The Canadian folk rock singer Bruce Guthro was born on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. He had to stand on his own feet very early and with only 17 years he worked in the Saskatchewan uranium mines und later on in a coal mine. His steep career started in 1993, when he won a singer and composer competition. Shortly afterwards his first single “Livin´ in the 90s” was released, which took the Canadian charts by storm.
He published in the following years two solo albums, for which he gained numerous awards like 9 East Coast Music Awards and 3 Canadian Radio Music Awards. His second album “Of Your Son” with the hit “Fallin” reached gold status. 1998 was an essential year for Bruce: Besides his successful solo career, he was chosen – among 400 singers – to be the new lead voice of the famous Scottish folk rock band “Runrig”.
Since then he is not only successful on his solo paths but also celebrates triumphant concerts with the band Runrig, which is on tour through Europe until end of 2010. Furthermore he is host of the popular Canadian TV-show “Songwriter´s Circle”, which is broadcasted nationwide on CBC Television.
At EXCALIBUR Bruce Guthro assumes the role of Lancelot, the First Knight of the Round Table, who agonizes about the decision between the loyalty to his friend and King, Arthur, and his clandestine love to Lady Guinevere, Arthur’s wife. Alan Simon has composed three brandnew songs for Bruce and his role which can be heard for the first time live during the new tour.
The Irish singer Moya Brennan (‘Máire’ in her native language) is the eldest of nine brothers and sisters - which include Eithne who achieved international fame as ‘Enya’. Moya grew up in County Donegal in very gifted musical family – her mother was a music teacher while her father played in a show band and, as a child, Moya joined the band on some of their tours.
In the 70’s she formed the band ‘Clannad’ with two brothers and two uncles. They pioneered and mastered the Celtic sound, achieving chart success, awards (including a Grammy) and playing on many of the world’s great stages. Moya is often regarded as the ‘First Lady of Celtic music’ and has been an iconic champion of Irish music, culture, spirit and language. Clannad’s 17 albums and numerous film scores have included songs like the duet with Bono, “In A Lifetime”, “Harry´s Game” in “Patriot Games” with Harrison Ford or the song “I Will Find You”, the love theme from the film “The Last of the Mohicans” with Daniel Day-Lewis.
Moya´s first solo album “Máire” was released in 1992. Her album “Whisper to the Wild Water” received a Grammy nomination then, together with the multiple Oscar winner Hans Zimmer, she created the soundtrack of the successful Hollywood production “King Arthur” with Clive Owen and Keira Knightley.
In the course of her career Moya Brennan has worked with many well-known musicians like Bono, Alan Parsons, Van Morrison, Paul Young and Ronan Keating. Altogether she has recorded 25 albums and sold over 20 million records.
At EXCALIBUR Moya Brennan will sing the role of Viviane, Lady of the Lake and spiritual leader of the priestesses of Avalon. According to the legend it was Viviane who forged the sword EXCALIBUR and handed it over to Merlin. After the death of Arthur she took the magical sword back into the depth of the Holy Sea. If someone succeeds to revive the mystical world of Avalon, it’s Moya Brennan with her unique, nearly ethereal voice that will put the audience immediately under her spell.
In Melbourne / Australia born, the Irish singer and composer Sean Patrick Michael Sherrard O´Hagan is better known under the name Johnny Logan.
At the age of three the family moved to Ireland and henceforth the little Sean accompanied his father – the famous Irish tenor Patrick O. Hagan – on his tours. He learned to play guitar and with 13 years he wrote his first own songs. Johnny Logan made his musical breakthrough in 1980, when he won the Eurovision Songcontest with the song “What´s Another Year”. He is the only artist, who has won the Grandprix three times: 1987 he won again with his own song “Hold Me Now” and 1992 he composed the winning title “Why Me” for the Irish singer Linda Martin.
Many of the big names of the international music business already worked with Johnny Logan: e.g. Montserrat Caballé, Helen Shapiro, Ute Lemper, Helmut Lotti or the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He wrote songs and soundtracks for athletics championships or TV-classics like „Derrick“. And again and again he releases own albums.
Until today Johnny Logan is very successful in the music business: With his last album „Irish Connection“ he was Nr. 1 of the album charts in Sweden, Norway and Denmark und was multiple awarded with platinum. His current album „Nature of Love“ has been released in May 2010 and has already been rewarded in Scandinavia with gold and platinum.
