David Davidson is proud of his Celtic origins.
He is Scot-Irish. The Irish rebelled against authority, the king and
the church by wandering away in their imagination to a land
where fairies and elves worked their magic on
Celtic music inspires many composers.
If you listen to U2 carefully, you will find inflexions of this
music. The Corrs, another Irish group, use the violin played in a
folksy style. A R Rahman often forages into Celtic music, as in
Pachai nirame from the film Alai Payuthe.
this CD springs from such a world. The violin by David Davidson
is poignant, sharp and liquid. In its gambolling, it evokes a misty
cheer in The Farmer's Hand (three versions -- introduction,
instrumental and vocal) and the Fairy Dance, and a romantic
melancholy worthy of Beethoven in Brighid's Blessing(Brighid
is a revered Irish saint).
While these numbers are
strongly backed by an orchestra of keyboards and drums, Ma
Cairenn, dedicated to David's wife Karen, highlights the
violin. The orchestra comes in late in this tender serenade. Three
minutes into the song, it breaks out into a lively dance
The Fianna battle song has a chirpy flute on
drums, reminding you a bit of the Pahadi dhun that flute
players often play towards the end of the concert. But the stress
changes to the violin and the image breaks to reveal a busy army of
fairy people, marching. The informative inlay card tells
you that the Fianna was the first full time pre-Christian Irish
army. The violin with short phrases and punchy bowing changes its
own image as a contemplative or swinging instrument to a wiry
The Knowing Tree, Summer Skye, Fields of the
heart and the Farmer's hand are meditative, exploring
gently, almost anticipating the result of the quest. The knowing
tree reflects the Bodhi tree of Buddhist religion and
the arali tree of our south Indian folklore.
Garden is sung by Caroline Peyton and reminded me of Enya's New
Age music. The irony is that when one digs into one's roots, one is
termed new age!
Myst over the glen is the only song
in the CD written and arranged by Kristin Wilkinson. All other songs
are written by David Davidson. The music and lyrics take us back to
the romantic notion of simple, pastoral living where the roles
of humans are defined, and the land, the sun and
nature teaches people to give their all to the task at hand.
God blesses the present and the past, not the future.
Farmer's Hands ends with these words
Our lives are full,
with knowledge gained
We take our lives through joy and
Our gifts we bring to each day's task
God bless the
present and the past
Interestingly the sun is mother to
them. In most tribal cultures and ancient civilisations, the sun is
male. In Mother Sun while the violin roots with its earthy
tone, the airy flute takes towards the sun and the result is the
dappled orchestra, shimmering with golden sunlight. Fantasy and
dance has some slow violin phrases where the inflexions which
are different from the usual Celtic ones. The graces double instead
of touching three notes in quick succession, for example, r, g, r,
it goes, r, g, r, g and that makes it sound very different in the
context of this album.
How wonderful it would be if we could
take up our folk music and render it with as much love and
respect. Bhoomi by Salim and Sulaiman Merchant is one such
effort and has some untouched folk music from north India.
S Suchitra Lata
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