The Pilgrim returns to Lorient

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 Servat's narration.
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

"A 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 beautiful.
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 the event.
Le Telegramme 14/8/00

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