Thursday, 31 January 2019

Nations Apart

Burns and Mozart also lived in times of huge turbulence - late 18th century. 
Robert Burns retold and recharged the great tales and songs of the Scottish nation in such unique ways. I visited Vienna last year – where the genius musicians Strauss and Mozart told the tales of central Europe, Of Austria (population 8m) and the great Danube river.

Poet Bob Dylan, in the turbulent times of the Cold war and civil rights marches. 
In Paris in the 18thcentury Impressionism painters expressed the great creative out pouring and flair to see in new ways. 
Italy’s Renaissance (14th century to 17th) 
took two dimensional art not only to three dimensions but to stratospheric new heights and told of Italy’s great struggles and love of beauty.  

All these highly unique stories matter …


Grace and Danger Review


A troubled soul looking for love…

What a glorious concert to celebrate one of Scotland’s best loved singer songwriters, John Martyn. He was born in London, but after his parent divorce when he was five, it was Glasgow that formed him. – where he lived with his father and grandmother. 

The tribute concert was hosted by double bass Danny Thompson who recounted anecdotes of his tours with Martyn. His immense legacy is well preserved by the fine artists who performed tonight at Glasgow concert hall as part of Celtic Connections. They sang some of his best loved songs.


We were graced with quality guitar playing by American blues guitarist Eric Bibb, who opened the concert with Martyn’s perfect Solid Air. He also performed accomplished guitarEasy Bluesand a moving One World.  

With the full band Ross Wilson (aka Blue Rose Code) performed with dynamic rhythms and heartfelt soul Make no Mistake, and in his first set soulful Fine Lines and Bless the Weather, along with strings led by Greg Lawson


Several younger singer songwriters expressed his widespread musical influence on their work. Lucy Rose provided intimate emotions with the song I Couldn’t Love you More, while Katie Spencer sang, Hurt in Your Heart and John the Baptist

English singer songwriter John Smith performed the songs, Walk Down, Spencer the Rover and Go Down Easyalong with Thompson’s double bass: he sounded very Martyn-like. 
Popular Scottish singer Eddi Reader performed with the string ensemble  the upbeat Dancing, Certain Surprise, and a moving Fairytale LullabyBrit award winners Paul Weller (of The Jam fame and considered a leading mod figure) played the songs, Evil in Your Heart and Sweet Little Mystery.


The concert ended with all on stage to sing his best loved song May You Never, followed by a video of Martyn in concert singing the poignant Over the Rainbow. 
What a memorable, moving night!

Like many of the greats, Martyn mixed varied influences to take his music to the edge, with pounding blues rhythms, Celtic heart and moving soul.  He recorded 22 studio albums and toured exclusively. 



Friday, 25 January 2019

Opening Concert Celtic Connections 2019 - Syne of the Times


The Celtic Connections opening night was a rousing concert with over a hundred young musicians on stage, to celebrate the passing traditions between the generations. They enjoyed a memorable experience of Gaelic music alongside some of Scotland’s most celebrated folk musicians.   
  
This opening concert began with a moving film by a young musician and composer from the isle of Grimsby - of his grandfather and father and his hope that the traditions and Gaelic can be passed on through the generations by preserving and celebrating our heritage and culture through music. 

After which we were treated to rousing tunes by the Celtic Galician folk orchestra Son De Seu. There are seven Celtic nations. This year Celtic Connections festival is paired with the small Celtic country of Galicia. 



Also performing were the Orkney youth musicians, HadHirgaan and the young musicians from the 5 Feisean, which is held annually around Scotland.

The evening was led by music director and fiddler Duncan Chisholm. Also appearing were Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, fiddler Lauren MacColl,folk band Daimh, fiddler Aiden O”Rourke, piper Brighde Chaumbeu, and Donald Shaw (festival director) and his Harvest music. Celtic Connections also celebrates folk musicians who gained their success through attention at the festival.


I hope the young musicians were inspired by this memorable opening concert. 
What a first class experience for the young performers tonight. 

I don’t understand Gaelic, but I enjoy the Gaelic singers who perform each year at Celtic Connections. There is something magical about it and Gaelic song is very popular at Celtic. 

2018 was the year of the young people in Scotland, who I hope were encouraged to have their voices heard. 

English is the universal language French the language of diplomacy but Gaelic is the language of the Gods."


Interesting. This year Celtic Connections festival is paired with the small Celtic country of Galicia. 
Galicia sits on the north west corner of Spain – and has had to fight for it autonomy..
They were controlled by Franco's dictatorship. Their democracy was restored when the legislature passed the Statute of Autonomy of 1981 approved in referendum and currently in force, providing Galicia with self-government. (Galicia has a population of 2.7 million)

Galicia, is an autonomous community in Spain’s northwest, is a verdant region with an Atlantic coastline. The cathedral of regional capital Santiago de Compostela is the reputed burial place of the biblical apostle Saint James the Great, and the destination for those following the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. The western cliffs of Cape Finisterre were considered by the Romans to be the end of the known world.

