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Comments for Stivell, Alan, Zoom

If you''ve had trouble getting hold of some of Stivell''s 70s albums, and hesitate about buying his more recent work, then this is an ideal buy. It includes all the pieces you''d expect in any Stivell ''best of'', but also includes some less well known beauties. CD 1 concentrates on the more traditional or harp-based pieces, and testifies to his superlative skill on that instrument (eg Ys, Marig ar Pollanton, and the stunning Jenovefa). It''s good to hear the live version of his 1976 song ''Stok ouzh an enez'' (Approaching the island''), the blues harp of ''Negro Song'' and the more experimental ''An Advod'', but an oldie like ''Kimiad'' still stuns with its perfect arrangement of guitar, pipes and voice. CD2 rocks, and is generally more flamboyant, sometimes with great success - as in the tracks taken from the Live in Dublin album - other times not so convincingly. A highlight is the wonderful but rarely heard ''Da Ewan'' from 1977 (nowadays featuring among the repertoire of Breton pipebands), Iain Morrison Reel is still the best folk-rock piping track ever, and Pop-Plinn is a still a gem of deceptive simplicity. But ''The Return'' is messy and embarassing (there are far better things to include from Mists of Avalon), and the inclusion of the long dreary ''Ar Baile'' to represent the Celtic Symphony is inexplicable. The 1980 anti-Plogoff (nuclear power station) song Beg Ar Van gains from being cut down to half its length, and the two most recent tracks ''Brian Boru'' and ''Lands of my Fathers'' (flamboyantly welding the Welsh and Breton national anthems against a driving drum track) show that the man hasn''t yet lost his inventiveness and sureness of touch. Two bum tracks and only a few middlings out of a total of 35 is a fair monument to this Breton artist - well worth getting, or giving.
2-CD compilation. A retrospective of Alan Stivell`s best-loved classics, covering a span of 25 years from 1970-95.
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