Stivell, Alan - 1 Douar (Mega Blowout Sale)

SKU 15-MAT 233395
"At long last a *great* album from Stivell, after a series of variously interesting and adventurous but flawed projects. 1 Douar is on a par with Stivell's best from the 1970s, but in the spirit of 90s world music fusion (the only flirting with rock coming in an astonishing collaboration with Velvet Underground's John Cale - how on earth did these two musicians' paths cross! ).

From its scintillating opening track "United World 1" guesting Youssou 'N Dour, to the lush lyrical tones of its last numbers, the album showcases Stivell's inventiveness both in rhythm and melody, and his sureness of touch in dramatic arrangement. Happily, the harp resounds throughout the album, sometimes in melodic lead, often in rhythmic counterpoint. Beautifully produced (in part by Afro-Celt wizard Simon Emmerson), the new technologies enhance rather than drown the whole. Sampling is intelligent and compelling (particularly the late Goadec sisters in "La Memoire de L'Humain"), and even the wacky "Scots Are Right", which could have showcased Stivell at his cringing ranting worst, has a playfulness and an experimental deftness that wins me over (helped by some good smoky vocals by Jim Kerr, ex-Simple Minds). The two elegies (one to recently deceased Breton bard Glenmor, with a superb contribution from Chieftains' piper Paddy Moloney) are built on achingly beautiful, wistful melodies. Irish classic "Una Bhan", chanted in sean-nos style by Breda Mayock, emerges from Stivell's own English variant, set against a hypnotic harp loop, and flows into a majestic crescendo of pipeband drones (which then simply subside - a superb touch of restraint). Other winners are the wonderful Breton/Algerian kan-ha-diskan/Rai fusion "Understand" sung with Khaled, and the lovely hypnotic "United World 2".

The political optimism at the heart of the album celebrating identity and diversity in the global village ("douar" means world in Breton and village in Arabic) is matched by the musical exuberance of Stivell and his guests. Twenty-five years after promoting the musical adventurism that would become "world music", Stivell proves here that he can still reinvent himself, still surprise and still captivate. This is his best album since "Dublin"."
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  • UPC885150333952
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