REVIEWS

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REVIEWS FOR HIDDEN AGENDA

THE MORRIGAN - "Hidden Agenda" CD '02 (English Garden, Eng) - Moving on smoothly from their last release, "Masque," & main man Colin Masson's "Isle Of Eight," THE MORRIGAN deliver a grand statement with "Hidden Agenda." You could call this progressive Celtic rock, but in doing so, would lose all reference to the levels of beauty & diversity in the music here. Traditional work-ups like "Joe Cooley's Reel" & "The Parting Glass" stand side-by-side with originals like the epic "A Night To Remember" & the nearly Broadway-sounding piece, "The Other." Wonderful!
Ray Dorsey , Chaos Realm, USA.


At last the long wait is over and The Morrigan finally deliver their long awaited follow up to "Masque" and the question is was the wait worth it........And the answer is you 'bet it was!'
From the first bars of opening instrumental "Swallow's Tale" your hooked and The Morrigan's unique brand of progressive folk rock has you in it's grasp.

This is innovative in the extreme. From the medieval baroque & roll of "Volta/Basse Danse/Volta", which combines the work of the16th century composer Susato with Praetorius' "Volta" and features Cathy Alexander's haunting recorder work before Colin Masson's guitar kicks in,  the heavy sway of "Joe Cooley's Reel", the traditional "South Australia/Roaring Forties" on which Dave Lodder adds a familiar harder edge; to the more brooding Cathy Alexander composition "The Other", their combination of progressive rock and traditional folk is breathtaking.

The albums real tour de force is the ten minute epic "A Night To Remember." An awesome masterpiece of typically heavy Masson guitar. Cathy Alexander's beautiful (and criminally under-used) vocals, and inspired subject matter. But the whole album is a triumphant achievement- an absolute classic!

Steve Ward, Classic Rock Society


Reviews of Hidden Agenda and other titles can be viewed at the following sites:
www.progressor.net
http://www.dprp.vuurwerk.nl/reviews/0243.htm#morrigan
http://www.blissaquamarine.net/albumreviews24.html
http://www.aural-innovations.com/issues/issue23/morrigan.html
http://www.rambles.net/morrigan_hidden02.html

 

 

REVIEWS FOR MASQUE

The Morrigan have been peddling their unique brand of folk rock since 1984. The quintet stretch the genre further than most, bringing progressive and jazz elements to the brew. Masque is without doubt their most varied album yet, rich in content, with flutes, recorders, accordions, and violins combining well to make a complex mix, offset by Cathy Alexander's crystal clear vocals. Highlights include the superb title track and the traditional Merrily Kissed the Quakers Wife", an Irish jig as spirited as it's name implies.
Nick Shilton, Classic Rock magazine, Great Britain.


The last time I heard the Morrigan was live at Whitchurch, Hants. and then on their CD single "War in Paradise", so it's been a few years and a couple of line up changes since - but I remember them to be a feisty folk rock band who could easily play a simplistic English folk tune one minute, and then be playing some  heavier rock rhythms the next. the good news is that they've got better. The links between their heavier sections and the more medieval is mind boggling. Take the opening to Merrily Kissed the Quakers Wife", the guitar equals Gilmour and takes the Morrigan onto another plane before the flute of Mervyn B (a spicy joke or two there!) pushes the guitar backwards and then pulls the band together into a mighty electric jig - the Morrigan at their hearty best. All the band are multi instrumentalists, which conjures up the picture of a musical riot - it never gets to that stage though. they have their haunting moments too, as you might expect for a band of their type. Former bass player Cliff Eastabrook returns to do a bit of bas and Cathy Alexander remains as the central voice while Colin Masson also remains and shares bass duties with Lodder. Oh, and drummer Arch is still there too with his garage full of percussion instruments that includes a 2,000 gallon oil tank. As I have said, the Morrigan can do it all really. When you arrive at "the Lykewake Dirge" you may well hear what I mean as Mervyn takes on a regal counter tenor with the rest of the band accompanying him. Quite medieval and beautiful too - until Arch hits the 2,000 gallon oil tank. Boom! Hear the clock strike thirteen on "The Demon Lover" before Cathy takes on the role of seduced maiden, and Archie goes mad on drums. Great music, especially for progressive fans who like a bit of mystic and history mixed among lively solos and a fusion of musical styles. I must say Cathy Alexander sounds excellent throughout and she produces the goods on the very recognizable "She Moved Through The Fair", the album's final track.
Martin Hudson, Wondrous Stories (The Classic Rock Society magazine), Great Britain.


