Friday, 27 June 2014

Scottish Festivals ...

Scottish Festivals ...
Seek to engage, challenge, entertain and to ensure quality of standard, musicianship, writing, diversity, colour and more.

*East Neuk classical music festival 10th Edition – 27th June – 6th July   
Situated in intimate venues on the coastal villages of Fife, with German pianist Christian Zacharias and with trios, sopranos and chamber groups. This year will celebrate the 19th century Viennese composer Franz Schubert.


*Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival – 18th – 27th July
This year with Van Morrison and Jool Holland, as well as renowned jazz artists from across the world.  Edinburgh Jazz Festival was set up in 1978 by banjo-player and guitarist, Mike Hart. Mike's initial focus was on traditional jazz and a host of events taking place for free admission in pubs. There is a Princes Street parade, The Mardi Gras in the Grassmarket and Jazz On A Summers Day in Princes Street Gardens which are free events. Regular visitors are Buddy Tate, Warren Vache, The Black Eagles Jazz Band and the Hot Antic Jazz Band. The Festival's artistic policy has been to concentrate on musical excellence (rather than the "star system") and to champion spontaneous creativity: music making on the spot in Edinburgh. These have been developed with the production of a wide range of new music, the establishment of the Edinburgh Jazz Festival Orchestra, and an on-going commitment to supporting Scottish musicians to realise creative ideas, and to link with international musicians.

*Edinburgh International Festival- August 2014
The Big One! The oldest arts festival.
Edinburgh buzzes for the month of August when some locals leave and others enjoy watching for the good reviews and for the next big shows.

For the visitor it is worth walking around (faster often than by bus) from the Under Belly beside George Square and the university, down past to the Royal mile where there are many shows on display (very busy at the weekends) – then down the mound worth it for the spectacular vista from Edinburgh’s castle and gardens and on past the Art galleries (where there are often packed crowds for the fire eating street performers and jugglers). Take a left turn down Princes Street and into parallel George Street and before long you see the white tents of Edinburgh’s book festival where many world famous authors descend for the two middle weeks and by contrast offers a place for reflection and more considered entertainment. .

Flyers, colour and spectacle are everywhere on the streets in a vast celebration. As the festival offers every type of arts, I find it interesting to see the crossovers between the arts. To find music such as Nile Rogers who gave a highly interesting and spontaneous talk at the book festival, with dance exploring new mediums and expression through mime, visuals and illusion such as the show Leo.

Edinburgh Fringe. 1 – 25 August. There is everything to sample here with over around 3,000 shows.
The Fringe developed from the main festival, particularly expanding into comedy, such as Cambridge footlights where many well known comedians first got their big break. Nearly any available space is used over the city.

Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF) 9 – 25 August. The world’s largest book festival began in 1983 and is held at Charlotte Square, Edinburgh’s westend, with children’s events and a wide diversity of novelists, journalists, economists, scientists, poets, musicians, historians, and politicians. The festival includes debates and evening Unbound shows.

Edinburgh International Art Festival, 31 July – 31 August.

Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) 8 – 21 August.  The main event and the world’s oldest festival. It focuses on the high brow and world class theatre, opera, dance and music. The festival is all embracing. 

Mother of Feminism - Eleanor Marx

The Daughter of Karl Marx (the father of communism), Eleanor tutored leaders of the workers movement. Her greatest achievement was to apply sophisticated economic theorising to the founding the theories of modern feminism in 1879s (and not the 1970s!).  

For her any socialism had to strike at all kinds of oppression and involve both sexes on a equal footing.  

Review Sunday Times, ‘This book takes you to a time when hastily written pamphlets had an outside chance to changing the world: a time when the Reading Rooms of the British Museum was one of the hubs of the intellectual universe.’
You have to love someone who said -  'Who is the fiend who invented house-keeping? I hope his invention may plague him in another world.'  

