Excellent New Celtic/Medieval/Rock Album!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Avalon Rising is a great Oakland-based band who do music that ranges from Celtic to rock, and home to Medieval via the southern route. They have their first CD out -- I am listening to it as I write these words. Singer Margaret Davis has style and taste not unlike Loreena McKennitt's. The five members play a generous selection of conventional instruments, both electric and manual, plus Celtic harp, recorders, mandolin, and a large collection of interesting percussive devices, including a very mean bodhran. All do vocals. The music is full of rhythm and movement. Much of it is composition or arrangement by one band member or another. Let me mention some of the cuts. The rendition of "The Great Selkie" is marvelous -- splashing harp and thrumming bodhran wonderfully evoke the ebb and flow of surf; the first time I heard this one live I involuntarily looked down to be sure my feet weren't getting wet. "Andray Soulet", an arrangement of a 15th-century composition, seems a French round with a hint of North African rhythm, and "Contre le Tens/Toda Cousa" presents two 13th-century works with voice and instruments. "Dark Moon Circle", a get-up-and-dance song, begs for a sweetly-scented bonfire on a wild and glimmering night, while "God Walks Among Us" addresses religious themes in a more traditional style. The next-to-last title, "Reborn", is a contemporary love song with a fast beat. All in all, great stuff!"