The Morrigan's main point is that they mix traditional and early music with progressive rock and produce an intelligent thoughtful and completely original slant on the well worn folk rock theme. "Masque is also their finest hour to date.
John O' Regan Rock and Reel magazine, Great Britain.


As the triumphal opening of synthesized trumpets breaks into exquisite electric guitar and the tune changes direction five times in as many minutes, before opening out into the Latin harmonies of the Boars Head Carol, You just know that it is Morrigan through and through. Dever the Dancer weaves mysteriously through a frozen yew forest and allows room for the more delicate touches of this infinitely versatile combo. New stuff blends brilliantly with the high wattage monasticism of the Lykewake Dirge in which Arch adds a 2,000 gallon oil tank to his wondrous percussiveness. Its all here: moodiness, magnificence, sly humour, and just plain rollicking good fun, And boy do they mean business!
Jon Simms Folk on Tap magazine Great Britain.


THE MORRIGAN - "Masque" CD '98 (English Garden, Eng) - Sometimes, it just all comes together for you. Such a time was finding 3 CD's by England's THE MORRIGAN at a convention in PA recently. This is Celtic rock music, but so far beyond that, that it is merely a jumping-off-point for trying to describe an awesome wonder. With "Masque," THE MORRIGAN has created a work of such stirring beauty and passion that it renders genre labels useless. This is music that takes it's heart from ancient traditions and builds on them with rock instrumentation, yet never jarringly so. The interpretation of classic trad pieces like "Blarney Pilgrim" and "She Moved Through The Fair" (I love this!) stand side-by-side with original epics like "The Demon Lover," each filling up their nearly 8-minute lengths with lush, deep excellence. This CD introduces me (and hopefully you!) to the gorgeous vocals of Cathy Alexander, the deft multi-instrumentation of Colin Masson and the scalding lead guitar work of Dave Lodder, who's effort in "Moon Ghost" (a 7 minute opus of it's own) is breathtaking. Awesome stuff as well, are the earlier albums "Wreckers" and "Spirit Of The Soup" that I picked up as well, the latter showing a less-rock side of the band (before they had a drummer), but drenched with killer, catchy & well-played songs. Simply put, THE MORRIGAN is superb and anything with their name on should be yours. 
Ray Dorsey , Chaos Realm, USA. 

 

REVIEWS FOR WRECKERS

A genial offering if somewhat out of time. The Morrigan are an old fashioned folk rock band -no excuses- they sound quite happy to be one. Consequently this could so easily have come from the fag end days of the Electric Muse's first flush. They have markedly similar intentions to those of later Sprigguns, and a sound made all the more amusing by bursts of pure proggery and acoustic interlude. Chiefly "trad arr." the material comes slick and substantial - loads of guitars, synths, electric percussion. Even their originals fit snugly with the overall formula though fave nips from the folk quarter are a claustrophobic but highly effective Yarrow, with so much caged in energy, and a stately Agincourt Carol, heavy on the deep booming beat. Then to top it all off splendidly, The booklet has them all posing windswept on the local moor. Predictable but perfectly fitting. OK, Wreckers is not cutting edge in the slightest, but it's a hoot of a way to spend an hour or so and it'll put a ruddy big smile on your mug.
Simon Jones, Folk Roots magazine, Great Britain



 

....From here the music flows on, through notes of unconventional pop,easy going reggae and shivering cold. Then to the finale, once again, an ambiguous interpretation between the modern and the classic. The sequence "Dark Girl Dressed In Blue\The Doubting Page" fuses a musical song of the most noble tradition with one by Masson, and the difference is imperceptible. So intimate is the colloquy of the Morrigan with their own roots, that they can choose to either pay homage, or challenge them. But, because they are more appreciable for their effervescent style rather than their experimental attitude, The Morrigan will rapidly become part of our listening habits, and remain there a long time.
Rockerilla magazine Italy (translated from the Italian).


