|Paul de Bruijn - Rambles - A Cultural Arts Magazine
There is a variety of different styles of music on Dafni's Drifting in Circles, and sometimes the switch from one song to the next can be quite pronounced.
The musicians backing Dafni (vocals and acoustic guitar) do a wonderful job of letting the music match the mood. They are Craig Bender (piano), Josh Bandur (accordion, electric guitar), Yannig Luthra (bass guitar), Alejandra Cuesta (drums), Tom Terrell (trumpet), Brian Robbins (banjo, slide electric guitar, Dobro) and Lucian Gherargi (bongos, shakers, cabassa, claves).
Dafni's rich vocals take a moment to settle into the slow waltz tempo of "Blue-Eyed Boy," but once they do they glide with the music. Her voice picks up a bit of a rasp in "Dance," and once again the music forms the legs to carry the body of her voice. The music of "Falling" opens up with horns creating a soft jazz feel. Memories are interwoven throughout the lyrics of "Norma" and the music drifts lightly on.
The mood changes again for "Song for George," as the beat and the melody bring out the lazy summer stroll feel of the song. The banjo and the bass give "One Day" a quirky bluegrass edge. The music becomes smoother, with guitars shaping the sound of "Send My Love." Another song and the gears change back to another waltz in "I Don't Mean to Disappoint You" -- it is a tender song and Dafni's vocals caress the lyrics gently.
The lyrics of "Cheesy Love Song" are aptly enough, made up of cheesy love lines. Anyone who has worked 9 to 5 will be familiar with the feelings expressed in "Saturday." The cheerful playfulness of "Best Day" is part of what makes the song so fun, with the music helping her bring out the sense completely. "The Wind & the Rain" is a short song and is a lovely closer to the CD.
While the music of Drifting in Circles ranges widely from song to song, it all comes together by the time the CD closes down. There may be the odd moment or two on the CD while the vocals and music take a moment before they fit comfortably together, but on the whole Dafni has created a lovely package.
Annette Warner - CoffeeHouseTour.com
Totally enjoyable variety! I really like the stage-ready sound and the flavors run gamut from a laid back Jazz to Latino, and upbeat Mexicana sounds and even some relaxing "Parisian" moods are prevalent. It's obvious that we have a "Circa 40's" approach to compiling a CD here and I LOVE IT! Refreshing, original, sweet, fun and full of easy sing-along temperament. Dafni's vocals are keenly soprano-bred, slammed with a total "got it" and it's extremely easy to hear each and every word she sings. The music arrangements are stellar ... though simple, and it's a milkshake going down. Makes me want to dance with myself and I want to take a shower with this one playing having learned the words to all the songs. :) Wondering if I can convince Dafni to let me use "One Day" for my musical in progress...
Anna Maria Stjärnell - Luna Kafé
Dafni's music is jazzy and melodious, but she's not without tricks up her sleeve. "Blue-Eyed Boy" is a sweet song with an almost forties-inspired instrumentation. She turns up the heat on the Flamenco-ish "Dance". It's clearly inspired by Spanish music, but takes its own little detours with it. "I wanna feel your breath against my skin" sings Dafni sensuously.
"One Day" is a playful ditty that looks to the past for inspiration. "I Don't Mean To Disappoint You" sounds a little French, possibly it's because of the accordion. Dafni's singing is loose and lovely. "Cheesy Love Song" is anything but. It's moving and beautiful. Dafni's a true singer and this is a great record in all its varied moods.
Amy Lotsberg - Collected Sounds
I reviewed Dafni's CD, "Red" back in January of 2005 and I really liked it. So imagine my happiness to get this one and see that the press kit calls this one "a hundred times better" than "Red"!
While, 'a hundred times' may be a slight exaggeration this is a really nice recording.
I love these songs. She ventures out into a bunch of different genres while maintaining a general style and not letting the record get schizophrenic. The musicianship here is first class.
"Blue-Eyed Boy" is a nice waltz.
