Friday, 15 March 2019

Women Musicians


Beth Orton
There are many exciting Scottish women musicians  
Be Charlotte, Stephanie Cheape, Iona Fyfe, Siobhan WilsonKarine Polwart,

But there is also a serious lack of women producers, songwriters and executives. Women must think bigger. I believe we must have more business and management courses in education. There are many women in media and promotions.


Iona Fyfe
Julie Fowlis

Low Anthem
Sharon Shannon
Imelda May
Congratulations to the recent success of Scots! – Calvin Harris (our major Scots producer) at the Brit awards; Tom Walker from Kilsyth and Lewis Capaldli from Glasgow! Well done to all. 
 
Laura Marling

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

NEW BBC Scotland channel!


The Nine News team,Rebecca Curran and Martin Geissler
Launched 24th February 2019, with one of the most successful Scots band Chvrches and the song 'Miracles'.
So far a promising start – well done to all! Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the channel.

I welcome Debate Night much more enjoyable, honest and real than the QT, which brazenly tries to stir up unnecessary controversy – rather than looking for consensus and on how we can move forward. Plus a quality series on the Yes/No Referendum in 2014.

The Nine
The new flagship news program top marks too with presenters Rebecca Curran and Martin Geissler. A welcome return of political correspondent James Cook. And shows the breath of talent in Scotland, well able to present international and national news from both Scottish and international perspectives.   
CHVRCHES
There Nine News program with various correspondents in London, Brussels, and other locations. The show is projecting a relaxed format and looks promising so far. 

The schedule is mixed. I believe it's crucial Scotland has its own TV channel so I wish the new channel good fortunes. Catalonia has 4 tv channels - two news channels, an entertainment channel and a family channel.  I am concerned too that the Scottish license money is around £350m, yet only £32m is being spent on this channel. Much more is spent in Wales, England (over 100%) and Northern Ireland (75%) by comparison. Scotland (55%).   (Virgin 108)

BBC Scotland - https://www.bbc.co.uk/welcome-to-your-brand-new-television-channel-bbc-scotland


Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Celebrating indigenous languages

Add caption
 “We loose colour and diversity”\\
Some of the most popular concerts at Celtic Connections festival are the concerts by Gaelic singers. 
Jeremy Dutcher, was awarded Canada’s Polaris Music Prize in 2018 for his album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa. Dutcher, an indigenous artist from  New Brunswick, performed in the Wolastoq language 

This year at Celtic Connections 2019, as part of  2019 Unesco International Year of Indigenous Languages and to give artists space and time to interrogate how Scotland and Canada’s shared colonial histories manifest within contemporary creative practice. 
Jean Cameron in her article, ‘How our Scotland-Canada collab is celebrating indigenous languages’ writes about how she looked at Scotland’s colonial past after working with artists at Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games cultural programme: folk who scrutinised Scotland’s imperial history. …..The Indian Act brought in by Macdonald in 1876 resulted in 100,000 indigenous Canadian children being forcibly sent into the residential school system that removed and isolated them from the influence of their homes, families, languages, traditions and cultures. For too many, these schools were sites of colonial violence where children were subjected to sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the people supposed to “civilise” them. 

Support from Creative Scotland, the Scottish Government in Canada and The High Commission of Canada has enabled us to bring 15 or so artists together, including Kanyen’kehaka (Mohawk) curator Greg Hill from the National Gallery of Canada; Kevin Loring, the first artistic director of indigenous theatre at the National Arts Centre of Canada; Scottish composer and former Young Gaelic Ambassador of the Year Pàdruig Morrison; author Donald S Murray and creative producer Seona McClintock. 
Let us remember why they are smaller and fragile: often due to oppression, cultural imperialism and economic disconnection. These themes will undoubtedly emerge during this exchange. It’s vital to remember language adds colour and tone to life, place, belonging and perspective. If we lose any, we lose that colour and all that it reflects. Nuances and idioms shape us, some words don’t translate, they are untranslatable.”



Language makes us who we are and there is renewed interest in both Scots and Gaelic. Tellingly for the course of the British power in Ireland (the DUP) continue to fight against the acknowledgement of the Irish language, even while original Scots/Irish settlers there spoke Irish Gaelic. In the past century Scots culture was portrayed by an out of touch caricature – of Donald wheres yur troosers, bagpipes and the White Heather Club dancers.
The European project on the other hand values all its regions and understands that EU success depends on the health and diversity of all its constituent parts and the remotest regions and small farms are sent decent grants and support. 



Thursday, 21 February 2019

We are killing our eco system


I heard we’d have birdless skies. On my walks in the marshlands and moors near the Campsies in the summer sunshine, I noticed I cannot see any white butterflies. When I drove over on the M8 to Edinburgh my windscreen used to be covered in dead insects, but not anymore. What is going on? I read of sea lice in Scottish farmed salmon; disposable clothes; of the coral reef disappearing; of children dying of air pollution; and of the plastic choking our beaches and killing life in our oceans. 

