Showing posts with label Bothy Culture and Beyond. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bothy Culture and Beyond. Show all posts

Wednesday 28 February 2018


Opening concert Siobhan Miller & Kris Drever
Celebration this year of 25 years of Celtic connections music festival
 ‘The Sights and Sounds of Celtic Connections’
from the many lights overhead of the Danny Kyle stage that illuminate the aspirations of many young musicians; to those playing accordion, Uilleann pipes pipes , fiddle or piano in the concert hall foyer; the photographers images of concerts they’ve enjoyed; the old oak warmth of the atmospheric Old Fruitmarket where folk musicians or ceilidh bands never cease to amaze; to the packed anticipation of the concert hall audiences for another year of Celtic cheer to lift the gloom of January chills – and  as the snow falls on the opening night I feel grateful to be there! To the last Transatlantic Sessions concert when the days are longer. 

*Highlights for me this year were – Vibrant line up at the Opening concert; Beth Orton;  Bothy Culture and Beyond; Tribute concert Old Fruitmarket for Dick Gaughan;  film composer Max Richter; Shawn Colvin; Session A9; Transatlantic Sessions;
*Tribute concerts –  ‘Arrest this Moment’ for Michael Marra;  Tribute concert for Dick Gaughan.
One of the more interesting aspects of the festival is spotting the new talents emerging.
*The young musicians who drew attentions this year –  Talisk, Siobhan Miller, Siobhan Wilson, Friel Sisters,  Rura,  Alasdair Roberts, Kathryn Joseph, Misha Macpherson, Elephant Sessions, Saltfishforty Rose Code Blue. 

*Danny Kyle Stage Winners 2018,
Dlu  band, Lynne Carson, The Canny band, Galloway, Savannah Donolnoe and Charlie, Joel Gardner, Sam Begbie and Joe Doyle,

*International artists and visitors included - Cuban singer Juan de Marcos and Americans Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan.

Northern Celtic Routes -  Connections to our Gaelic Irish cousins and also our strong links to Northern Celtic Routes from Norway, Canada, Finland and Sweden. Swedish accordionist Leif Ottossen. Quebec quartet Le Vent du Nord. This year Celtic connections twinned with Ireland.
Beth Orton
Eddi Reader
Julie Fowlis
On top of this CC hosts film, art exhibitions, workshops, ceilidh nights, talks, late sessions,
The biggest audience for Gaelic scots music at Bothy Culture and Beyond. Plus a whisky festival at SWg1. The FILM, the Groove is not trivial path to joy - social change through the arts.

The 18 days of the festival - Over 300 events over 26 stages and ticket sales over 130,000. Over the last 25 years the festival has grown at an unprecedented rate, increasing from 66 events in 1 venue with 27,000 attendees in 1994 to 172 events across 11 stages. to now over 350 events across 28 stages and an attendance figure of over 130,000.

There is always such a wide variety , eclectic, accomplished line up – from established and emerging talents.
Celtic Connections offers subtle intonation, creative musicianship, artistic storytelling, friendly collaborations.

Bothy Culture & Beyond
My Top Celtic concerts
I have enjoyed some of my best ever concerts at Celtic Connections – The opening concert with the GRIT orchestra, Cara Dillon, Rura the Old Fruitmarket, Jerry Douglas and his band, the legendary Rab Noakes and Dick Gaughan. Mary Chapman Carpenter, Richard Thompson, The Chieftains, Punch Brothers, concert for Gerry Rafferty; concert for Michael Marra, the awesome Transatlantic Sessions, beautiful Gaelic singers – Julie Fowlis, Karen Matheson, Rhiannon Gibbons.

Celtic Connections 25th festival!
World class musicians from all corners of the roots, folk, world, Americana, indie music world.
Martin Simpson & Tony McManus
Sharon Shannon
Far Far from Ypres

Tuesday 13 February 2018

‘Bothy Culture and Beyond’ Celtic Connections 2018

At a packed Glasgow Hydro, the audience was enthralled with a world premier performance of Martyn Bennett’s, Bothy Culture and Beyond, as part of Celtic Connections. The GRIT orchestra and was arranged and conducted by Greg Lawson.

