Showing posts with label "celtic connections festival". Show all posts
Showing posts with label "celtic connections festival". Show all posts

Monday 7 February 2011

'Dick Gaughan' Review

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I first heard Gaughan play in the 70s in Edinburgh when I was dating a folk guitarist who raved about how incredible and very distinctive his playing was. Many years later (after being in America for nearly ten years and having three children) I heard Dick again at Milngavie Folk club in 2007, and this was an intimate gig where his chat between songs was worth going for alone. 

In his own so distinctive style, Gaughan hammers and speaks with his acoustic guitar. He performs traditional folk tunes, songs by Robert Burns and Brian McNeill, favourite cover songs and his own songs. Some very few artists have the ability to transport and transcend the moment, and Dick does so with forceful guitar playing and classic traditional songs with a strong message and with a deep expressive, growling voice. 

He doesn't play the predictable smoothed-over sugar box 'tartan shortbread' songs - and he may not be to every ones taste. Gaughan is plain spoken and holds firmly held beliefs on the rights of everyman. At one time he took past folk stories and songs from the library archives and put new melodies to them. You come away from his gigs questioning but ultimately renewed in the faith of our shared humanity. Dick Gaughan is a Scottish living legend, and he usually performs every January at 'Celtic Connections' Glasgow.   

Recommended Songs -  Both Sides the Tweed. Handful of Earth, Parcel of Rogues.

Celtic Connections 2011 Reveiw

This year I went to less events than last year, there is so much on at the same time it can be hard to choose!  For the smaller events planning ahead is a good idea as there were many sold out concerts. Celtic offers a good opportunity to see new talent coming through and also for more established artists. The highlights for me were Forever Young Dylan concert and Rosanne Cash and the Davy Steele concert. I finished my Celtic experience at the festival club.
At the Danny Kyle Open Mic and the Festival club I took photos of 'RURA' at both by chance and I thought they were a fun band. They were one of the winners of the 'Danny Kyle stage'.  Taking shots of this young band reminded me of what I love about Music Photography - the joy of music. I'm often not keen on the quick grab of a few shots during the first 3 songs as it feels false and that's not why I do my photography. I hope I offer quality promotions for the festival with my work.  I met Jerry Douglas at the Old Fruitmarket and I said I had some photos from his gig on the Sunday! 
There is something for everyone and the diversity of the festival shows in the events offered over the 2 weeks. 'Showcase Scotland' attracts over 180 music industry delegates. The festival also offers workshops and it's popular educational program. Celtic brings in a good deal to Scotland and Glasgow with visitors world wide attending, making it a truly international event and raising the profile of Scottish culture, music and art. 
It's been an honour for me to cover and promote the Celtic Connections festival the past few years (*since 2008).  I often get some of my best shots at Celtic for some reason -  maybe its the buzz, the collaborations, the diversity of the artists, added to the backdrop of the historic, dramatic yet vibrant city of Glasgow. 
I hope you might enjoy my Celtic Connections slideshow on my photo website -

Celtic Connections festival Glasgow  
While I enjoy many genres, I believe folk or roots music or Celtic has an important role in keeping our cultural history alive and well. I used to go to Sandy Bells Edinburgh where I grew up about the time Hamish Henderson may have been there. I saw Dick Gaughan in the seventies, and travelled to many folk festivals. Celtic explores both our cultures and our diversities and what pulls us together -  our shared humanity and love of the arts - especially music of course!
I enjoy Celtic for the chance to meet other writers, artists and photographers.

I've had good feedback from several folk artists who have used my images for promotional material - Kirsty McGee, Karine Polwart, Jim Byrne, Inge Thompson, Mat Martin, Broken Records, Alistair Oglivie, The Magic Hat .

'The Transatlantic Sessions' Celtic Connections festival January 2011

The ever popular Transatlantic sessions rolled into town.  It now tours to several other cites also, including Manchester, and London.  Musical directors were as usual Ali Bain and Jerry Douglas.

After the opening reel we were treated to the lovely-lilting Gaelic voice of Julie Fowlis in a deep blue velvet dress.  We then had a couple of songs from the ever sociable and talented bluegrass singer Tim O'Brien.  The other lady singers were soulful Alison Moorer and powerful gospel singer Ashley Cleveland from Tennessee.  A highlight of these concerts is the Scottish reels led by the masterful Ali Bain on fiddle.  Irishman Paul Brady sang a tribute to the late Gerry Rafferty with his hugely successful song 'Baker Street.'  Jerry Douglas plays his quality solo to open the second half, and later Mike McGoldrick on pipes led a haunting Scottish melody, while Alison Moorer sang the wonderful 'Carrickfergus'.  As usual a diverse, colourful and highly entertaining show.   

