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A Celtic Tale: The Legend Of Deirdre
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Cinematic in scale, mythic in dimension, romantic in concept - A Celtic Tale sets a bold new standard for the popular Celtic genre. Maybe you can figure out how two talented brothers from a second generation Canadian-Italian family got the idea to stage a non-hostile takeover of the durable Celtic folk genre.
A Celtic Tale is the soundtrack for an imaginary film dramatizing the beautiful and tragic medieval Irish legend of Deirdre. In the service of this classic myth it brings together the best elements of Celtic folk, symphonic and ambient recordings, and sets a glorious new standard for popular Celtic music.
We were wondering how the project started, so we asked. MYCHAEL DANNA had previously recorded Celtic themes on his solo albums. On the phone from Toronto, he is enigmatic. "I guess I just like it." JEFF DANNA is not much help either. "Mychael gave me a call..."
Perhaps we'll never know the real reason they came to it, but take one listen to this magnificent Celtic fantasy and you'll be very glad they did. Musically, the Dannas bring together a wide array of Celtic folk instruments: fiddle, tin whistle and flute, guitar and mandolin, Uillean and Highland pipes, wirestrung harp, concertina and bodhran - with all their bite and pungent overtones - and surround them with the harmonic richness, color and power of the orchestra. Add the dramatic sense of a great director and a sound designer's sensitivity to ambience, and you have perhaps the first truly cinematic treatment of Celtic mythology for the audio medium.
The project was written and recorded in Toronto and Los Angeles in lulls between the Danna brothers' ongoing film and video scoring projects. Top soloists from both the Toronto folk scene and the LA studio world built the instrumental beds over a period of months. When this phase was complete, the strings and orchestral elements were added in Salt Lake City, and the mixes finally came together in Los Angeles.
The results are extraordinarily varied and colorful, no less so for the fact that they are a careful exposition of the original Deirdre legend, which has been translated and adapted for the notes by JOHN STUART DICK. In a recording that abounds in outstanding performances, KRYSIA KOCJAN's powerful reading of the song "Lament," with original lyrics by John Stuart Dick, rings in the mind long after it is first heard. The soulful blasting of the highland pipes, flat out against the full strains of the orchestra is another highlight. Mychael Danna says casually "It's a big sound..." - and one which surely stirs the still beating heart.
And yet in the end it is a tragic tale, and the darker moments fully realize the depths of the epic battle between the forces of the druid and struggle of the heroes, and finally, the inconsolate sorrow of love lost.