Saturday 10 February 2024

Scots Gaelic Kim Carnie Transatlantic Sessions, Celtic Connections 2024, #ccfest2024,

 

Scots Gaelic singer songwriter, Kim Carnie, lead singer with Manran, performed at the Transatlantic Sessions, Celtic Connections 2024, #ccfest2024,




Saturday 3 February 2024

Ciaran Ryan Celtic Connections 2024



   

Ciaran Ryan played at the Old Fruitmarket, as part of Celtic Connections 2024, when he supported Kinnaris. 

Ryan is a dynamic, high energy player. He is a Scottish tenor banjo player, one of the UKs top players and a founding member of folk band Dallahan, His second solo album, Occupational Hazards, was released 2024. 

 







Wednesday 31 January 2024

Kinnaris Quintet PHOTOS at Celtic Connections 2024

Electrifying, genre-bending and joyous!

 

Kinnaris consists of five accomplished musicians - Jenn Butterworth on guitar, Aileen Reid on fiddle, Fiona MacAskill on fiddle, Laura-Beth on mandolin, and Laura Wilkie on fiddle. 

 

The all female band sparkled on the Old Fruimarket stage! And the packed audience, with many well dressed female fans, were ready to party. This is as far from the decades old folk image of arran sweaters as we might choose to get! 

 

Their set was begun with a toe-tapping tune This Too – after which the band were joined on stage by the ever-popular Celtic Connections singers Julie Fowlis and Karine Polwart with a rousing Emeli Sande song, Read All About It and a poignant Gaelic song Puirt sung by the enchanting vocals of Julie Fowlis, while backed perfectly by the dynamic band. 

 


Aileen Reid


Karine Polwart, a festival stalwart and activist for inclusivity, had us all singing along to her emotive song, Come Away In. and them moved by a stirring song Lost Words Blessing.

 

This wonderfully escapist concert was brought to a fitting climax with the Kinnaris tunes Wonderful and Saltsprings. Kinnaris play with verve, with both a lightness of touch and also high energy. They mix many influences to great challenging effects, from traditional Scottish, Irish, Bluegrass, Classical, Scandinavian and Appalachian music; with which they create technically exciting arrangements, while their performances are filled with a contagious positive verve. 

 

An upbeat evening to remember! 




Karine Polwart

Laura-Beth Slater



II  Kinnaris were very well supported by the dynamic, high energy playing of Ciaran Ryan, Scottish tenor banjo player, one of the UKs top players and a founding member of folk band Dallahan, His second solo album, Occupational Hazards, was released 2024. 

 The evening concert was opened by Norwegian band Gangar, with their fresh take on Nordic roots music and a modern rock take on traditional tunes.




Roaming Roots Revue at Celtic Connections 2024

 


Brownbear

What a wealth of talent!

The Roaming Roots Revue celebrated its ever popular, sold out show, with its 12th year as part of Celtic Connections. This year honouring the modern Scots song, interpreted and chosen by some of Scotland’s top talent. The concert was hosted by the excellent talent of Roddy Hart and his band the Lonesome Fire and backed by the RCS Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Logan, which created a rich and dynamic backdrop for the songs. 

 

The show was an eclectic and diverse look at the development of the modern Scots songs from well renowned Gerry Rafferty to more recent hits such a Frightened Rabbit.  New talent Brownbear aka Matthew Hickman, sang Spin Another Web and Aztec Camera’s Somewhere in my Heart. Eddi Reader performed King Creoste’s Something to Believe In. 80s artists Frank Reader and John Douglas impressed with Al Stewart’s Year of the Cat.

 

A highlight was Justin Currie of Del Amitri – who sang Be My Downfall and Nothing Ever Happens, plus a dramatic The Fight to be Human. After which the crowd cheered along to Franz Ferdinand’s Take ME Out, well performed by a dancing Hamish Hawk! The popular singer Simon Neil sang Biffy Clyro songs Space and Victory Over the Sun, plus Frightened Rabbit’s Keep Yourself Warm.


Emma Pollock performed Gerry Rafferty’s classic Night Owl. Roddy Woomble shone along with the RCS Symphony Orchestra - after a wobble to get Rod Jones guitar plugged in – with Idlewild songs You Held the World in Your Arms and American English. Eddi Reader drew proceedings to a close with In a Big Country, followed with the entire ensemble's rousing The Whole of the Moon by the Waterboys. (An additional Roaming Roots Revue was performed on the Saturday at the famous Barrowlands venue.)

Roddy Hart


Roddy Woomble 

Simon Neil


It would have been impossible to include every quality song of the recent decades in one concert – while I might have enjoyed to hear Deacon Blue’s Dignity or a Michael Marra song, but we were certainly very happy to hear the popular Proclaimer's anthem Sunshine on Leith, ably performed by Admiral Fallow’s Sarah Hayes and Louis Abbott! 

Scotland has seen a resurgence of the Scots folk scene back in the 60s and 70s with folklorists and song collectors such as Margaret Bennett, Hamish Henderson, Dick Gaughan, plus the rock and pop successes over the 80s and 90s. Scots songwriters mix the ballad traditions and contemporary influences to great effect. We should be proud and happy to see the new generations take up the mantle that was first worked on to preserve Scots voices in the 1700s by poets Allan Ramsay, Robert Fergusson and Robert Burns.

