Following the outstanding success
of THE PILGRIM concert at the Lorient Interceltique festival in
August 2000, the organisers have invited Shaun to stage another
performance, of his largest live work to date, at this year's festival
on Saturday August 11th.
Already an all star cast has been lined up for the
concert, including, vocalists Rita
Connolly & Liam O'Maonlai (Hot House Flowers), uilleann
piper Liam O'Flynn, Narrator, Gilles
Servat, conductor Guy Berrier with the festival orchestra. This
concert will see the return of Edelmiro Fernandez on Gaitia, Josik
Allot and Bernard Pichard on bombards well as
Bagad Lorient to great dramatic effect. Once again The Pilgrim Band,
featuring Riverdance percussionist Noel Eccles with Johnny Scott
on guitar, Eoghan O'Neill on Bass and Rod McVey on keyboards, will
feature strongly in the performance.
THE PILGRIM is a musical
journey through the Celtic countries of Western Europe, bound together
by a narrator who reveals the journey through the eyes of the 6th
century Irish saint, Colm Cille. In stunning progression, players
and instruments representative of the seven Celtic regions are highlighted
against the backdrop of a symphony orchestra.
VISUALLY and culturally spectacular, THE
PILGRIM centres round Shaun's special compositional skills which
combine translations of medival Gaelic poetry with bravura performances
by a range of Celtic traditional instrumental soloists and singers,
epic choral songs and blockbusting pipe band and orchestra duels.
THE PILGRIM, as with Shaun Davey's other concert-works, is thrilling,
moving and innovative.
HISTORICALLY, THE PILGRIM's journey, starting in Ireland
and ending in Galicia, follows the routes of the Celtic saints,
who braved the hardship and unknown perils of travel by sea and
land, in the spreading of Christianity in early medieval times.
Spiritually however, THE PILGRIM, focuses on individual faith and
daring, and at its conclusion in Galicia mirrors the traditional
pilgrimage route to Santiago da Compostella.
Reviews of Last Year's Concert
"The Pilgrim fascinated 3700 spectators and pinned them
to their seats. They in turn demanded two encores and gave
the musicians a standing ovation. Shaun Davey can be proud
of the updating of his work, it was simply superb.
Created in 1987 at the request of FIL, The Pilgrim has become
a well known musical myth among followers of that genre. This
year Shaun Davey reworked it for the 30th year of the Festival
and all in all it was the concert not be missed. The Pilgrim
is the story of St.Colomban who travelled throughout the Celtic
nations where he encountered not only suffering and cruelty
but also hope and beauty. There is no doubt but that the music
brought the 3700 listeners on a superb voyage of the imagination
marked with wonderful Celtic imagery and carried by Gilles
Rita Connolly seduced with her gentle voice, like Liam O'Maonlai.
And what can be said of the other soloists, talents such as
Liam O'Flynn on uilleann pipes, Andre Le Meut and Josik Allot
on bombardes, and Helen Davies on Celtic Harp, not to mention
the 180-strong choir and the FIL orchestra accompanied by
Bagad from Lorient.
Ouest France 14/8/00
standing ovation for at least five minutes from 3000 spectators.
Rarely in 30 years has a festival show evoked such enthusiasm.
On Saturday evening in the big Kergroise marquee, The Pilgrim
made hearts reel. How can one not be lyrical about an evening
whose lyricism swept away all reticence? It's true that the
first moments of the concert were almost close to being becalmed,
but very quickly the first squalls flurried and the skiff
of Kergroise suddenly so fragile is carried along on a delicious
musical peregrination. One couldn't be prevented from applauding
between each movement though it's not the norm because it
(the music) was too strong, too moving, because it was too
Certainly, for many, it was more than the shock of discovery;
the fusion of orchestra, choir and traditional instruments
dated back 20 years to The Brendan Voyage. But on Saturday
evening it was far better than The Pilgrim of 1087, more accessible
and more intense. From the banks of the Emerald Isle to the
Iberian coast, crossing over the diabolical sea of Albion
and the smiling Armorican, the listener / pilgrim , in his
currach rode on the sea plains for two hours, often buffeted
by the winds of Celtica and sometimes caressed by the gentle
sun of Ponant. At any moment one could meet the body of King
Arthur en route for fascinating Avalon. Yes, one was there,
at the heart of these myths which bathe the coasts of the
Atlantic be it by the grace of collective consciousness or
by a simple flight of uilleann pipes.
The classical instruments soften where the bagpipes, bombardes
or gaitas grate and the traditional instruments bring the
former the savagery they lack. Fusion, one would say, total
fusion gave the whole thing a completely new colour and brilliance
without equal. This without mentioning the voice, certainly
that of Rita Connolly and Liam O'Maonlai, that of Gilles Servat
narrating and the 200-strong choir - without them The Pilgrim
would not have that human depth, this gift which moves us
so profoundly. It's necessary also to salute the performance
of Guy Berrier, the conductor, who made that music with the
strange lineage his own with startling mastery. The whole
crew of this musical voyage were themselves the climax of
WHAT INSPIRATION! WHAT ENERGY!"
Le Telegramme 14/8/00