BOOK. Eleanor Marx: A Life by Rachel Holmes

Eleanor Marx Aveling (16 January 1855 – 31 March 1898), also known as Jenny Julia Eleanor "Tussy" Marx , was the English-born youngest daughter of Karl Marx. She was herself a socialist activist, who sometimes worked as a literary translator. In March 1898, after discovering that her partner and prominent British Marxist, Edward Aveling, had secretly married a young actress in June the previous year, she committed suicide by poison. She was 43.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Auditions – Your Disco Needs You - The Musical

Auditions – Your  Disco Needs You - The Musical 
Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th June
Venue – University of the West of Scotland Paisley Campus
Paisley Campus, Paisley, PA1 2BE
Time – 10am – 4pm
Casting call for brand new amateur dramatics musical for breast cancer awareness project for charity.
Main characters auditions Saturday 14th June
Minor characters, chorus and dancers Sunday 15th June
All profit to 3 cancer charities. Takes place at Mitchell Theatre Glasgow.
5 performances - 24th – 26th October 2014 to coincide with breast cancer awareness month.
Mondays and Thursdays 7pm-9pm.  Commencing week of 21st July
Choreography intensive workshops 4th – 10th August daily 5pm-9pm with Tim Noble [Kylie Minogue’s choreographer]  All at University of the West of Scotland Paisley Campus
If anyone finds they can’t make the day their part is being auditioned but can make the other day, please let us know at
Email us at for character list and audition pieces.
Send us a photo, your contact details - email, mobile number, CV, character [s] you are interested in.
You will be given a time slot for audition.
Please let us know if you are wishing to be considered for another part or chorus if you do not get the character you auditioned for.
Twitter:  @YDNY-Musical

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Review Sarah McLachlan's new album 2014 -'Shine On'

Canadian singer songwriter Sarah's music provides subtle mood changes.  Her music is intensely moving and full of both sad poignancy and hopeful joys.  While several of her song titles sound full of sad heartbreaks this new album does indeed shine. I enjoy her arrangements and her piano playing which always serves the song firstly.  On this new album some of the backing has a more updated feel, with slow trumpet,  discordant soaring guitar,  gentle ukulele and long note keys.  She has a wide ranging expressive voice and songs that linger. 

I particularly like the new songs - Broken Heart, Brink of Destruction, Beautiful Girl.  I am not as keen on the arrangements on the song Monster however. 

I have of course enjoyed her previous albums Afterglow (2003) and Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (1993)
I know she is wonderful live going by several YouTube clips - so I hope Sarah you might play over here in Scotland very soon!  Hint hint.   

Her song, "One Dream," was the official theme song of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Sarah McLachlan has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. McLachlan's best-selling album to date is Surfacing, for which she won two Grammy Awards (out of four nominations) and four Juno Awards. She founded the Lilith Fair tour, which showcased female musicians on a scale that had never been attempted before. The Lilith Fair concert tours took place from 1997 to 1999, and resumed in the summer of 2010. On May 6, 2014, she released her first album of original music in four years, titled Shine On.

It has been wonderful so far this year with some of my favourite artists releasing new albums -  Sarah McLachlan, Cara Dillon (A Thousand Hearts), Dougie MacLean. 

Plus some exciting new artists I've seen on the Jools Holland show - including White Denim from Austin Texas.  Goodness no wonder the genres are blurring these days!  White Denim is a four-piece rock band from Austin, Texas. Their music draws influence from dub, psychedelic rock, blues, punk rock, progressive rock, soul, jazz, experimental rock with home based recording, jamming approach, intense looping work and unusual song structures.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Summer Festivals

The summer festivals circuits aim at every taste and style of music fan and range from -
Radio One listeners - T in The Park, Benicassim ;  Radio Two fans -  V festival, Staffordshire, Hyde Park ;  Indie music fans - Bestival, Latitude (Isle of Wight), Primavera Sound Barcelona (with headliners Arcade Fire, The National). Rockness Inverness for the scenery and eclectic line up  
Rock and metal fans - Download ;  Dance and club - Sonar, Barcelona, international festival of advanced music and media art ;  Folk music at Green Man and Latitude.
Classic rock and pop for everyone at one of the best – Glastonbury and its biggest headline acts.