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Iona - The Book of Kells CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.79 | 77 ratings

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3 stars By the summer of 1990 Nick Beggs had joined Iona as a permanent bassist and a few days later Dutch drummer Frank Van Essen took his place behind the drum kit.In early 91' the band started working on two different projects.One of them was dressing with music and lyrics the 8th century illuminated manuscript ''The book of Kells''.With Van Essen based on The Netherlands things did not work the right way and, although he joined the group on several stage performances, a more proper solution had to be found.This was Terl Bryant, who had also played with Iona as a guest musician.By the dawn of 92' the album had been recorded with Troy Donockley on pipes and whistles, Fiona Davidson on celtic harp, Frank Van Essen on percussion and The Peter Whitfield Strings ensemble as guest appearances, and it was eventually released in July 92' on What Records.

Iona had become masters on producing ethereal, Celtic-influenced music with Rock tendencies and ''The book of Kells'' shows a band on the rise, creating monumental, ancient soundscapes, flashed with modern tunes and echoes via the use of electric guitars and the rhythm section.Crossing the territories of MIKE OLDFIELD and KATE BUSH was more than expected, as the music is performed with plenty of cinematic keyboards in the background, series of acoustic parts and an angelic voice like the one of Joanne Hogg, which is pretty similar to the crystalline chords of ENYA with bits of MAGENTA's CHRISTINA BOOTH.The smooth performances on guitar, bass and drums are accompanied by a mass of instruments like sax, bagpipes, whistles, flutes and percussions, the result is an album full of Ethnic images and Folk tastes, executed under a contemporary sound.Extremely atmospheric material, lacking some sort of energy, but containing a great lyricism and some beautiful, dreamy melodies.Moving a bit further, Iona appear to have adapted some influences from the twisting Neo Prog sound of MARILLION circa-''Holidays in Eden'' and later ''Brave'', music with an electroacoustic sound, some poppy sensibilities, clean and expressive voices and use of cinematic synthesizers.Actually if ''Brave'' was a Celtic-influenced album, I could see it sounding a lot like ''The book of Kells''.

Calm, ethereal and gentle Celtic/Folk-based Prog/Art Rock with a fantastic female singer.Great listening late at night, highlighted by the combination of light electric tunes and traditional, mostly acoustic instruments.Recommended.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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