Review: Awake, Josh Groban
The Star Tonight
December 13, 2006
By Jenny De Klerk
Star rating: ****

Big hair, even bigger voice.

The album may be called Awake, but you need to close your eyes for this one. Lie back, relax, and let Groban's rich, mellow voice do the rest. English and Italian alternate; sometimes you can understand the lyrics, the next moment you cannot, but it doesn't matter.

In fact, it is almost a relief not to strain after meaning, but simply enjoy the moment. Numbers include Mai, Un Dia Llegara, L'Ultima Notte and the familiar melody of Un Giorno Per Noi (Romeo and Juliet ) in Italian and February Song, You are Loved, So She Dances and Now or Never in English .

Standout numbers, and worth the CD for themselves alone, are the two numbers with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Lullaby and Weeping, which also |includes Vusi Mahlasela.

It's fascinating to hear the African rhythms blending with the richness of the operatic traditions. These are numbers to hear again and again. In the last number, Machine, Groban collaborates with Herbie Hancock in a very different, almost electronic mode.

An album to buy, keep and keep handy, because you'll be reaching for it constantly.