Showing posts with label “Celtic Connections”. Show all posts
Showing posts with label “Celtic Connections”. Show all posts

Sunday 12 February 2012

Celtic 2012 Review

One of the joys of Celtic Connections is that there are so many top class musicians of all genres in town for the two weeks. Although for me highlights are the Scottish Ceilidh bands, unique collaborations, emerging talent, American bluegrass, traditional singers and singer songwriters, Gaelic singers, 

This year I’ve been busy with reviews and with being unwell the first week I’ve not covered as much as usual. Saying that though the Bring It All Back Home: Gerry Rafferty Remembered provided one of the best concerts I’ve been to at Celtic – I am still singing Rafferty songs 2 weeks later!

I also had a lovely trip to the Fruitmarket, the ABC and I enjoyed a few nights at the Late Sessions and the open mics at the concert hall. The Rab Noakes concert was also highly enjoyable. Celtic finished for me with the ever wonderful Transatlantic Sessions.

This year was about the craft of the Songwriter with many concerts - one for the 100 year centennial for Woody Guthrie; an outstanding concert to commemorate and celebrate one of the best songwriters Gerry Rafferty organised by Rab Noakes
the protest song with Scottish songwriter Karine Polwart and Justin Currie; The Transatlantic celebrated several gifted writers and musicians among them the extraordinary Jerry Douglas from Ohio, Shetland fiddler Aly McBaincand guitarist Russ Barenberg  Other concerts included – Scottish songwriter Rab Noakes, Irish troubadour Luke Bloom, Thea Gilmore sang songs written by iconic English folk singer Sandy Denny, Mercury nominated King Creosote and John Hopkins; and younger artists Rachel Sermani, Breabach, Manran, Madison Violet, Admiral Fallow,and James Vincent McMorrow. 
Celtic encourages new artists via several routes – the BBC Young Traditional Musician, the Danny Kyle open stage, Showcase Scotland, (with Celtic artists worldwide), and with BBC broadcasts.

I would have wished to attend more but was unable to due to my very heavy cold the first week. Even so it was a delight as usual to attend the concert hall, fruitmarket and other venues for Celtic 2012. Another successful festival and as the girl from Madison Violet put it – how lucky we are to have a festival like this in Glasgow. 
If you watch the wonderful program 'Gerry Rafferty Remembered' - you can see me taking photos on the Ron Sexsmith song! Fame at last!

Transatlantic Sessions Celtic Connections 2012

The Mainstay of Celtic with it’s Winning Formula!

Transatlantic Band. Every January my son and I take a front row seat at the 'Transatlantic Sessions' Celtic Connections Glasgow. This is a very unique concert, and is about the band firstly - live bands don't come much better than this one!  I love the way the singers are centre stage vocally surrounded by these rich warm tones of the folk music. Singers include some of the most beautiful Celtic voices -   Eddi Reader, Karen Matheson, Cara Dillon, Darrell Scott, Tim O'Brien, Paul Brady, Julie Fowlis.  

This concert is all about the band and backing bands don’t come better than this! - they prove that an accomplished band makes all the difference to a concert. The band were introduced on stage. 
Musical directors were Shetland fiddler Aly Bain and dobro player Jerry Douglas.
Cast. Ruth Moody, Declan O’Rourke, Raul Malo, Eddi Reader, Karen Matheson, Tim O’Brien, Aly Bain, Jerry Douglas, Russ Barenberg, Danny Thompson, Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker, Donald Shaw, Darrell Scott, Bruce Molsky
Here’s my concert running list which I hope I’ve got mostly right!
The Concert. After the opening reels Tim O’Brien from West Virginia performed My Girls Waiting For Me and All I Want. Ruth Moody of Wailing Jenny’s sang Nest and Long Stars. Next was Scottish favourite Eddie Reader who sang Burn’s Green Grow the Rashes O. She was joined by Irish singer songwriter Declan O’Rourke and they sang his song Love Is the Way. Declan then sang Lightning Bird and Galileo. Then we had tunes with Scottish fiddler Aly Bain leading – Glass of Beer and Full Rigged Ship. Next the crystal voice of Karen Matheson as she sang the traditional song The Arka Mill. Followed by the Cuban Latino singer Raul Malo who sang Without You and Better Days. The first half was finished with a song by Woody Guthrie This Land Is Our Land led by Tim O’Brien.

The second half was started by the celebrated dobro player Jerry Douglas and he makes it looks effortless! Next was Bruce Molsky’s old time quartet style with an 80 year old tune called New Cut Road. Then Raul Malo sang an old corny song, I Have Found my World in You. Michael McGoldrick played a beautiful Irish Air. Ruth Moody sang Shine Back on Me. Guitarist Russ Barenberg played Rain on the Island. Declan O’Rourke sang Langley’s Requiem at the grand piano. John McCusker played some tunes. Eddie Raeder sang Footsteps Fall and Karen Matheson sang a Donald Shaw song Diamond Ring. Followed by Scottish reels and the encore of Raul Milo singing Hey Good Looking.  

