When you say Circle Of Bards you say Mariusz Migalka as a matter of fact. This musician from Poland is the driving force behind this musical project that he started in 2008. Originally, he considered it to be a side-project. Migalka already made a name in bands as Active Mind, Dragon Slayer, Mr. Hyde and Shamrock. For Circle Of Bards, he was tightly focused on recording a fully acoustic album containing fantasy songs and mysterious tales. He called them Celtic ballads or medieval knight songs. Music wise these songs turned out to be completely different from what heíd ever done before. Most of the time, his voice and his guitars are the only instruments he uses to create this music. In March 2009, Circle Of Bards released their live debut, a mini live concert in Poland. The same year they got a record deal and started to work on their first studio album. In May 2010 Tales saw the light of day.
Tales only contains half an hour of music, but thatís okay by me. WhyÖ? Well, to be honest the acoustic songs tend to sound alike and after a while youíve got the idea that you heard it all before. This doesnít mean that the eleven tracks on Tales arenít worth listening to. Mariusz Migalka and his friends on flute, bass, percussion and lead guitar created a nice and relaxing atmosphere whereby itís easy to forget the daily stress. But nevertheless, halfway the album you feel the need to get up and replace the disc for a CD with more variety. You might consider Czarne Smoki, When The Bard Sings and Circle Of Bards as the highlights, because they feature the additional lead guitar played by Sylwester Laskowski.
Anyone who likes the music of Blackmoreís Night might enjoy Circle Of Bards a lot. Migalka has the ability to play some nice guitar tunes, but he isnít as gifted as Ritchie Blackmore. Of course, thatís not something to be ashamed off, because Mr. Blackmore is a natural musical talent. Migalka is a very good singer as well, but unfortunately you cannot compare him to the crystal clear voice of Candice Night. But who am I to blame this young musician from Poland to be less talented than a rock icon who plays guitar for almost a lifetime? No, that wouldnít be fair!
People who enjoyed this album must also check out the bootleg album Circle Of Bards Live In RC released in 2009. It contains some more musical Tales, but this time in a live setting.
** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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