Tuesday 25 August 2015

EIF Music & Arts & Stories at Edinburgh International festival

Trading Stories: Walls Coming Down

Or are they? At Celtic Connections festival Glasgow certainly the orchestras mix with folk musicians. Good example Nicola Benedetti and Shetland fiddler Ali Bain, composer and accordionist Phil Cunningham along with the Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis  - composed together for Benedetti's Scottish album and the results were magnificent. Joni Mitchell cites Debussy as a big influence on her music. So we might say this is nothing new. Alex Ross (American music critic) writes that classical music for stuffed shirts is not how it should be. 

This year the new director of the EIF, Edinburgh International festival, Fergus Linehan, aims to be more inclusive and to expand the music program with more contemporary composers in the main festival.

*Wave Movements -  28th August, The Hub, Compositions from - Bryce Dessner of The National, and Richard Reed Perry of Arcade Fire. Along with the images of Hiroslu Sugimoto's 1980s seascape film. 

*Sufjan Stevens -  30th August, The Playhouse (also an oboe player)
*Franz Ferdinand & Sparks (FFS) - 24th August, Festival Theatre
*Idlewild - 17th August, Assembly Rooms
*Magner's Summer Nights - Ross bandstand Princes Street gardens - headlined with the Flaming Lips, Waterboys, James

*Musicians at EIBF, Edinburgh International Book festival 2015, will include talks by -
 Edwyn Collins, Tracy Thorn, Stuart David, Viv Albertine.  

PLUS - Writing Across Boundaries, 5.30 28th August , Edinburgh International book festival 2015.
Traverse - A Girl is a Half-formed Thing
Shakespeare in the Gardens

*Free Fringe - large scale busking!

One of the top aspects of EF is the way it embraces all the arts - enjoys challenging expectations and confronting unknown boundaries. 
Many musicians write; many painters compose; many songwriters paint (Dylan, Joni are supreme examples).  And the many ways that the different artistic expressions can compliment each other.

Perhaps festivals and Edinburgh Fringe are about the vocies of grassroots artists, where we all can have an artists voice.  

Edinburgh Festival is one of the oldest and the worlds largest gathering of all the arts.


Wednesday 19 August 2015

Edinburgh arts festival 2015

  Scottish National Galleries, the Mound

Bailey's Stardust
18 July – 18 October 2015

David Bailey one of the world's most distinguished photographers - the largest exhibition of his portraits shown in the UK. The exhibition comprises over 300 portraits including works that depict Bailey's time in East Africa, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Delhi and the Naga Hills, as well as icons from the worlds of fashion and the arts with striking portraits of the Rolling Stones, Catherine Bailey and the East End of London.

Exhibition presented in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, London.The Scottish showing of Bailey’s Stardust is sponsored by Baillie Gifford & Co.

Jean-Étienne Liotard
4 July – 13 September 2015

Jean-Étienne Liotard (1702-89)

In the age of Mozart and Casanova, he was a key international figure whose achievement deserves to be better known. Highlights of this important show include famous portraits, startling self-portraits, and brilliant experiments with genre and still-life subjects from the end of his career.

The City Art Centre
Scottish Art: People, Places, Ideas
Celebrates this important public resource, while providing an overview of Scottish art that is both fresh and comprehensive.
Including the Scottish Colourists, Glasgow Boys & Girls, and Edinburgh School – and Joan Eardley, Alexander Nasmyth and Alan Davie.

Literary Edinburgh book tours, Scottish Writers museum - 11am and 1pm - http://www.edinburghbookloverstour.com/booklovers.htm

Saturday 15 August 2015


A new boutique festival at Mugdock country park

I arrived at Mugstock along with the early buzz of participants, families and music fans. This new festival has been designed to have broad appeal with a mix of music for all tastes and ages. There is a friendly and fun atmosphere -  with live music, theatre, cabaret, arts, real ales and good food. There was also much here to appeal to young families, with many and varied children’s entertainments.

This festival was quirky with shades of hippies and a small scale Glastonbury. The park provided a fitting escapist, historic and green backdrop to both chill in and to dance in. There were flying colours and chimes of hanging umbrellas and flags flying in the breeze among the tall trees.

Dave Arcari
The main stage was decorated with black and white balloons and had a circle of food stalls outside. Here I heard the beautiful voice of singer songwriter Siobhan Wilson, followed by the fun quirkiness of the Barrow band with their fruit and vegetable songs!. After we were treated to the energizing drums and dance rhythms of Samba Ya Bamba, who took up the tempo. I then took a walk round the other events.

The festival stages were spread out over Mugdock park - with the Erne Parkin main stage off to the right, the Yellow Movement stage among the trees near the adventure park and the Jolly Lovely stage in the walled garden – where 50 Shades of Blue were singing the Wagon Wheel song -- 'Hey Hey Mama Rock Me'. Very oddly I heard the bluegrass band Dirty Beggars performing the exact same song for their encore at Stereo the night before! 

