Maddy Prior

Ravenchild

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On Ravenchild, Maddy Prior teamed up again with keyboard player Nick Holland and multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley, whose arsenal included Uilleann pipes and low whistle, as she had on her previous album, Flesh & Blood. The centerpiece of the album was a six song suite dubbed "In the Company of Ravens" (also the title of the first song), a series of Prior originals concerning the carrion birds who give the word "ravenous" its meaning. This was sometimes gritty stuff, as Prior described the birds' eating habits, though their mating habits were far more inspiring. The album also contained a three song suite, "With Napoleon in Russia," tracing that famous historical defeat. Then there was "Rigs of the Time," a condemnation of contemporary media culture set to a traditional melody, and the album concluded with what Prior herself described as the eerie traditional song "Great Silkie of Sules Skerry." The music and Prior's singing could be haunting, but Ravenchild was an album of disquieting material, whether the subject was aviary, historical, or contemporary.

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