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GAVIN O'LOGHLEN & COTTERS BEQUEST

Prog Folk • Australia


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Gavin O'Loghlen & Cotters Bequest biography
Cotters Bequest is an Australian six piece progressive Celtic band formed in 1996 playing 28 instruments and characterised by Highland, Uilleann, Northumbrian and Scottish smallpipes, Irish whistles, violin, cello and accordion wrapped in layers of acoustic and electric guitars, vintage keyboards, samplers and rich vocal harmonies. The nucleus of Cotters Bequest has come from the Celtic fusion band "Lochrien" and they have continued to develop the melding of traditional Celtic instruments and modern electronic equipment to create an unique sound in Australian Celtic music. The band's smooth vocals are performed in 10 languages.

The music is in the style of "a Celtic King Crimson.... a Pink Floyd with bagpipes....", with a sprinkling of Peter Gabriel.

Gavin O'Loghlen & Cotters Bequest official website

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GAVIN O'LOGHLEN & COTTERS BEQUEST discography


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GAVIN O'LOGHLEN & COTTERS BEQUEST top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
In The Home Of My Ancestors
1997
4.00 | 1 ratings
My Mother's Country
1998
3.58 | 5 ratings
Land Of The Vast Horizon
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Poet and the Priest
2007

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GAVIN O'LOGHLEN & COTTERS BEQUEST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Poet and the Priest by O'LOGHLEN & COTTERS BEQUEST, GAVIN album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.00 | 1 ratings

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The Poet and the Priest
Gavin O'Loghlen & Cotters Bequest Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars Chronologically speaking, this GAVIN O'LOGHLEN "solo" album predates his first COTTERS request recordings by a decade, even if it sat in the vaults until 2007. So this is a 1980s album that has little musically to do with the bombastic Celtic Rock in which COTTERS BEQUEST traded. Instead we have a bombastic rock opera with no bagpipes, accordions or fiddles and only hints of his traditional roots.

"The Poet and the Priest" leaves no doubt as to O'Loghlen's progressive interests and credentials, as he spins an at least partly autobiographical tale through a series of short intertwined vocal dominated pieces that rarely occupy the same quadrant very long, yet are admirably sequenced and reflective of artists like FISH, GENESIS (1980s), ALAN PARSONS, DIRE STRAITS, PHIDEAUX, MIKE OLDFIELD, and others while offering a surprisingly fresh take on a long buried era. One of the aspects I really appreciate is the paucity of instrumental breaks; those that do appear are never long and generally serve to introduce the next vocal theme. At the same time, the period instrumentation, all by O'Loghlen, is varied and imposing. His voice is low, a bit raspy, and a lot dramatic, as befits his theatrical background and an even earlier time when such was in fashion. He's thankfully always on tune, since the melodies, particularly in the choruses, are nothing short of rousing. This more than compensates by the use of the term "Bull[&*!#]" on a half dozen occasions.

The track list has different representations, which only further cements the dynamism of the story, and it really is more like one long track than anything. It's hard to pick highlights on that basis and also because it's all eminently enjoyable, even, to an extent, some of the PHIL COLLINS-isms appearing towards the end. "Lovers", "Jesters", and "The Open Road" are back to back dynamite, with their sweeping themes, female backing vocals, including those by O'Loghlen's wife, vocoder (remember?) and fuzzy lead guitar fill ins. "The Treadmill" appears and reappears with its "Round and Round" theme, as the protagonist faces the soul sucking reality of many an adult life, a step towards returning to his earlier dreams. The finale is essentially a title cut and ends matters on a guardedly hopeful note, and a musically uplifting one.

"The Poet and the Priest" is like a time capsule preserved for a time when perspective can provide it the recognition it deserves. That time is now, so enjoy without guilt, godspeed. 4.5 stars.

