra Vega & Dave Kerzner Poster

Mantra Vega announce the release date of their long-awaited album “The Illusion’s Reckoning”

After almost 2 years in the making, Monday January 25th 2016 will see the release of The Illusion’s Reckoning from transatlantic project band, Mantra Vega co-founded by Heather Findlay and Dave Kerzner  (Sound of Contact).

“The Illusion’s Reckoning album features lead vocals from Heather Findlay; keyboards and vocals from Dave Kerzner whilst at the band’s core is rhythm section Alex Cromarty on drums and bassist Stu Fletcher along with lead, rhythm and acoustic guitarists Chris Johnson (Halo Blind) and Dave Kilminster.

Joining the project for special guest appearances are Nightwish‘s Troy Donockley on vocals and lead guitar; Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon) lead guitar; Irene Jansen (Star One/Ayreon) on vocals; Angela Gordon (Mostly Autumn/Odin Dragonfly) on recorders and vocals and Dutch woodwind player, Remko de Landmeter on Bansuri.

“The Illusion’s Reckoning is a concept album flowing more like a film score than a more typically linear piece. The album’s journey is painted with far reaching audio moodscapes which in their diversity, purposely echo thoughtful lyrical themes. The album is delivered in a predominantly progressive rock package, but at times takes on a hard rock, contemporary, retro, and even acoustic, folksy twist…”

And there is to be a “Moorland Gathering” the celebrate the launch

To celebrate the release, there will be a very special pre-release party gathering at The Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge (spiritual home of many of the band’s musicians) on January Saturday 23rd January. There will only 60 tickets available which will include a meal, one off acoustic performance from Heather, Chris, Angela, Stu and Alex (and may also feature one or two very special guests!) Slightly ahead of the scheduled release date, this event will be a chance to buy and hear the album for the first time!

Making this event all the more special is the fact that this will be a one off for the now retired, legendary moorland venue too!

Tickets for the event will be just £20 and will go on sale on Monday 30th November at 9am from www.mantravega.co.uk

Depending on number wishing to travel via this option, there may be a coach/bus which will run from York across the North Yorkshire Moors and back for those wishing to travel from the nearest city.

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Mantra Vega announce January album release

Mantra Vega & Dave Kerzner Poster

Mantra Vega have announced that their long-awaited album “The Illusion’s Reckoning” will be will be released on 25th January, with pre-orders taken from 7th December from the Mantra Vega website.

The album is a collaboration between Heather Findlay and Dave Kerzner, with a band featuring Dave Kilminster, Chris Johnson, Alex Cromarty and Stuart Fletcher, with guest appearances from Angela Gordon and Arjen Lucassen amongst others.

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Mantra Vega Live

Mantra Vega & Dave Kerzner Poster

Mantra Vega and The Dave Kerzner band have announced two co-headline live dates at the 350-seat Joseph Rountree Theatre in York on the 3rd and 4th October.

Tickets go on sale on Friday July 17th, full details on the Mantra Vega website.

Update: Unfortunately these dates have been postponed. As stated by the band:

Due to unforeseeable circumstances touring plans have been placed on hold.

We apologise for any incovenience caused. 

Meanwhile we will be keeping you updated on the progress of ‘The Illusion’s Reckoning’ which is scheduled for release 5/10/15.

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Mantra Vega – Island

Mantra Vega, the new project from Heather Findlay and Dave Kerzner release the digital single “Island”, the lead track from the forthcoming album “The Illusion’s Reckoning“, available from Bandcamp, iTunes, Google Play and Amazon

The single release contains four tracls, including the songs “Mountain Spring” and “Every Corner”,and a radio edit of the lead track, and features guitars from Dave Kilminster & Chris Johnson and the rhythm section of Stuart Fletcher & Alex Cromarty.

There will also be a physical releasee of the single, which you can order from the Mantra Vega web site.

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Ayreon’s Human Equation on Stage

Ayreon Human EquationAyreon’s prog opera “The Human Equation” is to be performed on stage, with a cast including Heather Findlay, James LaBrie and Anneke van Giersbergen, all of whom appeared on the original concept album.

The concerts take place at the Nieuwe Luxor, Rotterdam, on September 18, 19 and 20 this year.

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Lonely Robot Launch Party

John Mitchell, Heather Findlay and Steve Hogarth

John Mitchell held a launch party Lonely Robot’s Please Come Home on Monday 23rd Feb at The Lexington in London. It was a star-studded event, with attendees including Steven Wilson, as well as the many musicians who’s guested on the album, such as Heather Findlay and Marillion’s Steve Hogarth (above)

Heather Findlay duetting with John Mitchell on

Although the event was laregly a meet-and-greet, John Mitchell did play a short acoustic set accompanied by Liam Holmes on piano, and joined by two of the guest singers who’s appeared on the album. Here’s John and Heather duetting on “Why Do We Stay”, one of the album’s highlights.

Kim Seviour singing

Touchstone’s Kim Seviour was the other guest on stage, for the song “Oublette”. The album, perhaps the first essential progressive rock album of 2015, was released on the day of the event, and you can read my review here.

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Lonely Robot – Please Come Home

John Mitchell - Lonely RobotJohn Mitchell is a well-known figure in the British progressive rock world, lead guitarist of both Arena and Frost*, and frontman for the current incarnation of 80s veterans It Bites. Now, after more than a decade as a member of multiple bands at the same time, he’s finally launched a solo project, Lonely Robot.