At EXCALIBUR Johnny Logan inspires the audience as King Arthur with his songs „Circle of Life“ and „The Elements“ as well as with his sweeping stage presence. Together with his “Lady Guinevere” (Judy Weiss) he conquers also the hearts of the romantic fans with the wonderful love duet “Celtic Heart”.
The British saxophonist and (occasional) keyboarder John Helliwell startet his musical career when he was 9 years old. He sang in the church choir and had piano lessons for one year. After hearing Monty Sunshine playing “Petite Fleur” he was inspired and saved up for two years to buy a clarinet for 15 £ when he was thirteen. In the mid-sixties, after playing in two short-lived bands, John put an ad in the “Melody Maker” which read “Have sax, will travel” and he joined then the band „The Alan Brown Set“ whith whom he spent six years. After their demise John followed the bass player Dougie Thomson to play music in different London clubs before they both joined in 1973 the band „Supertramp“ at their foundation.
The breakthrough of the band was in 1979 with the song/album „Breakfast in America“ and they have sold until now about 80 million records and CDs worldwide. John shaped the group with his saxophone style which can be recognized in nearly every hit of “Supertramp”.
When he is not performing with “Supertramp” he is engaged by great musicians like Pink Floyd, Diana Ross and Marc Lavione.
Recently he was decorated with the Order of Knighthood for Art and Literature in France. At the moment he performs together with his own jazz band „John Helliwell’s Crème Anglaise“ and is touring once again with “Supertramp” throughout the big European venues.
Born in Birmingham, Martin Barre started his musical career in the British band “Moonraker”. After playing in several groups, and after the dropping out of the Jethro Tull-cofounder Mick Abraham in 1968, Martin could convince the flute-virtuoso and head of Jethro Tull, Ian Anderson, of his skills. Since 1968 he is the lead guitarist of the British band that played with everyone from Led Zeppelin, Grateful Dead to JImmi Hendix, Blood Sweat and Tears, Chicago…!
Amazing 40 years and more than 50 million sold records later Martin has became a supporting pillar of Jethro Tull. He is considered as one of the best rock guitarists of the world whose special attributes are strong riffs and extensive breaks.
In the course of the last years Martin has realized also own projects and gained attention as solo artist. In his own recording studio he has already recorded four successful albums.
Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg, Chris Leslie and Gerry Conway
Fairport Convention is a British folk rock band that was founded in 1967 und whose current cast for EXCALIBUR are Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg, Chris Leslie and Gerry Conway.
In 1969 the ensemble recorded their hits “What We Did On Our Holidays” and “Unhalfbricking”. At the 2002 “BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards” the band received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” and the album "Liege and Lief” (1970) was awarded as “most influential folk album of all time”. The album “Babbacombe Lee” (1971) is judged by many critics as one of the best concept albums of the rock history.
Since the beginning of the 80ies the big “Cropredry Festival” takes place every August in Oxfordshire, where Fairport Convention plays for up to 25,000 fans.
Today Fairport Convention is considered to be the most mystical folkrock-band ever.
The British Folk singer Jacqui McShee sang at first in different British Folk Clubs until she began in 1966 to work together with John Renbourn. In the following year she joined the band „Pentangle“ and started then her steep career in the English Folk Rock scene.
After several personal changes within the band, „Pentangle“ became a trio which released in 1994 the album „About Thyme“ – no. 1-opus in the English folk-charts for several weeks. Henceforward the band changed its name into “Jacqui McShee´s Pentangle“ – with approval of the original cast.
In 2007 the five original members of Pentangle were given a “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the “BBC Radio 2 Folks Awards”. Producer John Leonard said "Pentangle were one of the most influential groups of the late 20th century and it would be wrong for the awards not to recognize what an impact they had on the music scene”. Pentangle played together for the event, for the first time in over 20 years.
At EXCALIBUR Jacqui is the seductive voice of the sorceress Morgan le Fay who messes around with Merlin, betrays her half-brother Arthur by sneaking disguised into his bed and defeats the King in the last battle of Camlann by confronting him with his own son and murderer Mordred.
Konan Mevel studied playing the pipes in a Breton Pipe-band before leaving for Scotland, to the Isle of Lewis, where he studied the pipes with the famous Pipe Major Ian Morrisson.
He's now specialized in ethnic instruments, mainly celtic but also in electronic forms of celtic music. He is fascinated by the use of electronic pipes. He tours with the Breton legend "Tri Yann" and his own band "Skilda" which has released three albums in the UK and is quite famous there.
Corvus Corax – also known as „Kings of the Jugglers“ – is one of the most famous medieval bands in Germany. The band was founded in 1989, but most of the band members had played together in the formation “Tippelklimper” before.
