Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Karda Estra

Symphonic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Karda Estra Voivode Dracula album cover
4.14 | 24 ratings | 5 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Write a review
from partners
Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Voivode Dracula (9:14)
2. Lucy - Festina Lente (6:36)
3. The Land Beyond The Forest (6:07)
4. Mina (8:12)
5. Kisses For Us All (13:16)

Total Time: 43:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Richard Wileman / classical & electric guitars, bass, bouzouki, keyboards, percussion, rastrophone (?), arranger & producer
- Ileesha Bailey / vocals, breathing (5)
- Caron Hansford / oboe, cor Anglais, breathing (5)
- Zoe King / flute, alto saxophone, clarinet (2), breathing (5)
- Michelle Williams / clarinet (5)
- Helen Dearnley / violin
- Sarah Higgins / cello

Releases information

Inspired by the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.

Artwork: Richard Wileman

CD Cyclops ‎- CYCL 143 (2004, UK)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy KARDA ESTRA Voivode Dracula Music

More places to buy KARDA ESTRA music online Buy KARDA ESTRA & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

KARDA ESTRA Voivode Dracula ratings distribution

(24 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KARDA ESTRA Voivode Dracula reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Most of the comments I heard about "Voivode Dracula" were a bit disappointing , some say it's boring, dull and repetitive, so each time I had the chance to get it, I decided let it pass but about two weeks ago went to the store to get some albums and the owner offered me a copy of this album very cheap ($ 5.00) so bought just because of the low price, a decision I will never regret because the album is outstanding.

This KARDA ESTRA release is one of the most classical symphonic oriented albums I ever heard but being inspired in a Romanian legend, the Transylvanian .Bazouki and Rastrophone used by the multi instrumentalist and composer Richard Wileman, give that touch of ethnic/gypsy sound from the Carpathian Mountains required for a conceptual album about the legendary Vlad Dracul.

The name "Voivode Dracula" is hard to understand outside Romania and Slavic countries because it has no equivalent in English, being a combination of a military and nobility title between warlord and King, probably the most accurate translation of the album's name would be Lord, Master or even Prince Dracula very interesting and accurate in comparison with the limited title of Count that is normally used to describe Dracula.

The atmosphere of the album is simply perfect from start to end, dark haunting and perfectly achieved, the distant piano blends in an incredible way with the oboe, cor anglais, clarinet and cellos (All the instruments played by female performers) but the final touch is provided by Ileesha Bailey's haunting voice, specially in "Lucy Festina Lente" and "Mina" a wonderful detail but try not to listen it if you're alone in the night because it's terrifying.

Each song represents a part of Bram Stocker's novel: 1.- Voivode Dracule: The Description of the main character. 2.- Lucy Festina Lente ("Lucy Hurry Slowly"): In reference to Lucy Westenra, first victim of the vampire in London. 3.- The Land Beyond the Forest: Literal translation of the word Transylvania.. 4.- Mina: Description of Mina Harker, 5.- Kisses for us All: Quote from chapter II of the novel, when Jonathan Harker is tempted by three female vampires.

It's almost impossible to make a song by song musical analysis of the album because the atmosphere is very similar in all tracks, almost as chapters of a book which is probably the only weakness (A bit predictable) and the greatest virtue (coherence) of "Voivode Dracula".

Even when the music is strong and complex, there are no surprises, everything fits perfectly and recorded in an impeccable sequence. the sound explosions are controlled but the Orchestration is extremely beautiful, the vocals (Not lyrics, only choirs) irrupt always where expected, in other words the music and arrangements are absolutely coherent from the opener "Voivod Dracula" (Magnificent Church organ and percussion semi solo at the end) to the 13 minutes epic "Kisses for us All" that closes the album.

"Voivod Dracula" is a very well developed and solid album that combines darkness and beauty with great inspiration, don't expect dramatic changes or sudden musical explosions because there are almost none, but the delicacy and musical arrangements are impressive, reminds me somehow of Mike Oldfield but much more oriented towards Classical Romanticism with a Folkloric touch.