Eddi Reader
Eddi Reader

Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil

Idlewild’s Roddy Woomble and Rod Jones

Del Amitri’s Justin Currie

Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell

Admiral Fallow’s Sarah Hayes and Louis Abbott

Plus Emma Pollock,  Hamish Hawk, Brownbear, 



Review & Photos by Pauline Keightley  -  https://pkimage.co.uk

  

Positives for a Free Scotland II


Recently I’ve had a health issue, and had to have various procedures and scans to access the problem and now another wait. Then a pre-op. As I read of the consultants and junior doctors continued strikes in England over pay and conditions, and the NHS there being eroded and under-funded. I am very grateful to live in Scotland and that I don’t have to worry that consultants or doctors are on strike here. Its bad enough waiting a week for test results.  

I’m glad my three grown-up children don’t have huge levels of student debt to pay off. I’m glad that Scotland is at least trying to protect health care for all and the NHS. I’m glad that under Alex Salmond, Scotland developed it’s renewable potential. I’m also grateful that Sturgeon prioritised babies, nursery and childcare - with baby boxes and a child payment uplift, because she recognised that you can forget the next fifteen years at school if children get off to a bad start in life. 

 

I’m glad Scotland wants to protect food safety (but worry we won’t be “allowed” to).  Yes the Scottish government made errors over the ferry procurement – but at the same time the Queensferry crossing was a success story. I’m certainly grateful to live in a Scotland where most people prioritise a well being economy, where all children deserve fair opportunities; where people value equality and a greener Scotland. The trouble is Scotland doesn’t have the levers to achieve this or a modern democracy - all it can do under the devolved settlement is to tinker at the edges.

 

In a federal state the central government has clearly defined roles – federal roads, foreign police – and they don’t have to “allow’ the states to do anything! This confusing and unworkable devolved UK system is a mess and not used anywhere else. In a federal state the central government doesn’t “allow” the states broadcasting rights, immigration laws, or vat rates. Each state has its own laws for starters. I lived several years in Chicago and it surprised me greatly, that major decisions were made at the local level. (while things in the US are not perfect by any means). I also didn’t realise back then I should be a proud Scot. So many Scots are ignorant of our own heritage and history. 

 

The UK system is like a parent/ child – where Whitehall will only allow the Scottish people certain rights, over our own lives if it so chooses. The British state since inception, has been fixated on centralized control, of supposed “stability” of the Crown in Parliament.

 

I’m proud Scotland has leading universities and innovative scientists, I’m proud Scotland has major international festivals and a successful creative community of artists and musicians. I’m proud Scotland has a wealth of resources – whisky, quality food, and the potential to be a world leader in renewables. 

 

Even while most Scots want better equality and democracy, we don’t have the devolved levers tover the economy o achieve this – and sadly Scotland is one of the most unequal and exploited nations in the developed world. Like many Scots I wasn’t taught to be a proud Scot at school - but to feel second rate to London and its history. Just as in Northern Ireland where children are taught about English rivers, but not about their own Irish rivers!

 

The union believes in a mono-global culture. In the 1800s European countries realised to harness their real potential they must have national renewal and national aspiration and the map of Europe changed from huge empires to the small nations of today. Scotland must join this Europe of sovereign, free nations. In order to shape and control our future destiny.

 

We can still share security and co-operate on defence with rUK, independence just means that Scots voices have a say and not just a tiny Tory elite.




Sunday 14 January 2024

Celtic Connections 2024!

 

 

Folk music. What is folk music?

This festival is definitively NOT about only about folk music. Some might argue it should be more narrowly about Trad – while others want to hear experimental cross overs and colorations. 

Celtic Connections is definitely full of unexpected collaboration. One of its strengths is it diversity – crossing boundaries while drawing on Celtic heritage and traditions, 

 

There is always a wide variety of MUSIC at Celtic Connections – with its breadth of genres and cultures. The festival is known as Europe’s premier folk, roots and world music festival, and the home of  spectacular musical collaborations. Celtic Connections has continued to expand into a multitude of genres over its 30-year history. In 2024 the festival will stage an ambitious  genre-defying programme of acoustic, traditional, indie, Americana, Jazz, blues, orchestral, experimental and more. 

 

Americana – Bruce Hornsby, Bela Fleck, Molly Fleck. 

Pipes – Finlay MacDonald, Skerryvore (folk rock), Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton. 

Gaelic – Julie Fowlis, Joy Dunlop, Breabach, Daimh

New composition, orchestral

Fusion, and rock bands, 

Trad music, jazz and blues

Ceilidh and dance, 

 

Some highlights - 

Concert for revolutionary John MacLean - Red Clydeside . 

Irish group, the Bothy Band -

Dougie MacLean anniversary concert. 

 

The festival includes a Showcase, education, open mic, late night sessions, new talent, multi-cultural. Plus the Scottish National Whisky festival


Celtic Connections of one of the world’s largest winter music and folk festivals, I always remember being in the Press office with a London reporter. I said you must have folk festivals like this in London – he replied, ’Oh nothing at all on this scale!”

“Celtic Connections stands as a testament to Glasgow’s status as the UK’s top cultural and creative city, honoured by the European commission. The festival embodies a global tapestry of music, welcoming diverse traditions from across the world. “

 

I’ve been covering Celtic Connections concerts from 2008-2024 (over 16 years) with both reviews and photos. I have so many highlights to recall – impressive opening concerts, old Fruitmarket buzz, the ABC venue (sadly no longer there due to the art school fire), the late sessions, Danny Kyle stage – and so much more.

TICKETS   at www.celticconnections.comCeltic Connections 2024