Monday 24 January 2011

'Steele The Show' Tribute concert to Davy Steele @ Old Fruitmarket Celtic Connections 20th Jan 2011

Davy Steele:  "Passion for life and Laughter"
Davy's friends gathered for the tenth anniversary of his tragic early death - not simply to honour him but to relive his spirit through his songs. Davy Steele was a member of several bands including Drinker's Drouth, Ceolbeg, and Battlefield.  He started out writing mostly rocking soul songs, then work songs - and later Scottish folk songs and intimate love ballads.  He died from a brain tumour at the age of 51 - and to celebrate his work his wife Patsy Sedon invited several Scottish artists to record some of Davy's best loved songs for a CD entitled - 'Steele The Show'.

In between each performance the artists told stories of Davy. It was abundantly clear from these and from their performance of his songs, the great affection they felt for him - and
the man that emerged was one with a big heart and a huge grin.  It's hard to explain the joy of this concert -  it was at once about Steele's warm and generous heart, but mostly about his warm and generous songs.  I hope my photos express the sincere feelings of the different performances of his songs.

The Performers. The show was hosted by Ian McCalman and Phil Cunningham. Performances were by Dick Gaughan, Karine Polwart, Andy M Stewart, Sally Barker, Kath Stewart, Siobhan Miller - backed by a band that featured Andy Throburn, Donald Hay, Mary Macmaster, Karen Tweed, Eilidh Shaw and Mairearad Green.

Davy's Songs.
Karine Polwart -  'Scotland Yet'
Dick Gauaghan - 'The Ballad of Jimmy Steele'
Kath Stewart - 'Friends'
Andy M. Stewart - 'Here's A Health of the Seuter'
Patsy Sedon - 'Rose of Summerlea'
Siobhan Miller - 'Eye of A Child'
Dick Gaughan - 'The Last Trip Home'
Patsy Sedon ( and the Steelettos!) - 'Sliding'
Siobhan Miller - 'Chasing Shadows'
Sally Barker - 'Quietly Song You To Sleep'
Jamie Steele - 'Just One More Chorus'

The heartfelt moments of the concert were - Jamie Steele's singing 'Just One More Chorus;'   Sally Barker singing 'Quietly Song You To Sleep', and Patsy Sedon - 'Rose of Summerlea.'
There were the fun dancing songs also and one sung by Patsy Sedon and the Steelettos! called 'Sliding.'
Poignant traditional songs from Dick Gaughan - 'The Ballad of Jimmy Steele' and 'The Last Trip Home.'   And for the last 2 songs, Davey's friends and family were invited on to the stage, and his widow Patsy Seddon was given a bouquet from her son Jamie.
There were some great characters at this concert. After the concert I spoke with Alex Reid ( lead singer of Battlefield band) who spoke of Davy's time with the band. Alan now has a duo called Robran Sante.  He said that one of Davy's biggest ambitions was to tour the world with a band - a dream he realised when he became the front man for the Battlefield band in the 90s.  A moving and heart-warming concert.  

Monday 17 January 2011

'Broken Records' Celtic Connections 2011

Broken Records Review - Old Fruitmarket 16th Jan 2011

Broken Records are a six-piece indie folk band from Edinburgh Scotland. The band are signed to 4AD and released their debut album, Until the Earth Begins to Part in 2009.  Their second album Let Me Come Home was released in October 2010. They played a well-received set at T in the Park's T Break stage in 2007.  The band attended SxSW Festival in Austin, Texas in 2010 and their music was featured in the TV dramas "Skins" and "Lost". They have supported The National on part of their European 'High Violet' LP tour.  In May the band completed their second album, Let Me Come Home in October, 2010 with producer Tony Doogan (Mogwai, Delgados, Belle & Sebastian)
They played at the Old Fruitmarket 16th January 2011 as part of 'Celtic Connections 2011', and as support for the Burns Unit ( an 8-piece Canadian and Scottish folk/rock band formed over a song writing week in a cottage up north for Burnsong).
Broken Records displayed a tight accomplished unit and blasted through their set. Not many bands command the stage - and Jamie, along with his brother, often appear lost in their rocky yet Celtic-tinged sounds as Rory's violin adds at times an eerie haunting air. Their music moves from intimate piano ( the Promise) to charged violin and drums rhythms (new single A darkness Rises Up). Jamie finished their set with the song 'Nearly Home' with simply his vocal alongside synth keys. Their songs are mystic, exploring many wide-open and spacious emotional themes.
The band were originally formed by brothers Jamie (Lead Vocals) and Rory (fiddle, accordion) Sutherland.  I have heard this band before - and noticed then their musicianship alongside memorable songs and energetic playing, and that Jamie used his vocals as a finely tuned instrument.  They have now shed the cello and worked on arrangements and their second album sounds so much more together and balanced.  I heard this band at several venues and the best was in the reverential setting of the Queens Hall Edinburgh - where they blasted through a set of strong songs in the packed converted church that left me enthralled and exhilarated. 
Aching and troubling yet uplifting sounds.  They tour America and Europe in 2011.  
Set List 
1. Leaving Song
2. Modern Worksong
3. Motorcyclce Boy
4. Wolves
5. A Darkness Rises Up
6. A Promise
7. You Know
8. Nearly Home