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 My Mother's Country by O'LOGHLEN & COTTERS BEQUEST, GAVIN album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.00 | 1 ratings

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My Mother's Country
Gavin O'Loghlen & Cotters Bequest Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars The popularity of Celtic music resurged in the 1990s, sparked largely by the slick and lavish extravaganzas that toured the globe for years. But they also did a disservice to the tradition by implying that folk could only play with the big boys if it adopted excesses better suited to more grandiose genres like opera, symphony and musical theatre. The alternative, we had learned, was that dreadfully overdone Celtic new age commercialized by a sister of Moya Brennan (I can't say her name. at least not today) or your standard foursome of bearded dudes playing fiddle and accordion as fast as they can (yawn). Is there a middle ground? Yes I say, and it's GAVIN O'LOGHLEN and the COTTER'S BEQUEST, from Australia of all places.

Drawing upon British Isles influence from whence Gavin's mother departed for Antipodean shores, "My Mother's Country" represents an elegant, graceful, and ambitious take on Celtic rock, with clear if not always overt progressive influences. If it is flawed, it is more in its generally downcast mood and tempo, broken on occasion but perhaps not often enough. Yet their deft handling of the angelic female vocals and the obligatory instrumentals, both frequently the downfall of lesser acts, steadies them in the top quintile. The sound is expansive in a manner recalling the best RUNRIG albums, to majestic effect.

The album starts a bit too languidly but builds slowly, the first moments beyond the ordinary being the ponderous cello-like breaks in "St Michael's Mount". From there the glittering "Cerne Abbas" showcases the clarity of the collective vision. glittering melodies blending in subtle shifts. The pipes lead the way but occasional keyboards and martial drums quietly insist on themselves. "Isle of Man" initially sounds like a step back into the ersatz ballad territory except that the choruses recall sacred Scottish chanting akin to the likes of the aforementioned RUNRIG of Skye and CALUM MARIN of Lewis. "Stonehenge" similarly bursts forth from its shackles with a suitably mystical aura and creative instrumentation including a timid yet significant banjo underpinning during an instrumental break. For me the highlight is the eighth track, an apparently Welsh word or name with dozens of characters. Musically it's a vivacious take on CLANNAD's classic "Northern Skyline", and O'Loghlen really shines vocally on the English verses, with the harmonies following suit on the (Welsh?) chorus. "The closer "Silsbury Hill" provides the embryonic blueprint for O'Loghlen's more progressive future. Perhaps it's the title that draws the comparison to PETER GABRIEL in his world weary voice, but DAVID COUSINS is also an apt comparison.

"My Mother's Country" is a mature effort by one of the few "big bands" that fiercely balances on the Celtic rock, and is recommended whether you are 1 or 100 generations removed from your own mother country.

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 In The Home Of My Ancestors by O'LOGHLEN & COTTERS BEQUEST, GAVIN album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.00 | 2 ratings

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In The Home Of My Ancestors
Gavin O'Loghlen & Cotters Bequest Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars An impressive debut by this Celtic rock outfit, "Home of My Ancestors" is inspired by Gavin O'Loghlen's research into his family background. In 1854 his paternal great great grandfather left County Clare, Ireland for Port Adelaide, South Australia, spurred like so many by the potato famine of the 1840s. A similar journey was followed by his maternal great great grandfather not long after. Let's just say the music of his ancestral home fairly simmers in his blood, such that it's hard to believe Gavin doesn't hail from the emerald Isle himself.

Herein is a mixture of the ethereal and the earthy, the reel and the ballad, the brocaded and the straightforward, all of it united by a BIG sound befitting 10 performers, and a crystalline production. Pipes, fiddle, accordion, whistles, acoustic guitar, steady rock drumming, and even keyboards support the glistening melodies and the vocals of Angelee Theodoros among others including nO'Loghlen himself. After a slow start, which would become standard in future recordings, the miraculous "Carraig Chaisel" offers more than a hint of the band's wherewithal, morphing from a virtual hymn to a neo classical piece worthy of MIKE OLDFIELD, or perhaps a Celtic SAGRADO CORACAO DA TERRA might be even more a propos. The uptempo pace is maintained through the bouncy instrumental "Cloghans" and the tongue in cheek political history lesson of "The Two Donkeys of Slaibhe Elbha". Other highlights are "Ballinskelligs Bay" and "And the Donkeys Inherit the Earth", confirming the band's comfort with song and piece equally.