Tip for next year. Why not let Aly Bain do something solo? He seems an unassuming musician, but I can see watching the set what a very talented player he truly is. Modest Aly Bain is one of our most accomplished ever fiddlers. I notice during the singer’s turns the way Douglas adds his countering melody and how much his playing adds to the concert. One ingredient missing this year is Aly’s side kick talented accordionist Phil Cunningham.  

This band fills the stage and they are so well led by Douglas and Aly Bain while added to the mix are the very talented singers. This is about the joy of an accomplished live band.  

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Rab Noakes and Friends at Celtic Connections Celtic 2012

The last time I saw Rab play a gig ( at the Oran Mor Glasgow, review on my blog) the venue was not so busy, so it was good to see a full house for him tonight at Celtic. 

Friends of Rab’s joined him on stage. Rod Clements of Lindisfarne sang Turn a Deaf Ear with RabJimmy McGregor who was on Scottish television music shows in the 60s, talked of the Skiffle groups and he sang Mormond Breas and Freight Train with Rab. Noakes sang some of his older songs such as Eden’s Flow, Turn a Deaf Ear and Clear Day. He also performed a selection of his newer songs. 

Noakes sang his very deep Gently Does It when he talked about all those artists he’d lost in the past year, including Gerry Rafferty. Lyrics, ‘You’ve been n the road so long, Building a highway to take you home.’ Sang Noakes in Living in the Past, ‘The past is a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there. Old dreams tie you down.’ Nostalgia also came up in his song Memories.

He always includes one older song and tonight it was the classic Bye Bye Blackbird with Frazer on harmonica.
In between the songs Noakes talked about the story behind his songs. Noakes lets the songs come to him and he doesn’t force anything. He understands the meaning and depth of the songs he interprets and for him it’s all about the narrative. Noakes also talked about the movies that have inspired his work, such as 'Midnight Cowboy' inspiring his song 'I'm Walking Here.'

For his encore song he sang Dylan’s Mississippi. Many of his songs have strong blue grass and Americana influences. Rab has drawn on his Scottish Fife roots and taken on board American artists that he grew up with. I thought about how our music went over to America and then bounced back here! 

Rab took to the stage at the Strathclyde Suite concert hall 31st January. I was wishing there was a ‘Best of’ album of Noakes songs!


First Half
Wait a Minute
Slippin Away
What are you doing here?
Turn a Deaf Ear
Meet me on the corner
Eden’s Flow
Seeing is Believing
Mormond Breas
Freight Train
Living in the Past
One Dog Barks

Second Half
Gently Does it
No More Time
I’m Walkin’ here
Song to the Siren
Sleepless nights
Bye Bye Blackbird
Clear day
Wrong joke
Fallen Ones
Long Dark Night
A Day Away from here
A Brighter Blue

Monday 30 January 2012

Kris Drever PHOTOS Celtic Connections 2012

Kris Drever performed with Eamon (Salsa Celtica) on banjo and Megan Henderson (Breabach) on fiddle.  Kris has a rich vocal and he is a top rhythm guitarist. He sang among other songs Burn’s Parcel of Rogues.  The band also performed a few upbeat reels. They proved an accomplished band and I enjoyed their set. 

Kris is from Orkney Scotland, and he is a Scottish contemporary folk musician and songwriter, who came to prominence in 2006 with the release of his debut solo album, Black Water. 
He also plays in the folk trio, Lau, alongside Martin Green and Aidan O'Rourke and has worked with numerous other British folk contemporaries - including Kate Rusby, John McCusker, Eddi Reader and Julie Fowlis. Lau won Best BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards - Best Group 2008 and 2009. Kris is the son of Ivan Drever, a former member of Wolfstone.

Saturday 28 January 2012

Thea Gilmore Fruitmarket Celtic Connections 2012

The Fruitmarket is one of the most atmospheric venues with its old world wooden balconies, where one feels as if we may be transported to Victorian times. I always enjoy my visits here during Celtic, although I notice there are no images lining the walls now.  I chose to see Gilmore as I enjoyed her at the Dylan concert at Celtic last year. 

Kris Drever supported, with Eamon (Salsa Celtica) on banjo and Megan Henderson (Breabach) on fiddle. Kris has a rich vocal and he is a top rhythm guitarist. He sang among other songs Burn’s Parcel of Rogues and they also performed a few upbeat reels. They proved an accomplished band and I enjoyed their set.

Gilmore is a quiet performer with a beautiful voice. She was supported by Nigel Stonier (her long-time collaborator, producer, husband and co-songwriter) and a full band that included cello and violin strings. She has recorded an album of Sandy Denny songs called Keep On Singing and she has put music to Denny's lyrics.  One of my favourite songs ever is Denny’s ‘Who Knows Where the Time Goes’, she has a voice with subtle natural depth and highs.  Gilmore does a convincing job as to emulate an iconic voice such as Denny’s is a very brave task!  I particularly enjoyed her moving versions of Long Time Gone, Georgia, and Goodnight
She is releasing the song London as a single.