Capercailie





In the 80s Capercaillie were greatly influenced by Irish folk music of the 80s, and bands like Clannad and Planxty. Irish music was more advanced then and the Irish band Clannad proved the wider appeal that was possible with their chart success for the theme song Harry’s Song. 
For their albums Delirium (1991) and Secret People (1993) Capercaillie added bass lines, drum machines and synthesisers and this fusion sound let to chart success in the 1990s. Shaw said that some may feel they sold out from the folk traditions but he feels they would have sold out by making the same record over and over. The band preferred to move on and try new things. Their sound became contemporary traditional music. Capercaillie tour worldwide. 
Popular lead singer Karen Matheson is a beautiful Gaeilic singerDonald Shaw has been the musical director for Glasgow’s highly successful Celtic Connections since 2007. I cover the festival each year and I am well aware of the diversity, quality and musicianship that Donald pulls together to make this highly successful event for the city of Glasgow.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Kathleen MacInnes with amiina at Celtic Connections 2019



What an impressive concert. Kathleen is one of Scotland’s foremost Gaelic singers with her broad range and husky tones. To begin her concert she sang Gaelic songs after which she was joined by Icelandic group amiina. Their sound was subtle and sublime with amiina playing gentle drums, violin 

– which beautifully encased Kathleen soothing voice. What a unique combination


The sounds produced were haunting, island journeys, with atmospheric soundscapes. Amiina were the string section of Icelandic avant rock sound sculptors Sigur Ros. The band performed three of their own tracks, and showed their diversity and richness of sound. 

They performed a poem by Alexander MacColl Smith, The Waves that Bear the Saints. Kathleen is from south Uist and won Gaelic singer 2006, (Scots Trad music awards).  A quality and thoroughly enjoyable concert.


They was supported by the excellent four part harmonies of Irish singers Landis.



Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Famous at Celtic Connections


Famous at Celtic
Eddi Reader
Martha Wainwright
Richard Thompson
Tim O’Brien
Jerry Douglas
Laura Marling

And other well kent faces at the major festival. 
Jerry Douglas
Aly Bain
Dick Gaughan and Karine Polwart
Richard Thompson
Eddi Reader
Julie Fowlis
Laura Marling

Monday, 14 January 2019

King Tuts Revolution Program

Famous steps King Tuts

The famous King Tuts venue in Glasgow celebrates women musicians along with emerging new talent 
with their exciting January Revolution Program 

https://www.kingtuts.co.uk/whats-on#/january-2019

Emeli Sande at her sound check King Tuts 2009



Friday, 11 January 2019

CELTIC CONNECTIONS 2019!



Looking forward to Celtic Connections 2019!

Famous Names 2019 
Loudon Wainwirght III, Rhiannon Giddons, Graham Nash, Seth Lakeman, Judy Collins, Karen Matheson, composer Patrick Doyle,  Kathy Mattea, Eddi Reader, Blazin Fiddles, Cherish the Ladies, John Grant, Elephant Sessions, Aiden Moffat and RM Hubbert. 

Some of the great Scots writing – celebrating Hamish Henderson, John Martyn,
In this year of young people, the Opening Concert celebrates new talent and the passing of traditions between the generations and 15 years since Harvest 2004.
Other Concerts - 
Little books of Scottish folk songs and TMSA Young Trad tour, Strathclyde suite 26th Jan,
Blue Rose Code, Caledonian Soul, City halls.
Karine Polwart's Scottish Songbook – 2nd February 
McGonagall’s Chronicles at the Tron theatre. 
The Bards Tale – Concert hall
Kathleen MacInnis and amiina (from Iceland)
Julie Fowlis and Duncan Chisholm. 

'Grace and Danger' concert celebrating John Martyn.
A celebration of folk-blues singer-guitarist John Martyn’s Grace and Danger album with a special line up – Paul Weller, Lucy Rose, Eddi Reader, Ross Wilson, Rory, Butler, Eric Bibb, John Smith, Katie Spencer.


Scotland continues to have a diverse, vibrant and thriving live acoustic music scene, which I discovered in my twenties and is much more real than the music we are fed by mainstream radio. I want to discover my own music through a variety of means – reviews, folk clubs, festivals, more. Today online streaming doesn’t always have the albums I want to listen to.


Celtic Connections 2019 is premier 18 days major winter music festival, 
17thJan - 3rdFeb 2019, Glasgow
Over 20 venues, 300 events and 2,100 artists 
The festival will feature special event concerts, film screenings workshops, talks, theatre, ceilidhs, exhibitions, free events and late night sessions. Celtic Connections includes innovative collaborations while respecting past traditions and encourages new talent with late sessions, open mic and more. There is always such a fantastic buzz!