Unfortunately, the musical aspect seems to take second stage to the narrative for the last 4 or 5 tracks, those with a year after their names. They might have been better constructed as liner notes for the most part, the exception being "Winter 1847", which points to further more progressive directions with its multiple themes and its reflective and succinct piano work.

Gavin O'Loghlen seems to have wholeheartedly adopted his musical heritage whether through nature or nurture, but anyone can find a home here if open to a sound bigger than folk and more rootsy than prog.

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 Land Of The Vast Horizon by O'LOGHLEN & COTTERS BEQUEST, GAVIN album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.58 | 5 ratings

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Land Of The Vast Horizon
Gavin O'Loghlen & Cotters Bequest Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars A private message appeared in my progarchives mailbox about a week ago from Gavin O'Loghlen himself, announcing the availability of two official band videos. This group was touted as prog folk and I was skeptical, but sure enough they have been known to this website for many years, and I thank Mr O'Loghlen for bringing them to my long overdue attention. I immediately sought out their recordings and came up with this, their latest. It's a huge concept both historically and sound wise, and more than a little reminiscent of "project" albums or rock operas that used to be so much more commonplace. Only, and most importantly, while we often loved these disks as much for their overreach and fallibility as for their intrinsic worth, "Land of the Vast Horizon" is a whole lot tighter, more energetic, and less kitschy than the historic norm.

The album begins so traditionally one might wonder if it's worth the full listen, even if the frequently used pipes are crisp and complement the splendid acoustic guitars. I have heard this record before and it wears thin, and not from overplay I assure you! But then at about the 2:20 mark the atmosphere thickens and the sweeping vocals enter. Yes the melody is jaunty but also majestic, to say nothing of the layered harmonies and keyboards. Similar juxtapositions are played out throughout this uniformly dynamic disc, which at turns evokes SEVEN REIZH, BATTLEFIELD BAND, CLANNAD, ALAN SIMON, SIROCCO, ENIGMA, and the OLDFIELDS, but mostly it's as fresh as a salt sprayed boat upon a New World shore. True, you have to be open to hearing a lot of pipes, but, I confess I am not a big fan myself and these blow me away in their airy settings, over and over.

A couple of tracks stand out for me, like a 7 foot basketballer does when surrounded by players two inches shorter. Your own choices may differ, but "The Burra's" haunting pace, monkish wails, and synths yield to an equally gripping vocal, fairly choral melody, ancient yet rocked about like an inflatable raft, adapting to all the glorious technology that would sink lesser vessels without a trace. "Natabra Hut" is the one that reminds me of other proggy Aussies "Sirocco" in their use of dramatic string synths and pipes. The whispered accompaniment on vocals add to the solemnity, but at no point is this disk a downer. Its vibrancy is felt through the hope in every immigrant, even faced with unanticipated adversity as they so often must have been.

GAVIN O'LOGHLEN and the Cotters Bequest have produced that rare immense and lavish work that clicks first time every time, crafted with a love of history and fortune, and an underlying optimism that everyone's story is worth telling, and hearing.

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 In The Home Of My Ancestors by O'LOGHLEN & COTTERS BEQUEST, GAVIN album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.00 | 2 ratings

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In The Home Of My Ancestors
Gavin O'Loghlen & Cotters Bequest Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars How many Australians do you know, who performed the bagpipe as one of their first instruments?Gavin O'Loghlen is the guy of our story, playing the bagpipes since his early childhood, adding to his armour the guitars, keyboards, flute and percussion over the years.Following the birth of his daughter, he started searching for his roots and discovered that members of his family had sailed from Ireland to Australia during the 19th century.His next move was to establish his own record label Locrian Records and his own group Cotters Bequest in 1996, showing his love for Celtic Music.The debut of his band comes the following year with the indicative title ''In the home of my ancestors'', featuring no less than 10 singers and musicians, with O'Loghlen handling 17 Rock and traditional instruments(!).

