Princess Of Flowers

Margaret Davis

Flowinglass Music, 1998

http://www.flowinglass.com/princess

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/26/1999

I'm not sure what precisely to call Margaret Davis' music. The back of the CD Princess Of Flowers says 'file under Celtic World Music', but that's not quite right. Davis is attached to the northern California filk music scene, but this isn't filk, either. She doesn't call it anything at all, merely dedicating the CD to 'my fellow seekers of magic and the fantastic'. Let's call it 'Celtic/Medieval retro' and be done with it. It's not the most accessible musical form in the world, but what the heck; if accessibility was required for stuff we review on "The Daily Vault," Chris Thelen's death metal collection would be gathering dust.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

That said, this is an excellent piece of work. Davis is a brilliant harp player and an ethereal vocalist, somewhat similar to Loreena McKennitt but without McKennitt's gothic-angst overtones, and Kristoph Klover provides solid instrumental support throughout, whether it be guitar, 12-string, bass, mandola, or backing vocals. Guest musicians like Kris Yenney, Shira Kammen, and David Miles add to the fun. It's not for everyone - 14th century medieval troubadour and traditional Scots ballads are an acquired taste - but for those it is for, Celtic music fans and closet SCA members alike, this is well done.

Standout tracks include the opening "Princess Of Flowers" (with its soaring vocal intro and sweet harp line, this could have a dance beat laid behind it and be played for trance music - and anyone who would try that should be beaten with a sackbut); the spectacular recorder line of "I Once Loved A Lad"; the chiming, haunting wire-strung harp of "Tha Mi Sigth"; the brilliant instrumentation of "Chanson De La Mariee"; and the excellent adaption of the Scottish "The Boatman".

There are very few miscues on this CD. I wasn't overly fond of "Thrice Toss These Oaken Ashes", but that was more stylistic than anything else; it wasn't anything Davis did, it was the song itself. In all, Davis should be proud of this work. It's a CD where the artist herself and her musicians didn't do anything wrong, and very few people can say that. If you like this genre of music, get yourself a copy of Margaret Davis' Princess Of Flowers. You won't regret it.

Rating: A

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© 1999 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Flowinglass Music, and is used for informational purposes only.