Title - 'Excalibur: The Ladies of the Lake'
Artist - Alan Simon
For those not in the know, Alan Simon is a French folk-rock musician and composer, best known for his rock operas performed with noted rock musicians guesting.
Simon is associated with Breton Celticism, and his most ambitious works are typically on themes linked to Celtic myth and history. Indeed, Simon has also branched out into film-making.
Simon achieved fame with his rock opera Excalibur, La Légende des Celtes (Excalibur, The Legend of the Celts) (Sony) in 1999, of which he was both songwriter and producer.
The first part of an intended trilogy, Excalibur blended musical styles and was performed by Roger Hodgson (ex-Supertramp), Fairport Convention, Dan Ar Braz, Tri Yann, Angelo Branduardi, Didier Lockwood and Gabriel Yacoub.
Within weeks, the album went top 10 and gold in France. Five concert performances took place between October 1999 and June 2000, including one at Paris-Bercy.
A live recording, released as Excalibur, le concert mythique (Excalibur, the legendary concert) (CD and DVD) was recorded at the first performance in Rennes, October 12, 1999.
In 2007, Simon released the second part of Excalibur, Excalibur II, l'anneau des Celtes (Excalibur II, the ring of the Celts) with contributions from Jon Anderson (Yes), Alan Parsons, Barclay James Harvest, Maddy Prior, Jacqui McShee, John Wetton, Justin Hayward, Flook, Karan Casey, Fairport Convention, Andreas Vollenweider and Martin Barre.
Simon's novel, Excalibur, le cercle de Dragon (Excalibur, the circle of Dragon), was released in March 2008. A second volume was published in October 2009 called Excalibur, la prophétie de Merlin (Excalibur, The prophecy of Merlin).
On May 25 and July 25, 2009 Excalibur was revived in Germany under the English language title Excalbur: the Celtic Rock Opera. It was performed in English with a German narration. It was performed before 19,000 people at Castle Kaltenberg.
Following this surprising success, Excalibur toured throughout Germany and 100,000 spectators attended the Celtic rock opera, reuniting nearly 160 musicians and almost as many technicians. A new tour began in January 2011 across Europe.
The so-called final part of the trilogy, Excalibur III The Origins (Excalibur III: The Origins), was released in 2012, but unexpectedly, a fourth part was then released (The Dark Age of the Dragon) in the Celtic Rock Opera series in 2016.
That said, here in 2018 and The Ladies of the Lake (out now via Babaika Productions/Cherry Red Records)is the first themed compilation of the gold and platinum selling Excalibur series of Celtic Rock albums.
The compilation showcases the female led studio songs from the catalogue and features the guests: Moya Brennan, Maddy Prior, Karan Casey, Kohann, Siobhan Owen, Jacqui McShee, Nikki Matheson, Sonja Kristina, and Maite Itoiz.
1) 'The Origins' (feat MOYA BRENNAN)
2) 'Secret Garden' (feat MADDY PRIOR)
3) 'The Girl & the Demon' (feat KARAN CASEY)
4) 'Skye' (feat KOHANN)
5) 'Calling For You' (feat MOYA BRENNAN)
6) 'The Last Lament of a Fairy' (feat SIOBHAN OWEN)
7) 'There is Someone' (feat SIOBHAN OWEN)
8) 'Silver Moon' (feat MOYA BRENNAN)
9) 'Yseult' (feat SIOBHAN OWEN)
10) 'Sacrifice' (feat JACQUI MCSHEE)
11) 'A Prayer For My Lover' (feat SIOBHAN OWEN)
12) 'Morning Song' (feat NIKKI MATHESON)
13) 'The Passion' (feat SONJA KRISTINA)
14) 'Dreaming Again' (feat SIOBHAN OWEN)
15) 'Dun Angus' (feat MAITE ITOIZ)
The Excalibur albums combine symphonic, Celtic, pop and rock influences. Rather than traditional folk music, The Ladies of the Lake focuses on songs that have a wider commercial appeal, between pop and light classical with Celtic music touches.
Ergo, The Ladies of the Lake presents a superb group of highly expressive women with distinctive vocal skills.
The creator of Excalibur, Alan Simon, said of the compilation: “Since for creation of the first Excalibur album, it’s been a privilege to work with so many strong ladies characters. I speak not just of Guinevere and Morgane, but also of the talented singers who have brought some of the roles to life.”
The compilation follows the re-release of the Excalibur Trilogy, and the recently released fourth album, Excalibur IV: The Dark Age of the Dragon.
Alan Simon continues, "The rock genre is often dominated by so many male musicians, but it shouldn’t be forgotten how much Moya, Jacqui, Maddy, Karan, Kohann, Nikki, Sonja, Siobhan and Maite have given of their unique musical talents."
"This compilation is a tribute to them for they are the Ladies of the Lake. The Ladies of Excalibur."
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