"Dance" is a fun, sexy, tango that will make you wish you knew how to ballroom dance (if you already do, then I bet you'll have trouble sitting still)
There are times when her voice is just a tiny hair off of the note. It's so close, so so close?.but I can overlook it because the songs are so good. And when she hits it (which is way more often than not) her voice is very pleasing and sounds great with the style. Her voice really stands out on "I Don't Mean to Disappoint You".
"One Day" reminds me of The Squirrel Nut Zippers. It's not quite that jumpy, but is reminiscent of the style they have. I guess it's the banjo.
I love that she has a song called "Cheesy Love Song". For the record I don't find it cheesy. It's sweet.
Like I said, these are great songs, and Dafni wrote them all herself so we're looking at a very talented young woman.
If you're yearning for something jazzy-pop like with a slightly old tyme feel this is a good choice.
Glen Starkey - San Luis Obispo New Times
In Drifting in Circles, the newest offering from L.A. singer-songwriter-guitarist Dafni (one name, like Charo!), country, folk, jazz, Latin, and rock music get the Dafni treatment, meaning that you'll feel like you're shifting from a smoky Parisian nightclub to a seedy beachside dive in Venice, Calif., from one track to another. The performer returns to Linnaea's Cafe this Friday, Dec. 9 , promoting Drifting in Circles, which has some amazingly lovely tracks such as "Dance," replete with horn fills and Dafni's lilting voice, or "Falling," a sultry ballad. Dafni says her new collection of songs was colored by her experience learning "God Bless the Child" and "My Funny Valentine": "I started to incorporating some of those jazz chords into my new songs. That completely changed the way I write now." Check out the new and improved Dafni. You won't be sorry.
Kevin Zarnett - Muse's Muse
Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Dafni's second album "Drifting in Circles", combines dream-like waltzes with jazzy-pop and folk tunes, to create a charming record that holds up to repeated spins.
The band set-up seems more typical of jazz, with drums, bass and piano frequently accompanying Dafni's acoustic guitar, adding able touches of accordion and trumpet to the mix. Of note, pianist Craig Bender offers up many tasty parts throughout the disc. Part of what works on the album, is how the band comes together to create many interesting and adventurous musical moments, sometimes within the same song, often heightening the transition from verse to chorus with cool rhythmic changes and melodic shifts. The later is most evident on the take-your-chances Latin groove of "Dance", and the switch from the slide guitar driven, bluesy opening of "Send My Love", to its heartfelt wishing chorus - a definite highlight.
"Norma" is the kind of song that could quiet down a noisy coffeehouse, while "Song for George" almost lets loose into a full-fledged pop song, keeping a toe in jazzy water. The breezy "One Day" showcases a banjo as a breath of fresh air, with a welcoming, almost old-timey feel. Further, amidst a handful of dreamy songs, there is also the carefree jazz of lazing about on a "Saturday".
Dafni's voice is likeable and inviting, especially in the quieter moments, though by no means ever close to strong and overpowering (though that type of singing isn?t really called for on this set of tunes). Despite a couple of pitch issues here and there, she never lets her daring melodies down.
The album's title, "Drifting in Circles" seems quite appropriate, as many of songs deal with a kept-up-late type of pondering, examining relationships, asking questions - usually of someone distant, struggling to let go and move on.
This is the case with the album's fine opening track "Blue-Eyed Boy". On this song, and throughout the CD, there's a hint of the flavour that has made Sam Phillips' last two records so intoxicating. Here, Dafni subtly exposes us to some of the heartbroken, mysterious, and unresolved feelings that recur in the album. The imagery used is pretty straightforward, but there are no throwaway lines, even when we get repeated loss or dream language, it usually is in a different shade, ranging from uncertainty to optimism, and dreaming to remembering.
There is nothing stunning about the sound here, but there is a nice clarity, and it is good to hear a singer-songwriter disc that has the vocals up-front in the mix. And wisely, the CD runs just under 40 minutes, which left me eager to revisit some favourite tracks, and ready to re-play the entire album to discover some more.