What are we doing? What are we thinking? Why aren’t the manufacturers going sustainable, the way we used to be? Why are governments not enforcing Green laws? My instinct always told me that organic and free range was best: these pesticides get into breast milk. 

My mother used to grow her own vegetables. When I was growing up we had strawberries in cardboard punnets; potatoes in dirt sacks (they lasted longer and were fresher this way); fish and meat in greaseproof paper; milk in glass bottles; fruit in brown paper bags. Yes there was life before plastic!  

Now I am astonished at the amount of plastic myself and my husband generate each day. We are in an area that recycles, and I have cut down on my use of plastic bin bags – but it’s really not enough. We’ve been a reckless, thoughtless society. I live in the suburbs of Glasgow and instead of having natural garden habitat or trees, some are concreting over their gardens. We are building houses here on marshland (with the threat of rising sea levels) with no sustainable infrastructure. Who is agreeing to all this? We’ve become a throw away, wasteful world.

I was so pleased to see our young people finally take to the streets in large numbers in Friday, to protest at our selfish carelessness. Scotland has been leading the way in renewables energy – while the UK government has been cutting the funding. We must all work together to save our planet, protect our wildlife and children in poverty. 

Yet the news today is full of a foolhardy Brexit – which is about saving our out-dated, not fit for purpose UK political system. In the big scheme of things, what is really important for the future for our children and grandchildren - sustaining health and life as we know it – or saving the British Tory party? Let's go natural!

Celtic Connections music festival 2019


If we loose Indigenous languages wee loose colour and diversity”  Brexit has brought the Celtic nations together

One of the highlights of my year is attending the wonderful and top class concerts of this highly respected folk, world and roots music festival. I’ve been shooting at Celtic Connections now since 2008, and its interesting to see how the festival evolves each year. I enjoy the atmospheric Old Fruitmarket , the main concert hall, the Danny Kyle stage and the enthusiastic buzz of this major Glasgow music festival

This year my concerts included  -  New Traditions: Talisk, Xabier Diaz, Vishten; Grace and Danger: concert to celebrate John Martyn; Kathleen MacInnes and amiina; Transatlantic Sessions with Cara Dillon


Celtic Connections 2019 included the Opening Concert, when 100 young musicians from Scotland and Galicia took to the stage on the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall performed alongside leading traditional Scottish artists.The festival line up included - Cherish the Ladies, Graham Nash, Elephant Sessions, Bokanté, Loudon Wainwright III, Judy Collins, Ronnie Spector & the Ronettes, Kathy Mattea, Shooglenifty, Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert, Susheela Raman, Songhoy Blues, Mariza and a special performance of ‘An Treas Suaile’ (The Third Wave) with Julie Fowlis and Duncan Chisholm.

**A celebration of quality live music and challenging collaborations, which stays true to its Celtic roots and while also being innovative. This years International partner in 2019 was Spain’s Galicia. (given autonomy in 1981). Finland will be the festival’s partner in 2020. The festival includes: Showcase Scotland opportunities; Educational Program with morning concerts and workshops; Celtic Connections encourages new talent Danny Kyle Open Stage. Includes music, ceilidhs, talks, workshops, screenings and more, the world-leading annual music festival Celtic Connections 2019. 

** Celtic Connections encourages indigenous languages – as part of 2019 Unesco International year of indigenous Languages, Canada sent over artists and cultural leaders, representing their indigenous languages, to exchange ideas, dialogues, and to practice with Scots Gaelic talent. To give artists space and time to interrogate how Scotland and Canada’s shared colonial histories manifest within contemporary creative practice. 


18 days of music, ceilidhs, talks, workshops, screenings and more, of this world-leading music festival Celtic Connections. 2000 artists from 25 countries in 300 events on 35 stages across Glasgow – the most widespread Celtic Connections since the festival began in 1994. With attendances over 130,000 the festival was a huge draw for audiences from all over the world. Celtic Connections is a festival which stays true to its Celtic roots, while also exploring new ideas, musical styles including folk, blues, techno, jazz and Americana.  

Donald Shaw, Creative Producer for Celtic Connections, said:The commissions and special collaborations which are one of our hallmarks, have travelled in musical directions which have amazed us all.“We sought to make this year’s festival our most innovative yet and thanks to the musicians who joined us we achieved this. It’s hard to believe it is almost over, and time now to start thinking of how we can better this next year when our incredible festival will return.”        