The Morrigan are a British folk-rock band whose previous adventures in the recording world haven't as yet received their due acclaim. Wreckers is the sequel to "Rides Out", and sees them heading for the heartland of the British folk tradition influence wise.
"Wreckers" brings about a very English electric folk style high on drama and atmospherics perfectly suiting big ballads like "Yarrow" and "Cold Blows The Wind". Cathy Alexander's vocals are both a commanding narrative vessel and a tender ethereal whisper. The epic title track offers more pyrotechnics than most stadia megastars while "Banks of Green Willow" succeeds as a model of simplicity. Freshly vibrant and innovative, "Wreckers" places the Morrigan into the big league. English folk-rock hasn't sounded this urgent in eons.

John O' Regan. Rock and Reel magazine, Great Britain.


In the same tradition as their previous work: traditional and own songs form subtle Celtic spiritual atmospheres (with beautiful vocals by Cathy and superb flute playing by Mervyn) Although a few of their own songs sound like modern festival rock (heavier guitar and synth arrangements, dub rhythms, etc.). The CD sounds more 90s than previous releases and has a fuller more elaborate sound.
Anyway, its another beauty, a fine product of the British psychedelic folk heritage. Recommended.

Croninga Well magazine, The Netherlands.

 

REVIEWS FOR THE MORRIGAN RIDES OUT

The Morrigan's "Rides Out" album was originally released on vinyl in 1990 and established their very English brand of folk rock. Now re-released on CD for the first time with an additional bonus track in "The Well Below The Valley", the album projects a style of Elizabethan drama mixed with folk rock and progressive rock overtones. Chorpus Christi is subject to an ethereal almost ghostly treatment with Melanie Byfield and Cathy Alexander's creating a breathy otherworldly atmosphere. "Buskett's Folly " resembles a French courtly dance with a 70's prog undercoat and "Girls Will You Take Him" is the most obviously Celtic influenced piece on display here. "Rides Out" is an undiscovered masterwork now given a new lease of life.
John O' Regan. Rock and Reel magazine, Great Britain.


This five piece English electric folk band comes off as a cross between Fairport Convention and Jethro Tull. The material is mostly traditional, with keyboardist Cathy Alexander (sounding much like Cathy Le-Surf) doing most of the lead vocals. Along with bass, guitars, and drums, are keyboards and various woodwinds mixed together and superbly played. Much more interesting than most 90's folk-rock material and certainly worth a listen for any fan of the genre.
Dirty Linen magazine, USA.


THE MORRIGAN - "Rides Out" CD '97/'90 (English Garden, Eng) - Having already reported on this English band's excellent "Masque" CD below, as well as giving a serious thumbs-up to a couple of their older discs, it was cool to receive this one from 1990. This is the band's early foray into more electric rock, as it's predecessor "Spirit Of The Soup" (a great one, by the way!) did not feature a drummer. The wonderful blend of Celtic folk and prog that blossomed so on "Masque" is seen here in a bit more basic form, yet it is still quite impressive in stuff like "Night Comes Closer," "The Well Below The Valley" & "The Black Nag." Interestingly, this CD is also previous to guitarist Dave Lodder's entry into the group (note my commentary on his work on "Masque" below). That allows the listener to hear that main-man Colin Masson is no slouch on the 6-string himself and, once again, the whole thing is tied together by Cathy Alexander's wonderful vocals. Highly recommended, like all THE MORRIGAN's stuff. 
Ray Dorsey , Chaos Realm website USA. 

