Alan Stivell - Terre des Vivants (1981)
Alan Stivell - Terre des Vivants (1981)
EAC Rip | APE, image+cue, log / 288 mb | Mp3 CBR 320Kbps / 108 mb | 12 tracks | Covers
Celtic / Breton Folk | Keltia III KE3 105  | RAR 3% Rec. | Time: 40:28 | FileSonic, FileServe, Uploaded
While not as bombastic as "A Celtic Symphony", "Terre Des Vivants" (Land of the Living) is more ambitious than most of Stivell's 70s efforts. One track alone makes the album worth a look for progressive fans, "Beg Ar Van", a dirge like 9 minute monster in which Stivell is caught in a near-infinite loop of beseechment, accompanied by electronic keyboards, inventive and varied percussions, choirs and even saxophones and xylophones. Intensely rich and beautiful, it puts the often stiff celtic tradition through a variety of demanding yogic poses, allowing it to emerge more flexible in mind and body...
While not as bombastic as "A Celtic Symphony", "Terre Des Vivants" (Land of the Living) is more ambitious than most of Stivell's 70s efforts. One track alone makes the album worth a look for progressive fans, "Beg Ar Van", a dirge like 9 minute monster in which Stivell is caught in a near-infinite loop of beseechment, accompanied by electronic keyboards, inventive and varied percussions, choirs and even saxophones and xylophones. Intensely rich and beautiful, it puts the often stiff celtic tradition through a variety of demanding yogic poses, allowing it to emerge more flexible in mind and body.
Elsewhere, "Androides" is an all out rocking instrumental, brief but convincing. In addition to raucous lead guitars, the double bass work injects a more jazzy effect. In "Ideas", Stivell sings like a Breton Ian Anderson, shifting back and forth between his surprisingly comfortable rocker persona and his bardic muse. "Hidden through the Hills" sees Stivell backed by female singers in English, and, in the breaks, pipes and fiddles play off with the rhythm guitars, backed ably by surprisingly punchy percussions and bass. The series of short tracks that constitutes most of side 2 are breathtaking in their kinetic quality. By singing in several languages real and invented (as in "Q Celts Fiesta"), Stivell welcomes one and all to his big tent.
In 1981, "mainstream" progressive rock had all but given up the ghost, and the folk revival wasn't doing much better. But artists like Alan Stivell were comfortable within a broader range of musical styles, with pop or hard rock being just a couple. Because of his astute musical sense and unflinching artistic integrity, Stivell remained a force through this difficult time, and "Terre Des Vivants" deserves extra kudos for its role.
If there is a single savior of Celtic music, Alan Stivell is probably it. Since the end of the 1960s, he has done more to revive interest in the Celtic (specifically Breton) harp than anyone in the world and, in the process, almost singlehandedly made the world aware of native Breton Celtic music. Since 1971, he has been recording albums of extraordinary beauty and diversity, ranging from ancient Breton and Irish material to modern folk-rock and progressive rock.
He was born Alan Cochevelou, the son of a harp-maker. His father was the rediscoverer of the Breton harp, but he started his musical life on a somewhat more conventional instrument, taking up the piano at age five. He was given a harp by his father at age nine, and studied for the next several years under the direction of his father and Ms. D. Megevand, a concert harpist, freely mixing classical repertoire and arrangements of Breton, English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh folk material.
Stivell was playing concerts at age 11, and he began taking up the more general study of traditional popular Celtic music, including the Scottish bagpipes, drum, Irish flute, and tin whistle, while in his teens. He ultimately became well-versed in all of these and won honors in national piping competitions in Scotland, and chose the professional name of Stivell, the Breton word meaning fountain, spring, or source. By the age of 21, while studying for his degree in English, he became an established folk musician, recording songs to his own harp accompaniment. While his singing is less effective than his harp or bagpipe playing, his voice is expressive, and most of his albums feature a mix of vocal and instrumental music. In 1967, he formed a group consisting of himself on harp, bagpipes, and Irish flute and Dan Ar Bras on electric guitar, backed by bass and drums. He released several albums during this period, including Reflections (1971), A l'Olympia (1972), Chemins de Terre (1972), Celtic Rock (1972), and E. Lagonned (1976). He left the group in the mid-'70s to concentrate exclusively on a solo career -- by this time, he had become a major influence on a multitude of folk-rock musicians with his interweaving of electric and traditional instruments.
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