Thursday, 4 October 2007

Edinburgh International Festival 2007

Ah how does it feel – another year has passed – and the EIF is here again. I have put in my order for warm sunny days. On a dull Tuesday I ventured rather late in the day up the High Street and there was John Kielty, writer, actor, musician, leaning in the St Giles doorway. John is now shuttling between San Francisco and Edinburgh the past year. The Martians performed their cover songs and the designer and the producer of their musical the Sundowe are there and he tells me his lyrics for songs in a show at the Underbelly are nominated for a Lyric Fringe award. The good news is that John is doing one of his ghost tours on Thursday evening. I hadn’t warned my friend about the Martians and she was  aback with how funny they are!.

‘INTERPOL’ gig at the Corn Exchange with Macabee supporting who were also good, although they kept us waiting an hour rudely. Very hot, sweaty venue with light coloured walls ( used to be a slaughter house!) They were powerfully dynamic and full of energy with strong harmonies and interweaving rhythms, recommend them.
The sun’s here! and the Martians busking on the High Street. This is the weather I expect for my festival visits, it makes all the difference. I went to the Andy Warhol exhibition at the mound.
That night Sneddon and John Kielty were on stage at the Jazz Bar Chambers Street. The gig was excellent fun! David said ‘ I work as a songwriter but I f*cking love doing these gigs.’ He sang with an expressive soul voice in contrast to his positive notes piano - with a subtle blend of sensitive melody and rhythmic moods. He sang songs from his White Noise EP. The packed audience responded with enthusiasm particularly to his No 1 song Stop Living The Lie!
After the gig we went on Kielty’s Ghost tour to Greyfriars Bobby’s graveyard and the Covenanters Grave where there are many buried and you can feel the passage of time. The spooky dark graveyard has inspired many writers including John and he quoted from his Sundowe musical which was about the dead rising in Edinburgh.  In this dark eerie place you can feel their very presence and their lost voices. 

Friday - I went to see the play - A History of Scotland in 60 Minutes. It was highly entertaining.
I spent time at the Book Festival, which is quiet after the High Street madness. Later we took one of the rickshaws down to the Traverse theatre behind the castle! Fribo gig at the Acoustic Centre who are an innovative mix of Norwegian and Scottish traditions.

Saturday - I went to the C venue where Oxford students do their shows and I saw Out of the Blue, which was an  entertaining show.  I had lunch in the café and enjoyed the young costumed artists having fun with their shows.  I read of an Irish fiddle player who did his show ‘Around the World on 80 quid’ with no advance PR or venue. Travelling the world he got involved with drugs and ended up on a beach with no violin and thought to himself, what’s the point? Then he decided he could play anything at hand.  He played a few sold out shows in Ireland and people said to him – ‘Why not play the Edinburgh Festival?’
While there are many fun things such as the Speigel tent and more, a festival needs to evolve and Edinburgh has been going since the 40s! More streets available for new musicians to perform – say blocked of streets near Princes street with a central place to buy their cds – similar to Montreal’s Blues and Jazz festival. The sun casts late rays across the High Street blinding anyone walking towards the castle. Playing any festival is a buzz, there’s that exaggerated feel to it all and the heightened senses - the odd street performers and people of every nation brought together in a melting pot- from Australian scouts to north Americana Indians. Here’s hoping for sun and fun shows next year. See you there 2008!  THE  SUNDOWE musical plays in Eden Court Inverness Nov 2007 - before touring.