Celtic Legend are a group of pan-Celtic writers and performers formed in 2002 by Cornish born composer Chris Payne. The idea is to create music based on various ancient Celtic legends. Inspired by the tragic love story of Tristan and Isolde, this first recording, a fascinating mixture of classical, Celtic and medieval music, captures the real essence of this beautiful 6th century Cornish legend.
The CD features an array of very talented singers, poets and musicians. These include Irish actor Patrick Bergin, who narrates the story. Patrick of course is best known for playing opposite Julia Roberts in 'Sleeping with the Enemy', and also for 'Patriot Games' where he appeared alongside Harrison Ford.
The part of Isolde was sung by Deirdre Gilsenan, an internationally acclaimed Irish soprano who has sung with 'Lord of the Dance', 'Celtic Women', 'Anuna' and the 'Celtic Tenors'. The other main vocalists were Arthur Brown (of 'Fire' fame!) as King Marc of Cornwall, and Jim Carey, the Eden Project's resident composer was the voice of Tristan. The musicians included the multi-instrumentalist Francis Calavia from the group 'Incantation', and also the Cornish guitarist Andy Brodie.
The English lyrics were written by the legendary songwriter Peter Sarstedt who is famed for his huge hit 'Where do you go to my lovely'. Chris Payne, orchestral composer, wrote the music with French composer Franck Hemard also contributing to the score.
A short film has been made to accompany the release and features a song called "Ysolt y'nn Gweinten" (Isolde in the spring) with Cornish/Welsh singer Gwenno Saunders of 'Riverdance' and 'Lord of the Dance' fame as the Spirit of Isolde and Patrick Bergin as Beroul the poet. The text for the video was written by Tim Saunders, one of the leading figures in the Cornish language. One of the interesting things about this song is that the language used in Ysolt y'nn gweinten is very close to that spoken by the 'Brythonic' Celts after the Roman occupation. It is charming to think that this language has hardly changed since the times of Tristan, Isolde and King Arthur.