Jeremy Williams-Chalmers, Arts Correspondent

Juni Ata - Saudade

Juni Ata is the stage name of Jesse Daniel Edwards, whose music career was extremely unlikely at an early age. Raised in an extremely religious community in Southern California, his exposure to secular music was extremely limited. However that did not mean his setting was not musical. He was raised surrounded by music, which clearly shaped his familial experience, and in his early 20s, he went out to perform alongside his brother. Yet it was a relocation to Nashville that really formed the artist whose released their debut record after a rocky journey of personal loss.

Battling through his tumultuous journey he turned to songwriting for release, and after some persuasion he was convinced by a friend to record an album. Then Covid-19 hit and a release seemed daunting. Yet, thankfully, he persevered and Saudade was born.

Given the situation that prompted the writing of the record, there is little surprise that the album deals with loss and hurt, yet with dealing comes healing and the overall feeling from the listening experience is one of hope.

At it's most beautiful is the solo piano number Hard Letting You Down Easy, which is a sparse gem. Yet, in general, the album boasts a fuller sound with multiple layers adding into the emotional depth - with the truly personal Fight Hard, Run Fast proving a determined gem.

Saudade is a stunning collection from an artist who needed to be heard, and who you need to hear.