 

REVIEWS FOR SPIRIT OF THE SOUP

In 1985 The Morrigan recorded an album on a Tascam portastudio, called "Spirit of the Soup". A very good initiative because this album has the same high musical qualities as "The Morrigan Rides Out": traditionals like "Cold Haily Windy Night", "Turtle Dove", "Cold Blows the Wind" and the title track are performed and treated with the solemn dignity these ancient Celtic songs deserve, and self penned numbers like "Executioners Song", "Agincourt", and "Silent Seasons" are prime examples of modern psychedelic folk with electric guitars, synths, flute, and fairy tale atmospheres. "Spirit of the Soup" is an excellent psych\folk CD that will please anyone interested in this discipline.
Croninga Well, The Netherlands.

 

REVIEWS FOR ISLE OF EIGHT (Colin Masson's first solo album)  -

Review from Classic Rock Society magazine ìWondrous Storiesî

If come the end of this year this album hasnít won or come close to winning the CRS Best Album of the Year there will be no justice. I can remember hearing this album almost a year ago in its rough form on a tape sent to me by Colin Masson, known also for being one member of the band The Morrigan (soon to visit the CRS), and I was blown away by it immediately. That wasnít because it was breaking any new ground, quite the opposite in fact, as comparisons with Mike Oldfield classic albums  are very easy.  No, it was merely because this album is a wonderful production full of highs and no lows with a mature mixture of progressive rock, folk and medieval too.  It all comes together as a beautiful piece of music and one that sits very high in my collection of thousands of albums.  This would have been a classic in its own right twenty years ago but should still create a buzz now among readers of magazines such as this one.
It is made up of three tracks: the title track weighing in at over twenty five minutes.  ëTotal Eclipseí (recorded while that rather large natural event was happening) over twenty seven minutes and ëReturn to the Northern Wastelandí a mere thirteen minutes.  This is value for money and a real treasure.  I remember sitting with Colin outside the main hall at last years Whitchurch Festival and listening to the manís hope for this album, something I could only wholeheartedly agree with.

It is essentially an instrumental album but there are vocal sections supplied by fellow Morrigan muso, Cathy Alexander  in the opening track, among its reggae beat; incredible when only minutes earlier you have been listening to a medieval sounding section.  She also supplies vocals on the second track and plays some additional keyboards on the final track.  There is something very British about this album, hard to explain what but there it is.

Colin plays everything, from electric and acoustic guitar through to trombone, recorders and bass guitar too making this as tru a solo album as you will get.  No miltitue of guest musicians necessary.  Masson the guitarist is a master (his keyboards arenít bad either) and this as a work of art just has to be appreciated.  Buy is and sit back and enjoy!

Martin Hudson



Colin Masson "Isle of Eight"  Headline HDL505 n

Although recorded in 1999 the Headline release came out in 2001 and although it contains passages very much in the vein of The Morrigan reveals Colin as a gifted composer and musician in his own right. There are only three tracks on 'Isle of Eight'. The opening title track lasts for a full 251/2 minutes and is a dream for lovers of skilfully conceived and executed progressive rock with guitar playing matching Camel's Andy Latimer in expressiveness and also reminiscent of Mike Oldfield. There is an orchestral feel near the end of this epic track but even this is eclipsed (!) by the 27 minute long 'Total Eclipse'- this starts in gentle traditional style but Colin shows he can also rock- witness the blazing guitar riff 20 minutes in! 'Return to the Northern Wasteland' seems so short- it's only 13 minutes long for goodness sake! This has a superb pulsing bass line and a memorable mandolin like guitar riff.

Colin plays all the instruments himself on this remarkable album (various guitars, recorders, keyboards, percussion, trombone and drum programming) assisted on the first two tracks by The Morrigan's Cathy Alexander and by Ryan Masson on the final track (random noises)

He is also a talented artist of a different kind judging by the fetching cover artwork.   Highly recommended.