After many performances at medieval markets and concerts in Europe and Japan, Corvus Corax performed at the “Kaltenberger Ritterturnier” for the first time in 1993 and from then on every year.
Corvus Corax craft their acoustic instruments like bagpipes and shalms mainly themselves.
Every now and then the band meets new artistic challenges and breaks new ground, e.g. with the project “Tanzwut”, where they integrated electronic elements in the medieval sounds, for the first time.
Since 2005 Corvus Corax has been working – together with a choir and a symphonic orchestra – on composing songs of “Carmina Burana” in a completely new way. The remarkable performance appeared with the title “Cantus Buranus”. In 2008/09 the concerts of “Cantus Buranus” were a grandiose success.
Born in Sheffield / England, he was in the beginning of the 80ies bassist and singer with „The 45s“. The band was playing in pubs and clubs of London and touring the U.K.. In the mid 80ies he moved to France and joined “Les Pénibles”. He also played with “Les Bouskidou” – a rock group for children. With the two groups he toured France, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany and made several albums.
At the beginning of the 90ies he met Alan Simon with whom he collaborated in numerous productions, e.g. Le petit Arthur, Excalibur – la légend des Celtes, Gaia, Excalibur II and Anne de Bretagne. In this context he took part in several concerts and recorded songs with Fairport Convention, Roger Hodgson, Dan Ar Braz, Tri Yann, Jacqui McShee, Les Holroyd and many more…
In 2006 he started up his own studio “Woodland” and has already recorded a number of albums: Anne de Bretagne (Alan Simon), Bitibak (Simon Nwambeben), Come what may (Leo Seeger), etc.
Born in Berlin, Judy Weiss learned to play the piano at the age of five years and started a professional vocal training in early years. At the age of 16 she competed successfully against 300 competitors and began her musical studies at the famous “Hanns Eisler” conservatory in Berlin. After finishing her studies successfully in 1992, she started to create her own career. In 1994, she got her first big role in the musical “West Side Story”. Many big roles on stage followed, e.g. the leading role as Esmeralda in the world premiere of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.
Together with the star tenor Andrea Bocelli she stormed the charts in 1996 with the hit “Vivo per Lei”. Her albums “Something Real” (1999) and “Believe” (2001) were a big success, too. In “EXCALIBUR – The Celtic Rock Opera” she captivates with her brilliant voice in the role of the enchanting Lady Guinevere, who has to decide between the fidelity and loyalty to her husband and King, Arthur, and her clandestine love for Lancelot.
The trademark of the 1961 in Rouen born guitarist Pat O´May is the synthesis of rock and traditional music. In his work he uses Celtic, Arabian and even traditional Chinese influences and combines them with current texts. Together with his friend Ron Thal from Guns`N Roses, he released his third album "Breizh Amerika" in 1999 in which he brought together rock and Breton music tradition in a unique way.
In 2008, after many other projects and the cooperation with lots of different artists, he met Alan Simon who asked him to join his shows “Anne de Bretagne” and “EXCALIBUR – The Celtic Rock Opera”. In addition to the two shows in Nantes and Kaltenberg, Pat O´May is preparing his new album that will be recorded in 2010.
The long lasting musical career of the french keyboard player and singer Luc Bertin is characterized by a special versatility. For many years, he has been working as keyboard player for Billy Paul, Céline Dion, Vince Taylor, etc. Furthermore he was keyboard player and singer for Dick Rivers, William Sheller, JJ Milteau. He was on stage with numerous french singer like Johnny Halliday, Michel Jonasz, Jacques Dutronc or Serge Gainsbourg.
Beyond that he worked as vocal coach for Johnny Halliday on his tour in 2003. He wrote songs for Dick Rivers, Renaud and William Sheller and produced many albums and singles.
New Symphony Orchestra of Sofia (Conductor: Petko Dimitrov)
In 1991, the Bulgarian music critic Julia Hristova founded the “New Symphony Orchestra of Sofia” as alternative to the existing musical institutions which had been financially supported and controlled by the state. In 1990 “Julia Hristova‘s Concert House” opened and serves as a home for the Orchestra – according to the words of its founder: „We worked not to survive but to create.“ From the very beginning, the idea of the “New Symphony Orchestra” was to be an institution taking care of young, talented musicians.
The varied repertoire and the flexible organization – from chamber music ensembles for a complete orchestra – helped the “New Symphony Orchestra” gaining an exceptional position in the cultural life of Bulgaria.