Amadas Estrellas by Achillea Amadas Estrellas

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Rhythm is the heart. The idea is the spirit. The voice is the soul. In his studio in Ibiza Spain, Jens Gad, the co-visionary of the multi-platinum group ENIGMA, is joined by the mesmerizing European dance/pop singer Luisa Fernandez. On this greatly anticipated second ACHILLEA release, they guide you on a new ethereal journey of global electronica, lush atmospheres, seductive Spanish vocals, entrancing guitar playing, and ingenious beats. Luisa Fernandez, born in Galicia in the north of Spain, has chosen her world language to guide a musical journey through different continents. Amadas Estrellas is a multi-cultural concept for an international audience and entirely produced on Spanish territory. Luisa's spiritually sensual vocals, based on Spanish poems of love, combined with the richly layered atmospheres and European dance club electronica that Jens Gad and ACHILLEA are renowned for is compelling and deeply satisfying. Let yourself go, escape into the sensory world of Achillea.


Listen To Samples:

 Track Title Time 
1. Prologo 1:04
2. Amor - Parte I 4:58
3. Desnudame 5:18
4. Vivir 4:57
5. Alma Herida 4:52
6. Alas del Aguila 4:23
7. Amor - Parte II 3:27
8. Atacame 6:17
9. Amadas Estrellas 5:29
10. A Maria Santissima 4:12

Release date: February 1, 2007

Published Reviews

Sequences Magazine, U.K, June 2007
The brain behind this album is one Jens Gad who spent many years working with Enigma. Monastic choirs, relaxing ambient rhythms, sultry female vocals courtesy of one Luisa Fernandez. Along with the widespread acoustic guitar, including Spanish flavors. Fernandez is, without doubt, a star in the making as her undoubted expertise really adds to the music's majestic qualities. The heavy guitar that adds real majestic power to 'Atacame' -uplifting, relaxing & quite romantic!
   —  Carl Jenkinson

Enigma News Editor
'Amadas Estrellas' is a shimmering welcome to the new world of sounds from Achillea, from Jens Gad. This is an example of well-equipped electronica meeting the eastern flavor. Dreamy, seducing, chilling. It will keep going on in your head even if you press the stop button when you finalize the experience. A deep, very deep archaic choir goes in and out, just like a movie score telling an epic tale. You will be blown away - Jens is pushing the limits once more, as he's one of the masters. This is a diamond! Like ice melting on a hot body...
   —  Onur Tezgeldi

Jens Gad, formerly of Enigma, softens his delivery while maintaining what fans of early Enigma found so appealing, that blend of hypnotic rhythms and almost-holy, reverent vocalizing. On this release, Gad features the poetry and sensual voice of Spanish star Luisa Fernandez. The result is a smoldering passion, the sound of a hot Ibiza afternoon. This is serious seduction music.
   —  Anne Williams

Music Design in Review
With his second album under the name Achillea, Enigma co-producer Jens Gad (Le Spa Sonique) continues to traverse the valleys of chilled electronica, with an added dose of rhythm this time around. Whereas THE NINE WORLDS was a deep ambient affair, AMADAS ESTRELLAS takes a more ethnic (or more specifically Spanish) approach, accenting Gad's engrossingly mood-drenched trancescapes with Luisa Fernandez's sensual vocals and flamenco guitar. Among other things, that is, the album is rich with multi-cultural flavor including flute, Chinese erhu, ethnic percussion and sacred choral samples. The sound is reminiscent of both Enigma and B-Tribe; while at the same time have a unique quality that is distinctly Achillea. It's not often that an album is able to be sensual, spiritual and trendy all at once, but Gad pulls of the feat with panache.

Steve Ryals, Nationally Syndicated Music Columnist
As you probably know by now, I love supporting organizations and businesses that are making a difference in the world. So it is with Sequoia records and their Sequoia groove label. They donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of all of their music to the Rain Forest Action Network, the United Nations Indigenous Peoples Fund and the Seva Foundation. It's good to know that by supporting Sequoia's great music we are also supporting our brothers and sisters on planet Earth.

Amadas Estrellas is the latest down tempo world groove album from Achillea. Jens Gad, Enigma's guitar maestro, is the driving force behind Achillea. I reviewed The Nine Worlds, Achillea's first album, in last December's newsletter. This time around, the seductive voice of Euro-pop legend Luisa Fernandez is featured, affording the listener Spanish language vocals to accompany Gad's sensuously juicy grooves. Her Palm's form the core of Amadas Estrellas, avoiding pop stylings in favor of a more ethnic sound. Fun and inventive trip hop beats ground in the music deep in the earth, while Euro-style synthesizers and delicious guitar licks dance over the soundscape like some happily demented party animal.

Fans of Enigma's signature sound are sure to enjoy Amadas Estrellas, though anyone who appreciates down tempo grooves and world beat sensuality are sure to appreciate it as well. Lyrical, enchanting and heart-centered, Amadas Estrellas lingers in the soul like star jasmine lingers in the nostrils. Perfect for active forms of meditation such as walking or dance, Amadas Estrellas is music to get your summer groove on.
Remember Enigma? Of course you do; Chilled beats, Gregorian chants, sensual female vocals and a few moments of heavy breathing. All very exciting and new -- 10 years ago.