Phil Jackson

Zeitgeist

http://www.the-rocker.freeservers.com/sept2002/escapade.html



Isle of Eight

Reviewed by: Stephanie Sollow, August 2001   Progressiveworld.net
http://www.progressiveworld.net/masson2.html

Firmly rooted in the classical folk tradition Colin Masson (who is also a member of the folk band The Morrigan) has used his multi-instrumental strength and inspiration to spread over three lengthy tracks. The occasional use of recorders certainly highlights the atmosphere of this album. Add to this the typical guitar style and you immediately land yourself in the Mike Oldfield back garden. Although the drums are programmed, they rather sound OK, which doesnít happen a lot in these cases. Colinís acoustic guitar playing, combined with the use of the recorder, certainly creates a medieval feel to the music. After Cathy Alexanderís (also from The Morrigan) guest vocal, the title track speeds up, unleashing freaky guitar sounds. Towards the end itís as if Gordon Giltrap steps in to help a hand. In fact I can easily see myself in rural England enjoying a good pint of the local brew and a ploughmanís lunch whilst this music keeps me amused.

Thereís a mixture of Bert Jansch, Gordon Giltrap and John Renbourn to be found in the acoustic intro for "Total Eclipse." Once again the fragile nature of the music is extra underlined by introducing sparse recorders. "Return To The Northern Wasteland" starts with sequencer loops and dark sounds as if thunder and black rainy clouds are packing over the Masson flagship. This Colin Masson solo album sounds as if the best bits out of Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn have been mixed together and spiced up with extra folk elements. Isle of Eight is a nice album that sadly will not sell millions of copies as there will always remain a big gap between Masson and the real Mike Oldfield!


Isle of Eight
Reviewed by: Nigel Camilleri, Dutch Progressive Rock Page
http://www.dprp.net/reviews/0141

Tracklist: Isle Of Eight (25:32), Total Eclipse (27:06), Return To The Northern Wasteland (12:56) 

Recorded during 1998/99 at Greenacres Farm in Wiltshire, Isle of Eight is the first solo album from Colin Masson, who is no stranger to the world of progressive rock, being a member of one of the foremost progressive folk-rock bands in circulation, The Morrigan. Regarded as an excellent guitarist as well as a multi-instrumentalist, Masson demonstrates his musical capabilities on this album, which though only containing three tracks, runs at over one hour in duration.

Musically this album resembles in more ways than one the musical output of Mike Oldfield especially with Masson's ability to fuse folk elements, especially Celtic ones, with some great symphonic rock. He is not alone in creating this album as two of the tracks, namely Isle Of Eight and Total Eclipse features the voice of Cathy Alexander while Return To the Northern Wasteland also has Cathy Alexander and Ryan Masson contributing to keyboards and random noises respectively. Apart from that the electric, acoustic, classical and 12 string guitars, bass guitar, recorders, keyboards, percussion, trombone and drum programming are all in the hands of Colin Masson.

As you can expect it is very difficult to try and describe a whole track that runs over twenty minutes in duration, but in synthesis Masson does manage to create masterpieces with his works. The electric guitar is very very similar to that of Mike Oldfield especially when one compares the styles of playing of both guitarists. There is no flurry of notes along the fretboard, but each note is calculated and delayed, giving it the necessary emphasis and importance.

Another similarity is the introduction of various instruments at various sections of the track which play a short tune that is immediately picked up by the guitar and continued from there. Also the common love for folk music, especially what seems to medieval music can be felt throughout the album. At times the music has tinges of Gryphon or Amazing Blondel, not to mention The Morrigan. Cathy Alexander's voice, one of the most beautiful voices in British folk music, further adds to the folk roots feel. Much like Oldfield did with Maggie Reilly, Masson does with Alexander as her voice adds to the depth of the tracks she is present on as well as add to the variety within the track.

