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Alan Stivell - Tri Martolod/The King of the Fairies CD (album) cover

TRI MARTOLOD/THE KING OF THE FAIRIES

Alan Stivell

 

Prog Folk

4.00 | 1 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars During his most prolific and influential period of 1971-1973, ALAN STIVELL not only released several albums and toured, but also offered a series of equally significant singles. Some of these were later supplanted by live renditions in popularity, but his original version of "Tri Martolod" remains one of his most beloved, a Breton tale of three sailors in dialog as they cross from Brittany to Newfoundland. It dates back to the 18th century and has since been covered by numerous artists in the Celtic world and beyond, but Stivell is generally credited with reviving the piece with an utterly stunning and riveting rendition.

The track begins with Stivell delivering the compelling melody on harp with other acoustic instrumentation before the dialogue begins, with each sung part intersecting with the next, repetitive motifs and vocal harmonies sealing the sense of wonder. Violin also swirls about as the song develops, and even some organ appears towards the close of the track to enhance the original themes.

The B-side is a rare studio version of a well known traditional instrumental "King of the Fairies", which generally appears in live form on most compilations. The lead instrument is the violin, with acoustic guitar backing, and later spirited lead guitar layered on top, building to a crescendo and a sudden end. The piece has been covered by many, including fellow prog folk pioneers HORSLIPS, but Stivell's might be the best of all.

With the A-side being one of Stivell's best ever pieces, and the B-side pretty rare in the form presented, this 45 is highly recommended, and would warrant 5 stars if no reasonable alternatives were present, but most will probably be happy enough with their presence in some form or other in one of Stivell's numerous compilations or live recordings.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |

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