I believe four stars is the perfect rating, not a masterpiece (even when very close to this status) but without any doubt an excellent addition for any Progressive Rock collection, if you're a Symphonic fan, don't make the same mistake I did, get it as soon as you have the chance.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A brilliant album, once again!

Karda Estra is a project that has been deep in my mind and musical tastes for some years ago; it is one of those bands that I really like because of its unique and original sound, which hardly can be compared to another one. The talent of Richard Wileman, this English composer who is the brain behind Karda Estra, is unquestionable, a man engaged with the music, responsible of his compositions and actions, which is reflected in the music that he, with his female guest musicians produce.

In 2004 Karda Estra released one more album; the title is "Voivode Dracula", as you can imagine that classic Bram Stoker's book works as an inspiration of this album. One more time music and literature work together. If you are familiar with Karda Estra, then you know that it is instrumental music, there are no lyrics in the composition, but in the booklet you will find fragments of the novel that can be related with each of the five songs performed here.

The first song is the title track, a long composition that almost reaches ten minutes. The atmosphere since the beginning gives a sense of terror, a dark and nervous mood which perfectly reflects what the novel suggests. The music is beautiful, that classical symphonic sound that is always present in KE's music can be listened since the first seconds. There are some short but evident changes within the track, reflecting the mood of the novel's character and context, I mean you can create images in your mind and let the music take you to another place.

"Lucy ? Festina Lente" represents another character, and you will notice it because the atmosphere is different from the previous song. Here the piano introduction and later those haunting female vocals will take you inside Lucy, you will feel part of the person so you can understand her behavior and fears. I love the way the music transmits several things, how come an instrument, a note, a sound, can share emotions; it is the composer's and musician's fault.

Now your mind will travel to "The Land beyond the Forest" so prepare yourself to this dangerous, but quite adventurous journey. Quiet, be careful with your steps and decision. This is what the music is telling me now. That dark atmosphere created in the beginning can scare you if you are not prepared, but once you are used to it, you can walk alone and discover everything around you. The piano, acoustic guitar, drums and all the wind instruments in special gather together and produce beautiful sounds, spectacular game of colors and textures, all united in one single track.

"Mina" is a beautiful composition that starts with a delicate piano sound, and then a clarinet appears and later will be joined by those angelical female vocals. Within the eight minutes you'll hear some minor but constant changes, the structure is always changing but the essence is the same. One minute before the song ends, there is a major change where the music rises from the ashes and explodes as a giant. Seconds later, it slows down and returns to that soft classical sound.

The last, and longest song of this album is "Kisses for Us all". Female vocals that can be either cautious or scary start the piece, later a piano and the other instruments appear, the whole album show some parts where the music sounds like an orchestration, but we have to remember that there are only seven musicians involved here, so their work is really outstanding. There are some moments that may sound repetitive, moments where the atmosphere is the same, but that is essential for Karda Estra's music, once it caught your attention, you will not stop until the whole album finishes, at least that happens to me. This long composition is also excellent, because it will take you to several passages of the novel, it won't let you go until the end, because will be expectant to what's next.

This is another example of the quality of Karda Estra. They are always working to release great albums, which to be terribly honest, are not for everyone's tastes. I love Voivode Dracula, I love it since the first time I listened to it, in fact I loved Karda Estra since the very first song I heard. That is why I support Richard and put my grain of sand writing these reviews.

I invite you to listen to this band, any of their albums is guarantee of good music. This time I will give four stars to Voivode Dracula.

Enjoy it!

Review by kev rowland
4 stars With this release' Richard Wileman has moved even further away from the musical conventions that would normally be given the term progressive rock, and even deeper into the world of modern classical music. Richard has a skill for bringing to life images and thoughts through music, which is always interesting and intriguing, and in this case blessed with a gothic darkness. Ileesha Bailey again uses her voice more as an ethereal musical instrument, but the main melody is often carried by woodwind, in particular the oboe. This CD is broken into five parts, and is Richard's interpretation of the legend of Dracula. It is a haunting dramatic piece of music, with Richard bringing into play little tonal colours that add greatly as they move in and out of the whole. This is incredibly dramatic, with Richard using his guests wisely, and the result is a towering piece of music. This deserves to be taken out of the progressive field and used by those looking for exciting film music, or just listened to intently by those who want their music to be vibrant and intriguing, if more than a little dark.