John Mitchell plays the majority of instruments himself aside from drums by Craig Blundell. Guest musicians include Mitchell’s Frost* bandmate Jem Godfrey appears on keys, and Marillion frontman Steve Hogarth who finds employment on piano on a couple of songs. Legendary virtuoso Nick Beggs also makes an appearance on bass and Chapman Stick. Likewise Mitchell handles the majority of the vocals himself, although he’s joined by guests including former Mostly Autumn singer Heather Findlay, Touchstone’s Kim Seviour and Go West’s Peter Cox. Finally, voice actor Lee Ingleby provides background narration right across the record.

The end result is a varied but hugely impressive album. It goes from dense guitar-heavy industrial prog-metal to gorgeous ballads to uptempo 80s-style pop-rock, with imaginative arrangements that frequently veer off in unexpected directions. There is plenty of fluid lead guitar, but this is an album about songcraft and atmospherics rather than a guitar-chops record, and Mitchell keeps the solos short and to the point. It’s all given the sort of clear and crisp production we’ve come to expect from anything John Mitchell is involved with.

Highlights include the guitar-shredding instrumental opener “Airlock”, the beautiful duet with Heather Findlay, “Why Do We Say”, the ambitious and kaleidoscopic title track, the somewhat Tangerine Dream-like “Are We Copies” and the soaring ballad “Humans Being”, featuring a guitar solo from Nik Kershaw. But this is one of those albums that doesn’t have any filler; every song has something to commend it.

While there are certainly echoes of It Bites and of Frost*, this record is its own thing, and despite the variety it hangs together very well as a coherent musical whole. The various guest artists all enhance the record without stealing the show, and the end result is the first essential record of 2015 from the British progressive rock scene.

Thus review also appeas in Trebuchet Magazine.

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Mantra Vega Update

Mantra VegaIn a blogpost entitled “Beyond the realms of summer wine“, Heather Findlay gives an update on the progress with Mantra Vega:

I’m finding the creative themes behind the album are really mirroring a lot of my own personal journey this year, which in itself has had one or two rather unexpected twists and turns, leaving me with a lot of gratitude for the freedom I have within this project to have been able to explore this musically. Dave has had a very intuitive approach to working with me which has allowed for what will be I think a very authentic, heartfelt piece of life art. (If that’s even a thing!) The amount of times that just the right piece of music has been mysteriously supplied by Dave at just the right time is a work of art in itself! I hope you will agree and very soon you will be given the chance to decide for yourself.

Moving forward, the Mantra Vega shape of things is likely to take form via single being released in the very early part of 2015, closely followed by the album itself when we’ll explore the prospect of doing some live shows with the possibility of appearances on both sides of the Atlantic being discussed.

You can keep in touch with what’s going on by either liking the our MV Facebook page, or by joining my mailing list here

As well as that, Heather will be making a guest appearance of John Mitchell’s forthcoming solo album “Lonely Robot”.

2015 is looking like getting off to an exciting start with the long awaited albums from Karnataka and Chantel McGregor also expected early in the new year.

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Trinity Live

Christina Booth of Magenta at Trinity LiveChristina Booth

Trinity Live was originally intended to have been a triple-headlining tour by The Reasoning, Touchstone and Magenta. But the tour had to be cancelled when Magenta’s vocalist Christina Booth was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

The bands decided to keep one date from the proposed tour, at The Assembly in Leamington Spa, and repurpose it as a charity show in aid of three cancer charities. The Reasoning and Touchstone would still appear, along with Rob Reed of Magenta performing as “Rob Reed and Friends”. The show expanded to a day-long event with a number of prominent additional names from the prog world added to the bill, including the mighty Arena as headliners. Then, only a few days before the show came the announcement that Christina Booth’s cancer treatment was going sufficiently well that she would be well enough to perform a short set, so Rob Reed and Friends became Magenta.
Continue reading

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Heather Findlay and Dave Kerzner form Mantra Vega

Mantra VegaPhoto with permission from Mantra Vega, photographer unknown.

A big announcement from Heather Findlay today.

Mantra Vega is a new transatlantic progressive rock band from Myself and Dave Kerzner (former founding members of the bands Mostly Autumn and Sound of Contact respectively) along with Chris Johnson (Halo Blind), Stu Fletcher (We Could Be Astronauts), Alex Cromarty (Mostly Autumn) and featuring legendary guitarist David Kilminster (Roger Waters).

Melding together their wide range of styles and influences in Progressive, Classic and Alternative Rock, Mantra Vega offers a fresh blend of female and male lead vocals and harmonies, atmospheric soundscapes, emotional dynamics and powerful moods. From Heather Findlay’s stunning vocals ranging from angelic to powerful, to the lush keys, guitars and sound design of Dave Kerzner and Chris Johnson to soaring guitar leads from Dave Kilminster and soulful groove from the Cromarty/Fletcher rhythm section, there’s something fresh and new for fans of artists like Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, Fleetwood Mac, Yes, Radiohead, The Beatles, Sigur Ros and more.

Heather had originally planned to record a solo album produced by Nightwish’s Troy Donockley, but that got overtaken by events when Nightwish’s schedule changed. But this new project sounds altogether more exciting. Most of the band are from the most recent incarnation of The Heather Findlay band, though it’s especially good news to see Dave Kilminster back on board.

The solo album produced by Troy Donockley will still be happening in due course, but has been put back until Troy is available.

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