Having said that there also times when Masson lets his rock roots take over with his guitar work changing slant (see the introduction of Return To the Northern Wasteland). The use of twin guitar playing, as well as guitar harmonies, similar to Brian May's style of playing, comes as a surprise when compared to the mellow nature of much of the music on the album. On the other hand it makes a great contrast, never straying away from the underlying musical theme of the track while at the same time serving as a bridge between various musical ideas.

On the whole this album is a great album to listen to and should appeal to all those progressive rock listeners who are enamoured of Mike Oldfield's solo output. As I have said there is alot of similarity between Masson and Oldfield, yet at the same time Masson has managed to create three tracks which have their own individual identity, making this album worthy of anybody's collection. 
 
 

Nigel Camilleri 
 


 
 

Live Reviews

 

The Beltane Bash
(London, England )

Review by David Ash

The headline band today was The Morrigan. I had heard their CD; Wreckers, I was withholding judgement until I had heard them, live. The stage at Conway Hall isn't very large, and The Morrigan's equipment filled it!

After the excellent dancing of Wolfshead & Vixen, The Morrigan took centre stage, house lights dimmed, the stage flooded in a blinding white light, the music, nothing short of perfection! A really tight band. All of them, very proficient musicians, but the music was played with feeling, and although loud, very very good. Their first set ended, as Galatea took the stage. She danced the Oriental dance, and finished her set with everyone up and dancing, as always she was exciting, and wonderful. It really is incredible to think that anyone's hips can move like that!

When she left the floor, The Morrigan came back, and how! I have always fancied myself as a bit of a drummer, I've got a D'jemby and a Bhodran, but their drummer! Oh **** he was good, a weather-beaten drum kit, but played to perfection, maybe if I practice a lot, like every day for many years... ... ... ... . Everything about this band was top notch, vocals, keyboards guitars the lot. If you can get to see them live, do it! their CD's don't do them justice. You can hear them on the web at http://www.hi-note.com/morrigan
 

Review from New Horizons website
Venue: Whitchurch Festival

The Morrigan played on the second day of this year's festival, taking to the stage in the smaller of the two concert halls, which was packed with an enthusiastic lunchtime crowd. The line up was the same as at the Southend show last November (see above) but to recap we have Cathy Alexander on vocals, keyboards and recorder; Mervyn B - vocals, flute and percussio; Colin Masson-bass, guitar and vocals; Dave Lodder on guitar and bass; Archy Stone - drums and vocals.
Musically the band deliver a brand of electric folk rock, and although this is only the second time that I have witnessed them live, I continue to be impressed by the lively mix of self penned pieces alongside their own unique arrangements of traditional songs. The band's most recent CD 'Masque' provides the source for most of the tracks that were played but where this is not the case I have mentioned the title of the CD that the track is taken from.

The set opened with the somewhat unseasonal 'The Boarshead Carol', which I believe is originally a 15th century song. Despite the addition of modern instruments to the performance the piece still retains much of its medieval character, especially during the sections of the vocals that are performed in Latin. The song is rounded up with a nicely played Tudor theme 'La Mourisque' (taken from Susato's 'Danserye'), which is probably familiar to many people even if they are not aware of its title. This was well received and gave a good feeling about what was to follow.

In spite of, or perhaps because of, the sweltering heat outside the hall, the winter theme was continued with the second son 'Dever the Dancer', written by Colin Masson and Cathy Alexander. A quiet and lightly sad sounding song with a crisp clear vocal melody and subdued instrumentation.

Next it was time for a short instrumental interlude and, as is the case od the CD 'Young Ryan's', this hauntingly beautiful Cathy Alexander composition was played back to back with another traditional piece, 'Blarney Pilgrim'. The latter piece has a very lively up temp tune full of recorder and flute, with a driving bass rhythm, which makes for some very enjoyable dancing if you feel so inclined. Again, the audience response was very positive.

