Mychael & Jeff Danna
with Fiona Ritche,
A Celtic Tale:
The Legend of Deirdre

(Hearts of Space, 1996)

How many kingdoms have been torn apart by the beauty of one woman? Folk tales abound with these stories, and one such story is beautifully presented on A Celtic Tale: The Legend of Deirdre. Fiona Ritchie, with her lush Celtic brogue, is the perfect choice for narrator of this tragic Irish tale. The story is filled with folk tale staples such as prophecy, lust, beauty, brave knights, and exile. This romantic tragedy is a poignant reminder to the listener of the rugged beauty of Ireland.

Mychael and Jeff Danna have done a superb job of creating a music backdrop for this enchanting story. Guest artists provide soaring flute lines, mysterious fiddle strains, and the rich voice of the cello, all of which intertwine with the Dannas' keyboard, guitar, and mandolin. The Dannas' artistry is displayed in the simple elegance of much of themusic, which deftly accompanies the narration. In the story Deirdre is a harper, and the ethereal voice of the Celtic harp is evident in much of the music. As the story approaches the climax, the music becomes more strident and forceful, building to a dramatic battle scene. Effective use of trumpet, bassoon, uillean pipes, and highland pipes accentuate the conflict of the story.

Perhaps the most haunting thread of this tapestry of story and sound is the only song, "Lament." The melody of this song, Deirdre's death song, appears in fragments throughout the story, foreshadowing what is to come. When Krysia Kocjan adds voice to this melody, it comes alive, reaching deep into the listener's soul.

This recording will transport you to Ireland, and give you a feeling of kinship with the land and its people. For those who prefer to read the story on their own and listen to this symphony of sound unencumbered, the CD is available without narration. Both versions of the recording include a beautifully illustrated booklet containing the complete tale.

[ by Jo Morrison ]

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