Originally appeared in Feedback #80, Jul 2004

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Following two masterpieces, 2001's "Eve" and 2003's "Constellations," is no small order! The pattern I've noticed is that Richard's album releases seem to alternate between lighter, more pretty compositions (the two aforementioned) and dives into dark, more depressing themes and chord palettes. His interest in interpreting themes and tales of Gothic legend and literature may have some impact on this. Nevertheless, "Voivode Dracula," with its focus on representing and interpreting the Dracula tale, presents us with some dark and eerie music yet sacrifices none of the virtuosic neo-classical compositional strengths nor the expert performances of the two aforementioned 'masterpieces.' As a matter of fact, some of these compositions are so intricately nuanced as to exhibit even more accomplished and serious skills.

The opening epic (and title song) (9:15) presents a veritable musical companion to the literary reference material. It may be Richard's most classical-sounding piece yet (partly due to the lack of vocals). (10/10)

"Lucy/Festina Lenta" (6:37) creates a spaciously eery soundscape that conjures up Edgar Allan Poe-like venues: lots of dark, empty Victorian country home hallways. The layered vocals of Ileesha Bailey--quite unique in Prog World and quite welcomed, even relished, by this prog reviewer--are present in full-force yet never over used or never used as the main focal point or even melody carrier. They are like statuary, candles, and hidden doorways in the dark mansion hallways. (9.5/10)

3. "The Land Beyond the Forest" (6:08) opens with three ominous hits of a strangely effected piano which is then followed by what sounds like plucked dulcimer or tubular bells, or zither or even the piano strings plucked from inside the casing. The whole soundscape developed after that can only be called scary, threatening, blood-curdling, and the like. Amazing use of percussion and single hits or single notes of a multiplicity of classical orchestral instruments flit in and out while a single church organ chord and background militaristic "exploding bomb shells" provide the insistent reminder of time passing. Oboe provides the first lead runs--an angular, obtuse kind of melody and monologue--while other instruments flash in and out beneath and within. And then to end with a solo flute! Wow! (9.5/10)

4. "Mina" (6:12) has always been my favorite song from the album--but now I realize because it was only because it was the prettiest, the most near-"normal," the least scary, and the most accessible. Piano, chor anglais, and vocals do most of the work to engage the listener in a calming, disarming way. But then, this being a Draculan world, some disturbing, even diabolic sounds cannot help but invade our peace and repose. Can Mina's innocent beauty win out or will the demonic undead dominate her? The tension of the "battle" mounts the further the song. (9/10)

5. "Kisses for Us All" (13:18) is a song whose titular significance or reference point is lost on me because I don't know all of the vampire/Dracula literature, thus the slow, constantly ominous tension of this one seems incongruous with the act of bestowing kisses on us all. But, in terms of another neoclassical composition, this one is good, maybe not quite as great as the other four. It wends and wanders but never really reveals its hidden secrets to me. (8/10) I cannot rate the songs individually because they are all so perfect, so virtuosic in their expression of this timeless story.

Though this album requires one's full attention in order to really allow its full effects to sink in, it is, in my opinion, without a doubt another masterpiece of musical expression of a literary theme. How lucky we are to have Richard Wileman and Karda Estra to provide us with such soul-affecting intellectual delicacies!

Five Stars; a masterpiece of neoclassical Gothic "Night Gallery" chamber music.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Karda Estra- The band fronted by Richard Wileman, and an army of talented musicians, Is back with its 7th release, "Voivode Dracula", a compilation of music inspired by the all-time classic "Dracula" by Bram Stoker. The first thing that came to my mind was "this is movie soundtrack kind of mus ... (read more)

Report this review (#39471) | Posted by Minstrel X | Thursday, July 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of KARDA ESTRA "Voivode Dracula"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives