Showing posts with label 2024. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2024. Show all posts

Sunday 30 June 2024

Edinburgh Book Festival 2024


EIBF 2024

Since 2006 I have attended the EIBF. I would enjoy the fun, exuberance and festivities of the high street and after the walk down the mound and along George street to the relative calm and seclusion of the tree shaded book festival. A restorative juxtaposition.


Here I found a place of quiet reflection, big debate, colourful diversity, spontaneous conversations, intellectual challenge, famous faces, questioning politics. A place to anaylse or be informed. Intellectual freedoms and debates. There is also art, science, sport, history, economic and music and much more besides. It’s a place to refresh and for new ideas and interactions. .


EIBF was begun in 1983

EIBF is both national and international – with many well known Scottish authors – Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Alexander McCall Smith, Liz Lochhead, Christopher Brookmyre. Richard Holloway -  and also big names international names such as Elif Shakaf, Joseph Stiglitz, Margaret Atwood, Noam Chomsky and many more.


Neil Gaiman

Rachel Long

Simon Callow

This year the world leading book festival anticipates its brand new venue at the historic building next to the meadows  - with an expanded new outdoor Courtyard, the return of the Speigel tent and the Children’s tent in the courtyard, with lots of events and free activities to spark ideas and creativity.

Plus major events at the McEwan hall and food events at Elliott’s studio, Sciennes rd. 


My Top memories - One evening the Speigel tent was packed to hear an impromptu set by the Nile Rodgers! I felt so lucky to be there. He told stories of starting in Sesame street – and in-between played his songs with those very well kent riffs!

Another time was being mistaken for the famous Irish poet Seamus Heaney;s wife, on entering the book festival café, when Heaney we just ahead of me! 


I attend EIBF each year and its an unmatched place for informed debate, intellectual collaboration and creative thinking. Why are green activists targeting a place of free and open ideas for our future? When there are so many fake, ignorant click baits on so much of online media?

Ocean Vuong

This years theme is 'Future Tense' with a new venue at the Futures Institute – where Edinburgh’s famous Royal Infirmary once stood. And a new Scots festival director, Jenny Niven


Niven describes the Edinburgh festival as, “One of high octane and venerable, raucous and transformative, thoughtful and spontaneous….Is what brings the city to life, creating a playground for anyone who curiosity get the better of them. For ideas to take centre stage.”

“In a moment of such divisions and opposition – democracy thrives on good information, sanguine exchange  - the art of really listening and your voice deserves to be heard.”



**There will be several book festival themes - 


Future Tense - A toast to the future/ brilliant fiction/ future library/ generations/ data/ future politics/ imaginative realm.

How to live a meaningful life


Justified sinner


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



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  -