Music which moves to your core and allows you to contemplate the connections you have, feel the warmth thicken around you within the moment, is a magical thing. That’s the enchanting effect of the tunes of Janileigh Cohen, particularly in her latest single ‘Sister’.
Janileigh Cohen is a singer-songwriter from Bolton who crafts sound with an evocative, emotive depth, drawing on folk influences and yet delivering with the power of classical greats. Tracks are tenderly arranged, as if to highlight the natural building and burr of emotion, and ‘Sister’ showcases this beautifully.
The track opens with the warm ruminating notes of a piano which still have a playfulness to them and provide an optimism. Then the vocals blossom open, the lyrics “Come on sister don’t you cry” taking the form of personal address, infused with feeling and yet well-controlled.
A key feature of Cohen’s sound is voice brimming with power and potential, yet controlled closely, crafting and communicating carefully the exploration of emotions. Rather than making an impression by belting out the big notes early in the song, Cohen shows skillful balance, and allows the simple yet satisfying lyrics to build in their imagery – “We all wanna’ fly too near the sun” for example, takes us from family connections to personal ambitions.
Resonant rounded vowel sounds allow a feeling of deep empathy to develop, added to by the rhyme of ‘goes’ ‘grows’ ‘know’. This is a song of real familial fondness, thickened by the build of piano and strings and sealed with an extended vocal trill on the single word ‘Sister’.
For this is a track which speaks of the importance of human connection and that it can extend to beyond conventional definition. How so? It transitions from a ‘sister’ to the subject of ‘mother’, a rich full contemplation of identity, clear in the lines “I was born, by your side.” Yet still the verse settles with the satisfying refrain of “I’m gonna’ be around. Sister” – speaking of a connection beyond biology – the sense of sisterhood and kinship keeping us together.
The co-ordination of strings and keys continue to have a deeply satisfying quality in an alt-folk song refreshing in its exploration of familial love, rather than melodramatic tunes of failed relationships which can so often drag down the genre. Janileigh Cohen resonates with maturity, meaning and a billowing beauty. The simple lyrics, stunning voice, and emotive melody make this a must-listen.
‘Sister’ is out now – and is available to Stream / Purchase here.