Friday, 5 February 2016

Blazin Fiddles were on fire at #ccfest

Blazin fiddles are an accomplished and richly diverse fiddle band who produce a well honed and balanced sound.... There was tight interplay, interwoven tunes with plenty of foot tapping and stomping. Their reels flow in crashing and resolution waves.  

Blazin Fiddles are -  Angus Lyon, Anna Massie, Bruce MacGregor, Jenna Reid, Kristan Harvey and Rua Macmillan.
Excellent tunes and musicality. Most enjoyable. 

Blazin' Fiddles came together not as a band but as a one-off project for the Highland Festival in 1998. It was an attempt to showcase the particular styles and voices of the Highlands and Islands' fiddle. What started out as a few tunes played together has resulted in Blazin' Fiddles becoming one of the most exciting and talked about folk bands in the country.

Rura at the Old Fruitmarket Celtic Connections 2016

This evening concert at the Old Fruitmarket was a triple bill mix of American bluegrass and Scottish music traditions. This venue with it's balconies and rustic old world charm creates its own uniquely inviting atmosphere.

One of the most exciting new folk bands on the scene, Rura were the Danny Kyle stage winners a few years back when I was impressed with their set at the #ccfest festival club. (Photos are in my Celtic Connections galleries)

The packed crowd in the hall were really up for it all. The band had carefully arranged their light show, prepared their instruments and their folk indie rock and were ready for a night of engaging dynamic energy with their charged fiddle, guitar, bodhran, pipes and flute. Rura exploded their challenged music with their power reels, beats and rhythms.

The singer Adam Homes with his husky tones joined them for several songs. Album 2015 Despite the Dark. They are - Steven Blake (bagpipes, flute), Jack Smedley (fiddle), David Foley (Bodhran, flute), Adam Brown (guitar), Adam Homes (vocals, guitar).

The Canadian roots band The East Pointers began the night with their lively and earthy American roots music.
The gentle singer Aoife O’Donovan was up next and she provided pure quality vocals and songs. She releases her second solo album The Magic Hour in 2016.  She was previously with the band Crooked Still.
With my photos I try to capture those moments of the escape and joy of the music.
Top marks for this Old Fruitmarket gig!

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Rachel Sermanni at Celtic Connections 2016

Rachel Sermanni was the quality support for Grant tonight and in contrast to John Grant's large bass tones - she is delicate, petite and has an ethereal, soft focus voice. 

I have heard her perform a few times with only her acoustic guitar, in fact the first time was at the Celtic Connections Danny Kyle open mic stage a few years back, where as a winner she first received attention for her music. So this was the first time I have heard her with a full, high quality band and with a chance to add more depth to her sound.

Her new album release Tied to the Moon, explores earthier themes and she spoke of how women are tied to the moon's cycles, wheras men are tied to the sun.  
 Her final song was a lullaby, The Camp before the Storm a song about her future self. A beautiful new voice and songstress!

(She might introduce her songs more I wondered.)

John Grant at Celtic Connections

John Grant American singer-songwriter was on fine form at Celtic Connections.
He performed songs from his third solo album Grey Tickles, Black Pressure -  Geraldine,
 Global Warming, Voodoo Doll and on Disappointing, 'Just One Smile, Disappointing compared to you.'

He also sang earlier material such as his song Pale Green Ghosts, and I particularly enjoyed his hit song Glacier when his sang in a slow loud note,  'This PAIN... and 'Don't become paralysed with fear.'  He sang, 'Happy 65% of the time' in his GMF song.

He took the tempo up quite often with electronic pop rhythms of waves colliding and crashing. And a few humorous songs as if to remind of the ridiculousness of life. 

And the thirty-something crowd showed their enthusiastic appreciation and love! 

His sound is all about his heart-wrenching vocal melodies. Many of his songs linger and resonate. His expansive choruses explode in free expressions and on the verse his voice asked why.....

Interestingly he has been working with Icelandic musician Birgir Þórarinsson, a.k.a. Biggi Veira of Iceland's electronic pioneers on his second solo album and he now lives in Reykjavik Iceland.  Grant grew up near the Rockies Colorado.  He was previously with the Denver based alternative rock band The Czars in the 1990s and early 2000s.