I returned at five to the main stage tent to find it packed to see popular 80s band Dodgy where many were reliving old memories and dancing and singing along to the familiar tunes. The Main Stage tent had by now developed a slight mist from the heat of bodies (or the steam machine?) in the enclosed space. The four year old with the ‘born to rock’ T shirt was still running around in front of the stage.
Preston Reed

Most people wore walking shoes and I noticed that one girl beside me was in her bare feet in the muddy grass. As I enjoyed my beer and nuts someone was having a Shiatsu head and neck message. It is strange how the atmosphere changes over the day, as time takes a break at festivals and live music. Festivals enjoy different times – the buzz of the afternoon arrivals, the more relaxed time of the late afternoon when we are ready to relax, grab a drink and something to eat before the drama of the evening time.

What is better than an excellent musician, renowned guitarist Preston Reed, who played powerhouse guitar rhythms,, a time to chill with some more earthly time and those moments from hectic online schedules! 
Mikey 9s
Colonel Custard & The Dijon 5

I returned to the Yellow Movement stage, which was creatively decorated, to find it packed with revellers enjoying the dance rhythms of escapist band Mikey 9s, who describe their sound as funk.

I met Preston outside the Yellow Stage. He is very tall!  He is originally from New York and he now lives in Scotland.  He said he too enjoyed photography. I also met the singer from the Barrow band and he said they were also doing an adult event in the Mugdock theatre at ten. That is one advantage of festivals – the musicians enjoy to hear the other artists performing and mingle during the day.

My personal highlights were the chilled moments with Preston Reeds dynamic guitar playing, the effervescence of Mikey 9s dancing sound, the energy of Dodgy’s classic rock and the dancing fun of Colonel Custard &The Dijon 5

Overall a highly professional and well organised new festival. Many congratulations to the festival team's hard work for pulling it all together! http://www.mugstock.org

Beats Antique
Broken Records

Wednesday 12 August 2015

The Dirty Beggars at Stereo: Farewell Party For Now

 The Dirty Beggars entertained us with their exuberant Americana

With a ‘Hey Hey Mama Rock Me’ (the Wagon Wheel song) and the energy of bluegrass rockabilly, they sent us out into the balmy Glasgow streets. Dirty Beggars clearly have the best time on stage with their strumming banjo, strong bass lines, melodic fiddle

The band played Americana songs of the deep south with catchy refrains which brought images of sunny highways. The packed venue appeared to really enjoy their well chosen songs. The boys sweated in their suits and ties and eventually they looked more relaxed in their white shirts.

For a rousing finale song the support artists Ho-Ro and Wire Wool, joined the band on stage and the audience bopped and danced and sang along. 

The band’s sound was tight and well rehearsed, and with well matched harmonies. The band is led by the Begbee brothers, Kieran, Finn and Pete, which aids their blend of voices. I got a nice shot of the talented Pedro Cameron on fiddle. All top musicians and with Stuart Printie on double bass completing the line up.

I am always struck by how much American music has influenced Glasgow and also by how much Scottish and Celtic sounds impacted on America in those times past. 
Dirty Beggars played an up-tempo fun sound enjoyed by all ages!

The band are - Kieran Begbie Vocals, Guitar Finn Begbie Vocals, Harmonica, Mandolin, Guitar Pete Begbie Vocals, Banjo, Guitar Stuart Printie Double Bass, Dobro, Mandolin Pedro Cameron Fiddle

The Dirty Beggars released an album entitled Bite the Bullet in 2011 on independent label Dime Roc. They have toured with The Wilders in the UK and also toured in the US.   

The Footsteps of Burns

Walk in the Footsteps of Burns
On Saturday we drove down to Alloway in the rain and walked in Burns footsteps. The skies cleared as we neared the small town he lived in until he was seven. 
We walked over the Brig O Doon, past the Aulk Kirk, the cottage William Burnes built, the road from Ayr to Maypole and the flat beaches looking west. An impressive and picturesque part of Scotland's west coast. There is a Burns museum where you can see some of his letters, books and writing quills. Worth a visit.

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Edinburgh International book festival 2015

Next week EIBF 2015! Where do the years go!? Edinburgh International book festival: A Journey with Words & Stories across the world for over 17 days.
Another illustrious gathering of wonderful writers, thinkers, creatives and artists. I hope to be inspired and meet many incredible people and hopefully take some good photos.

This year the book festival will celebrate writers reaching out worldwide with many highly respected international authors giving talks.

The festival also gives a platform for writers who are unable to be heard and who are prevented from speaking with the Amnesty International Imprisoned Writers Conference.  

As well as the serious there are also many light -hearted, fun events and also the extensive children’s book festival.
Selected events:

MUSIC writers EIBF – Tracy Thorn, Stuart David (Belle  and Sebastian), Edwyn Collins; ART – Martin Kemp: How art is connected to history; John Gray – Land of the Not-So-Free; Robert Crawford – TS Eliot; William McIlvanney – Poetry in Everyday Life; Ian MacWhirter – Scotland and the UK. What Future.

Other highlights will include Alan Cummings, Paul Merton, Philippa Gregory, Ian Rankin, Jesse Jackson and renowned authors from over 55 countries. From the Innu tribes Canada; storytellers and illustrators Iran; from Iceland, China, Slovakia, and more...