Taken from the first CD 'Rides Out', 'Tom O'Bedlam' is all about madness. Bedlam was an early lunatic asylum on the outskirts of London and, suitably enough, the song begins with a chorus of maniacal laughter. The song mixes 17th century words with a 16th century tune and in true Morrigan fashion the end result is a real treat. This is powerful folk rock at its very best, and I cannot recommend it strongly enough. The guitar work and keyboards were scintillating and the vocals had an inner strength that could not fail to satisfy.

The title track to the 'Wreckers' album is another Masson/Alexander track, inspired by the Cornish coastline, scene of many a shipwreck. This song deals with the fate of one of the ships from the Spanish Armada. After a slow paced opening, which is initially dominated by the vocals the song develops with some quite stunning guitar work, with a strong progressive edge.

'Merrily Kissed the Quaker's Wife' is an instrumental track where the bass seems to force the background pace along while the recorder plays at a pace against which I would defy anyone to refrain from tapping their feet!

Bringing the shipwreck theme more up to date, 'Night to Remember' is a new and, as yet, unrecorded song that deals with the sinking of the Titanic. Lyrically it should be pointed out that it draws more from the real story of events on that fateful night than does a recent film on the subject! The track, in some ways, seems a departure from the rest of the band's material but, in reality, it is a real marriage of folk themes with strongly progressive elements. from the outset the track is very evocative, starting with the thrill of the journey and then, by using dynamic mood changes and by gradually building up an oppressive edge, we are switched from that thrill to the horror of the catastrophe which we know is going to happen. Yet even in the midst of the horror, there are moments of calm and the song brilliantly captures the spirit of the musicians playing on while the ship goes down by clever use of instrumentation and vocal harmonies that really convey a sense of pathos. The song finishes off with echoes of morse code ringing out from the guitar, after which it is hard not to be hit with a sense of loss. Although this track has only been played by the band a couple of times before, it was clear that this is a tremendous piece of writing by any standard and I, for one, cannot wait to hear a recorded version.
Finally, it was back to the 'Wreckers' album and a track called 'Dark Girl Dressed in Blue', a fast paced and uplifting Irish tune that formed a real high note on which to finish the set.

We had been treated to a packed set which seemed to pack a lot of punch into the hour the band were allotted and, judging from the reception they received, I was clearly not alone in hoping that The Morrigan will be back at the Festival again next year. Great music, great entertainment, a band well worth going to see if you ever get the chance.

Simon


 
The Morrigan (playing with Tantalus)Wharnecliff Hotel, Tintagel,  Cornwall

I have never seen these multi-instrumentalists before, so it was an amazing experience to feel the energy and atmosphere they create with their music. They combine original imaginative rock music, with arrangements of traditional, mainly Irish folk songs, but stamped with their own paticular style. one of the many highlights was the title track off their Wreckers CD, an apt song for the coastal town of Tintagel, about the fate of a Spanish galleon, which Cathy sang beautifully clear, reminding me of Annie Haslam, whilst the guitar leads had shades of early Mike Oldfield. The band are happiest when there are people near the front jigging to their music and this was achieved when they played the fast paced"Merrily Kissed The Quakers Wife". It opened with  Floydian tendencies before becoming a manic Irish jig with Merv's fingers racing along the flute like a Pied Piper as seven merry maidens magically got up and danced to the puppet masters tunes. The band have the ability to conjure up a primal rhythm that even had my legs trying to get me up there (the rascals). The Agincourt Carol is one such example with a powerful and mysterious percussion driving it forward as vocal harmonies floated spiritually over the top, before turning into a fast paced jig with recorder and layered keyboard atmospheres.

The Morrigan proved that they had more than their fair share of vocalists when they did a cover of "After The Gold Rush", wonderful vocal harmonies with no musical accompaniement. Millers Dance a traditional arrangement off the Wreckers album, saw members of Tantalus dancing and having a great time! The band played on, wonderful stuff. Not content with one magic evening, our party went to see both bands again  the following night at the Wharf Arts Centre, Tavistock in Devon! Hope we see both bands at the Classic Rock Society soon.

Dave Kennedy Wondrous Stories. Great Britain


 
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