Marja West is the San Francisco Bay Area's tough version of Dido/Heart/Fiona Apple and Loreena Mc Kennitt wrapped into one. She sincerely accomplishes getting her powerful musical messages across without adhereing to an assembly line format. Beautifully tough! --Orpheos DeJournette, House/Techno Master, Warner Bros. Recording artists Mephisto Odyssey. Marja West's (pronounced mar'ya) is a generous 18+ song CD. The songs are a intensely reflective, moody blend of piano/rhythm guitar based alternative rock/pop/dance/classical music styles. This is a multi-faceted/multi-instrumentalist who is not afraid to bleed all over the place in her quest to be brutally frank. She writes about love and spirituality, about changing your mind, about regretting being conned by an illusion of love that was packaged in a pretty face and gorgeous body and a big you-know-what, about being denied, about sex in front of mirrors and liking what you see--praise God, about missing someone, about realizing that your nothing but 'a piece of ass' to that special someone--although you swear in your hearts of hearts you are special... Marja is a trippy girl. She includes the term 'f*** face' in her lyrics to 'Muse'. This was an interesting moment in time for me as it brought up 'issues'. I can't help but blush and giggle and squirm. I'm inspired to learn photography so that I can start taking photos of one 'f*** face' after another. Fun...this is my calling. There is an amazing amount of music here, stunning and raw: wistful piano provides the only backdrop for Marja's stark vocals on 'Dragging Winter', 'True Love Remains The Same', a hymn for the spiritual --'River of Light'; check out the anger and frustration and an invitation ('Gift' with it's gritty guitar work, 'Burning Flesh' --this one's deliciously sordid and murderous piano grunge, a cool bass line, too); there's pure, simple beauty --'Musik Box--( a piano solo)', 'Are You My Love?' (a lone guitar); 'blood' is a bizarrely rendered Phoenix rising not from flames, but gushing out of one's core-- oh the visual; let's not forget the playful and toying 'Playing in the Cemetery'--f***ing in all the wacked out places, 'Think About What's Right', 'Silence'; there's also dance/ rock and groove tunes--'Open' is her dancey demand on what she wants and 'Longing', a jungle tribute to lust and love not given up...'Love Is Blind' rocks us to NEVER give up on love. There are many comparisons: Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Paula Cole (girls on pianos), Stevie Nicks & Annie Lennox if they had a daughter, Joni Mitchell. The guys at this restuarant in Pacific Heights think Marja's voice sounds like Shakira's. Who????? Me and my better half have no freakin' idea who Shakira is. Yeah, okay, we went up to the Haight into Amoeba Music and got a used copy of Shakira's CD...our verdict: their vocals are comparable, they are, however, musically very different. Marja is gracious and flattered by the comparisons. I think she's herself. She sings and plays her own instruments. She prefers grand pianos to digital ones, her guitars are named 'Jaid', a Gretsch that's almost as big as she is, and 'Kamala' a really girly glittery Gretsch. She's a sweetheart, she does really intense eye contact--not the psycho bulging, hard kind, but the soft kind that's got lots of light coming out of them real black eyes of hers, so don't trip out (like I did) when you meet her. She's like a faery--sometimes, other times she reminds me of a spy, she's also earth momma and rock solid even though she's teeny, tiny, barely five feet tall (unless she's wearing those beat up black moon boots--will someone please steal those boots off of her and throw them out--I'll pay you $100 ink, wink to do it). She weighs 92 pounds wet (hee, hee), plus she's exotic looking and isn't a stuck-up bitch/cun-tessa about it: she thinks she's a geek...yeah, right (she looks east Indian, native American, latina, Thai, filipina, indonesian, hawaiian, etc...)...I HATE her...not really...I hate her abs and her no hips, and she won't take mine...Bitch! God, I'm awful...what do you want? I live in a trailer, and I'm proud. Enough about me, back to Miss Marja. You'll freak out at how loud and strong this little thing can wail, then she does this Bedouin cry...and she's psychic and believes in UFO's--she does kind of look like an alien of sorts. She a Libra, man, with a Gemini moon and Capricorn rising. Her Mercury is in Scorpio which is why she's as blunt as can be, and you'll never catch her saying, 'Oooops', unless of course she's completely rude. She has a 19-10-1 lifepath, an 11/2 destiny, a 22/4 personality and a 7 heart's desire. What a blessed mess, I mean messy blessing. --written by BJ aka The Green Woman, moonlighting journalist, patron saint of the arts, make-up artist.