It's a hard act to follow, given our increasingly jaded ears. But with a little help from Spanish singer Luisa Fernandez, former Enigma member Jens Gad pulls it off on Achillea's second release Amadas Estrellas. Because Gad doesn't so much renovate his sound as update it, the result is a CD that amps up the sensuality but retains all the lush ambience that characterized Enigma.

This new recording offers an earthy, sexy sensibility grounded in Fernandez's Spanish vocals. The 10 tracks explore different aspects of love, from the lofty-minded "Amor, Part I" to the rather less platonic "Desnudame." Don't worry if you don't speak Spanish: the less you know, the more romantic and exotic the pedestrian lyrics are likely to seem.

None of this detracts from the allure of Fernandez's husky, distinctive voice, as she murmurs and sings sweet -- or not so sweet -- nothings. And of course, her voice is backed by Gad's beautifully layered electronic soundscapes, dense enough to sink into and filled with a satisfying array of exotic percussion and instrumentation. On no other CD are you likely to find mournful Chinese erhus, wailing electric guitars, classical strings, rainforest birdsong, chilled beats and pseudo-Gregorian chants.

With its rock sensibilities and unrelenting beat, "Amor, Part II" is an edgy outsider amongst its mellower neighbors, but it reprises the melody of "Amor, Part I" so surprisingly and effectively that it is easily the most interesting track on the CD.

Amadas Estrellas [is]... uninterrupted atmospheric, sensual chill-out music with enough substance to reward your undivided attention.

In keeping with his 'enigmatic' roots Jens Gad opens this latest album with a brief ambient introduction and a half whispered female voice - this time, however, the voice remains - becoming the central element in most of the tracks. Spanish singer Luisa Fernandez speaks in low, reverberating, seductive tones, sings with breathy romantic Spanish charm and indeed soars with impressive power and emotion when required. Achillea's rich, comfortable beats blending programmed sounds, hand drumming and unique effects underpin smooth synthetic pads and washes and Jen's distinctive guitar wizardry. The odd shakuhachi and flute sample as well as Chinese er-hu snatches and some familiar pitch shifted chants retain connection with the musical heritage that Achillea proudly develops. Alas del Aguila includes some delightful ethnic wind instrument samples, cleverly juxtaposed against powerful choral voices showcasing the more grandiose side of Achillea - sweeping and dramatic.

Achillea II or Amadas Estrellas is another strong release from Jens Gad - following on the heels of Le Spa Sonique, and, of course, Achillea I - The Nine Worlds. Here the approach is one of consistency with previous albums - new ground is not broken in terms of compositional methods, however the new songs are beautifully crafted and surely welcomed by anyone that loves this special style of music. This time the chilled electronics are somewhat less ambient and more beat driven than The Nine Worlds, gone are the semi classical vocalisations of Helene Horlyck - instead we have the rich, dulcet Latin love poems of Luisa Fernandez.

Daily OM
Scandinavian epic trance-scape creator Jens Gad (formerly of Enigma) makes his way to Spain for Amadas Estrellas (Beloved Stars), and infuses the album with the sultry passion native to the country's music. To capture its flavors, he features Spaniard Luisa Fernandez who brings a mixture of European dance pop and flamenco sensibilities: breathy, sexy vocals perfectly married to fiery licks of Spanish guitar. Earthy as it sounds, this is still trance music; it's still driven by long, languorous electronic grooves designed to ease you into a world with less gravity and open your imagination. Mixed up with Gad's beats and Spanish love poetry delivered by Rodriguez, you'll hear spacey synth and tinges of electric guitar, wooden flute, ethnic percussion, and samples of celestial harmonies.

Gad and Rodriguez set a mood of mystery with the song "Prologo." This opening reveals itself in a thick cloud of ether. When the mist settles in the second track, "Amor Parte 1," you could be in a Chinese marketplace energized by a dance pulse. Midway through the street cruising, the voice of Rodriguez still lingering in your ears, you get the sweet kiss of gentle Spanish guitar. "Desnudame" drifts through a world of whispers and sensual sighs climaxing with the voices of a heavenly choir. In "Vivir" funky riffs of distorted guitar introduce a brief ascent from recitation to melody. The high-energy track also features a reedy flute and some traces of organ, introduced individually and then masterfully blended.

"El Alma Herida" dissolves the spell of "Vivir" with a clatter of wooden percussion. The track slowly builds in tempo and intensity, offering snatches of Indian strings, sounds of the sea and seagulls, and a repeated line from Rodriguez about besos (kisses). Rodriguez finally gets a full-throated chorus in the rhythmic trance "Alas del Aguila" and it's powerful. Only a choir can echo its intensity. "Amor "Parte II" is less ethereal and funkier, playing with a springy synth riff and some clavichord. Again, Rodriguez is allowed to soar vocally. "Atacame" brings things way down and plays alternately with breathy flute, acoustic strumming, and bluesy electric-guitar work. The album's title track is a slow, vibrant, pulsing ballad-like song with an expansive vocal line. Between choruses it is an amalgam of elements from previous tracks. The album ends on a more sacred note with a reverent, multicultural prayer, "A Maria Santissima," a collection of chants, choral harmonies, and holy musical offerings. It's another flavor of Spain, delicious to savor.

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