As expected, the music is ethereal, almost cinematic Progressive Folk with lovely Celtic soundscapes and great, dreamy arrangements, full of bagpipes, whistles and flutes, featuring a number of KATE BUSH or LOREENA MCKENNITT wannabees on vocals with Angelee Theodoros being the lead female singer.The textures are rather laid-back with nostalgic, Irish tunes, beautiful female choirs and airy acoustic parts in a very MIKE OLDFIELD way, while light doses of crystalline piano themes make the album even more atmospheric.Things do not stop here.Part of the 13 compositions feature O'Loghlen's sparkling electric guitars and smooth keyboards, much in a melodic Progressive Rock approach, adding the album some serious energy, without losing a moment its Celtic-inspired mood.Moreover O'Loghlen appears to have also an excellent voice with a somewhat Irish color and the more traditional tunes become lovely Prog Folk pieces in his hands.Violins, cello and accordions are the brightest instrumental sounds on these pleasant moves.Add a fair dose of majestic grandiosity in a pair of instrumental tracks, offering a really imaginative world, coming from the far past.

An album created with love and sincere passion, coming from O'Loghlen's respect to his roots.The result is quite satisfying, essential for fans of Celtic Folk or MIKE OLDFIELD, and of course warmly recommended.

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 Land Of The Vast Horizon by O'LOGHLEN & COTTERS BEQUEST, GAVIN album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.58 | 5 ratings

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Land Of The Vast Horizon
Gavin O'Loghlen & Cotters Bequest Prog Folk

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This musical project from Down Under is led by actor, author, composer, director and multi-instrumentalist David O'Loghlen. He has a degree in drama and many years experience in music, music theatre and drama productions. At the age of 11 he started to play bagpipes and soon joined Highland competitions and even extended his musical skills by learning to play guitar, keyboards and flute. He returned to his musical roots with the creation of Cotter's Bequest, a progressive Celtic ensemble that uses Highland, Uilleann, Northumbrian and Scottish small bagpipes amid layers of keyboards, guitars and vocals. The band, that contains six members playing no less than 23 instruments, has released three albums and is working on their fourth.

On this third album entitled Land Of The Vast Horizon we can enjoy 13 very pleasant and melodic progressive folk compositions that are loaded with the sound of a wide range of bagpipes, the high pitched tin-whistles, excellent female vocals (a bit similar to Sally Oldfield) and a tasteful variety: dreamy with sensitive piano and violin and mellow Hammond organ waves in The Peramangk - Time there was..., a delicate blend of bagpipes and accordion with in the end a subtle electric guitar solo in Port Augusta 1869 - The Teamsters, beautiful interplay between the sound of harpsichord, soaring keyboards, bagpipes, violin and wonderful female vocals in Gulnare 1872 - Death Of The Last Born, several languages (German, Latin and English) and omnipresent tin-whistles in Sevenhill 1873 - Johann Pallhüber SJ and the sound of the native Australian instruments the didgeridoo in Nantabra Hut 1895 - The Scottish Shepherds and Udenyaka (Death Rock), blended with bagpipes, accordion, acoustic rhythm guitar and tin-whistles, simply wonderful! If you are up to the very distinctive sound of the bagpipe in a beautiful blend of folk and progressive rock (with hints from Mostly Autumn, Mike Oldfield and Peter Gabriel), this is a CD to discover. Also recommended: Gavin O'Loghlen with his solo album entitled The Poet And The Priest (see website) featuring very warm and melodic symphonic prog with lots of vintage keyboards! My rating: 3,5 stars.



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 Land Of The Vast Horizon by O'LOGHLEN & COTTERS BEQUEST, GAVIN album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.58 | 5 ratings

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Land Of The Vast Horizon
Gavin O'Loghlen & Cotters Bequest Prog Folk

Review by sally p

4 stars "The Land Of the Vast Horizons" is an evocative and compelling cd. There are some quite beautiful pieces of music on it but it also works as a musical narrative conjuring up images of migration, adventure, hardship, love and loss. It is a richly layered musical tapestry that bears repeated listening. What I particularly like is the way Gavin has woven the celtic and Aboriginal symbols and musical motifs together that shows how in dealing with the past fairly we can perhaps move forward together. The musicianship is fabulous, and I would strongly recommend this cd to others.

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