Excalibur: The Ladies of the Lake
(2018 - Babaika Productions - EUROPE)
This is a themed collection release from exceptional Celtic dreamland/fantasy musical composer, producer, and musician Alan Simon. So why buy a compilation verses getting all the previous full blown Excalibur recordings (I - IV + Tristan & Yseult)? All fans of lush symphonic Celtic, that is often dramatic, certainly should own all of Simon's releases, but the frosted gift which has the most gorgeous songs featuring the supremely talented female vocalists, all on one handy go to disc, is this one. The original full issues are full of great instrumental works as well, but the focus here are the female vocal cuts.
For doubters, 'The Ladies of the Lake' sounds like a brand new all original project full of compositions that both melt the heart and send chills down your spine. Vocal performances by monumental singers like Moya Brennan (Clannad. solos), Maddy Prior (Steeleye Span, solos, etc), Karan Casey (Solas, solos, etc), Jacqui McShee (Pentangle, The John Renbourn Group, Dave Pegg, Bert Jansch, etc), Kohann (a trio featuing Michele Gaurin and Sylvere Morisson), Siobhan Owen, Nikki Matheson (no relation to Karen Matheson), Sonja Kristina (Curved Air, plus a host of guests and solos), and Maite Itoiz (a Spanish soprano, known mostly with her husband John Kelly). Some of these names may be less familiar, but hearing them will change all that. You will not find a more beautiful recording of songs in the haunting fantasy Celtic crossover genre than this. Fifteen tracks cover a broad range of moods from chill to romantic, or just sensuous. Truly ethereal. RECOMMENDED!
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 2 - 9 - 2019