Alan Morrison, Head of Music, Creative Scotland said:The festival proved yet again that Scotland is as eager to welcome international acts with open arms as it is to share our own musical heritage with all our visitors, building friendships across borders. Celtic Connections 2020 can’t come soon enough.”


Thursday, 14 February 2019

Transatlantic Sessions Celtic Connections 2019



It is always welcome to hear the unique blend of Shetland fiddle and West Virginia song, dubro and Irish pipes, when the TS sessions on stage at the Glasgow concert hall creates warm fires with the winter chills blowing outside. The Transatlantic Sessions is one of the major highlights of this highly respected annual folk, world and roots music festival. 

Dubro master and tonight’s host, Jerry Douglas sang the powerful Jimi Henrix’s song Hey Joe, Aly Bain was on good form, and at one point he dropped his fiddle. Ah the joys of live music! 

Irish singer Cara Dillon gave a glowing performance with her sublime voice. She sang the song Banks of the Foyle and P For Paddy, Bonny, Bonny and Sailor boy. Paul McKenna sang The Dreamer, a song to encourage past dreamers to keep faith, and also Long Days, Banks of the Moy.
Jerry Douglas

It was great to see the return to the TS stage of West Virginian Tom O’Brien, who sang Where the River Meets the Road, form his new album, and Guardian Angel and Keith in a Palm TreePhil Cunningham performed his tune, So Long Liam, 

Nashville’s’Gretchen Peters impressed with the character and emotion of her songs and voice: she sang Matador, On a Bus to St Cloud, Black Ribbons. Peters has received good reviews for her 2018 album, Dancing with the Beast. American 
Molly Tuttle is a young talent with a unique guitar style and she performed Take the Journey, Million Miles Away, and Save This Heart. She is 2018’s AMA Instrumentalist of the Year, plus Song of the Year at the International Folk Music Awards. 

Aly Bain

(Tunes included, The Wishing Tree Set  and Federals)

The TS music offers cross-collaborations between Celtic music and mid American bluegrass and country. Music to re-energise and recharge the soul.
These quality singers were backed by the Transatlantic house band – Shetland fiddler Aly Bain and dobro virtuoso Jerry Douglas, Russ Barenberg, Phil Cunningham, John Doyle, Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker, Donald Shaw, Daniel Kimbro and James Mackintosh.

Monday, 11 February 2019

New Traditions: Talisk, Vishtèn and Xabier Diaz, Celtic Connections 2019


These bands lit up the warm fires of live music!  
Tonight at the wonderful Old Fruitmarket venue, we were treated to an international line up of award-winning Celtic musicians. They played the Celtic musical traditions of Galicia, the French Canadian Arcadia islands and rich contemporary Scots Celtic.   


Xabier Diaz  Galician folk musician Xabier Diaz performed a colourful set along with the exuberant female voices of JNoró  Adufeiras de Salitre- who sang indigenous language songs and played their traditional percussion on spoons, tambourines, boards. They sing from deeper so their sound goes further. Also performing were the Alvarez brothers, Gutler (hurdy-gurdy) and Javier (diatonic accordion). Diaz mixes the traditions with modern innovations. Their music evokes the rich cultural threads of the Spanish peninsula (given autonomy in 1988).

Musician and composer Xabier Díaz (Berrogüetto, aCadaCanto), is a major voice in the trad-galego scene. He is also as collector of Galician folklore. Their first album, The Tambourine Man (Músicas de Salitre, 2015), has reinterpretations of traditional Galician music and an avant-garde approach with a tribute to the simple sound of traditional percussion. In 2018 they released Noró (Músicas de Salitre, a “declaration of love to the North” in other 13 songs with voice and percussion.  Website: http://www.galiciantunes.com/news/1184



French Canadian multi-instrumentalists, Vishten hail from Prince Edwards island, and they performed a warm set of reds and oranges with a faster style of Cajun music. They play traditional Acadian music along with contemporary vibes and rousing songs. The trio consists of Emmanuelle and Pastelle LeBlanc and Pascal Miousse. They performed on fiddle, guitar, accordion, octave mandolin, whistles, piano, bodhrán, jaw harp and foot-percussion, They said it was hard to find joyous archive songs, but they managed it with the song Miracles. They have a new album called Horizons.  Web - http://vishten.net/biography/


Award winners Taliskburst their sound on stage with fiddle, accordion and guitar. The band are led by concertina dynamo Mohson Amini, who Is one of the most physical and full on energetic players, ever!  Alongside the talents of fiddler Hayley Keenan and guitarist Graeme Armstrong. They played a set of dynamic, expressive and challenging tunes. The band have received excellent reviews for new album Beyond, in which they mix innovative electronic sounds.  Web - http://www.talisk.co.uk/

Encouraging to hear the music traditions kept alive and relevant with modern innovations and creativity. A highly entertaining evening of enriching live music.