Alan Simon -
Excalibur II: l'Anneau Des Celtes

(CD 2007 5.26 min, Babaika productions 0946363856312 9)

The tracks:
  1- The Celtic ring(3:54)
  2- Lugh (4:27)
  3- Tuatha de Danann (2:27)
  4- A circle of life (4:30)
  5- The girl & the demon (3:18)
  6- Dragon breathe (1:49)
  7- Secret garden (3:15)
  8- Pilgrims (3:45)
  9- Brennan Mac Finn (2:02)
10- Sacrifice (4:10)
11- Earth & sky (4:07)
12- Shadow and light (3:16)
13- Call (5:48)
14- Anwynn (1:41)
15- Celtic Heart (Kelc'h Unan & Daou)(4:34)
16- Celtic heart (Kelc'h Tri)(1:41)

Alan Simon Website        video       

A trilogy about Excalibur, the legendary sword of King Arthur, is an interesting and ambitious project of French multi instrumentalist Alan Simon. His first album Excalibur: La Legende Des Celtes appeared in 1998 and was performed live in 2000 and released as Excalibur: Le Concert Mystique. In 2007, Alan Simon released part two of the trilogy: Excalibur II: l’Anneau Des Celtes. He explains the story of this fantasy tale in a beautifully documented booklet. Just as for his first effort, Alan Simon asked many artists to cooperate in order to put his musical ideas on the album. The list of names is very impressing indeed: Alan Parsons, John Wetton, Fairport Convention, Jon Anderson (Yes), Maddy Prior (Steeleye Span), Andreas Vollenweider, Justin Hayward (Moody Blues) and Les Holroyd (Barclay James Harvest).

On this second release, you will find more songs and less instrumental tracks than on the first one. In addition, the music is less folky. I would rather describe it as symphonic pop rock. Anyway, you will find no weak tracks at all on this album, but a few I liked more than the others: A Circle Of Life (sung by Jon Anderson), Sacrifice (sung by Jacqui McShee’s Pentangle and Andreas Vollenweider), Earth & Sky (sung by Justin Hayward) and the opening track The Celtic Ring with a contribution of Alan Parsons. The predominant touch of the album has a lot in common with The Eyes Of Wendor, a project of Mandala Band in the mid seventies. If you like variation in your symphonic music collection than you should check this one out. Highly recommended!

****+ Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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