Excalibur, Ladies of the lake, is a compilation of Celtic Rock. It was released on the 5th of October, 2018. It’s a gathering of female voices put together by folk/prog rock producer Alan Simon. This is not the first Excalibur project release, since Alan Simon has been exploring the Celtic Rock universe since the 90’s and the Excalibur rock opera has been around for a while. During the course of 3 main works, Alan Simon counted with the help of some remarkably known musicians as Roger Hodgson (Supertramp), Jon Anderson (Yes), John Wetton (King Crimson / Asia) and many others. Now, it’s the turn for the ladies to shine, and rightly so. The cast includes veteran Celtic (Irish, North French and English) folk singers as Moya Brennan, Maddy Prior, Karan Casey, Kohann, Siobhan Owen, Jacqui McShee, Nikki Matheson (she is Canadian), Sonja Kristina and Maite Itoiz (from Spain).
I will be honest to the fullest. This is my first contact with Alan Simon and the Excalibur project. I’m embarrassed to not know of this major project before and I confess my ignorance, but hey! One cannot know of everything and, truth be told, I’m a bit out of my pond with Celtic Folk music. I should know a bit more about prog rock but that is the burden of a person that is generally curious about music. I will always find something new and something old to listen to and cling. In this case I start with a good project for 2018 which is to listen to all the discography.
Back to the task at hand, Ladies of the Lake does the job it came to do. Presents the ladies that cooperated with Alan Simon along the years with a good production, specially on the voice level. Of course there are many effects in the voice recording to portrait a mystic magical echo and wondering in the fog sensation. Other than that, do not expect blasting drums or exhilarating rhythm, no. Instead the flutes take over and occasional bagpipe sound. Also some proper work in the guitar department, as in the song Calling for you and Sacrifice. But let’s not forget that this is a tribute/compilation of songs that belong into a Rock Opera. On that note, the last song takes the gold and huge respect to Maite Itoiz for the the incredible voice performance. While it all seemed atmospheric and a bit the same, the song Dun Angus II made me repeat the song many times to hear it again and again and again.
I’m converted and I will listen to all the history of Excalibur. Recommend you to do the same.
Alan Simon – Producer