Three years ago I went to the Celtic Connections opening concert Nae Regrets – and what a night it was!  The GRIT orchestra played Martyn Bennett’s first album (conducted by Lawson). Bennett composed Celtic fusion music that successfully mixed the old and the new, Celtic traditions along with electronic techno. He was known as the Techo Piper with his deadlocks and innovative playing. He sadly died young at 33 from Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He performed at Edinburgh Hogmanay and T in the Park.

Aerial dancers All or Nothing
*Lawson introduced the players and the stage was set for an outstanding performance of pipes, dance and celebration. He told us, “To find identity, we need different perspectives (all welcoming Scotland) to find truth and embrace difference, so both sides are enhanced and everyone is enriched – an evolution.”  As well as classical and jazz musicians the orchestra featured renowned folk fiddlers  - Duncan Chisholm, Aidan O’Rourke, Chris Stout, Megan Henderson, Sarah Jane Summers, Charlie McKerron, Eilidh Shaw and Laura Wilkie

This concert was full of ‘joie de vivre’ and the drama of Scotland’s landscapes, from its tallest peaks to its rushing waters and in-between the cultural melting pots of her vibrant cities. Bennet’s music tells of youth, the ancient stone hilltop Bothys along with the rich cultural voices he inherited from his mother, folklorist Margaret Bennett.

Many tracks transcended time and place. The concert began with the sweeping Orcadian Strip the Willow. Then the concert was brought alive visually by aerial dancers All or Nothing who shimmied on hoops and ropes for Aye. There was powerhouse brass and Celtic whistles with Shputnik in Glenshiel. While others tracks had the ‘get up and groove’ to the pipes, such as on Ud the Doudouk.

Fiona Hunter haunting vocals were followed by the Glasgow chapel choir, who were eerily ethereal on Blackbird, when ancient voices met contemporary vibes. At this point stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill rode on his mountain bike around a track laid out around the arena, and then on the Skye mountain backdrop behind the stage.  (His ride of the Black Cuillin Ridge Skye, is sound tracked by Bennett’s Blackbird , 55m Views YouTube).

On the moving track Hallaig, Sorley Maclean’s poem was read by the actor David Hayman -
A wood going up beside the stream, Heartbreak of the tale.”
The crowd in the Hydro were all ages and danced and sang along to Bennett’s life-enhancing music. The set closed with the drama of the lone piper Finlay Macdonald for Waltz by Hector. 

Bennett challenged the norms – with whistles, brass, electronic beats and his chanter.

There were several web kent faces in the crowd  Well done to all the talented performers and to Bennett himself. This was the biggest audience I’ve seen at Celtic Connections and festival director Donald Shaw says he wants to focus on more larger scale productions.

**Skye outfit Niteworks played a blistering set of electronica meets  Gaelic voice to open the concert  - hypnotic. Ruairidh Graham, Allan MacDonald, Christopher Nicolson and Innes Strachan.

I’ve arrived at venues for sound checks when they are cold blue, empty – it’s a strange transformation. People gradually start to arrive – music is played as all changes to the vibrant joy and energy of reds and oranges. Those hilltops Bothys were like this too -  fires were lit, warm drinks were had and traditional songs were sung. It’s the all embracing warmth of the human connection and celebration. Why should we remember? Why does it matter? We live in glossy, shallow times. It’s important to look beyond – to seek truth.
What really matters in the end. On our journeys, over sea or land – to pause, to wonder, to seek renewals. To hope.. To seek shared human joy.  ‘Bothy Culture”

Seeking difference enhances perspective of who we are. ‘
Scotland does not want to silence ‘other’ voices but to embrace them – while we keep our rich heritage alive and well and so she sings for all. * I might have wished for more info on Martin Bennett himself with perhaps clips of him telling his colourful story in the interval before the GRIT performance.

(Scottish Independence is not about ‘identity’ – rather how we can embrace our past, have understanding and build a better Scotland for all.)

1.    "Aye?" (6:22)
2.    "Shputnik In Glenshiel" (5:50)
3.    "Hallaig" (8:19)
4.    "Ud The Doudouk" (5:44)
5.    "4 Notes" (5:55)
6.    "Joik" (3:26)
7.    "Yer Man From Athlone" (6:25)
8.    "Waltz For Hector" (9:20)
All or Nothing Aerial dance
Vocalist Innes Watson
Fiona Hunter vocals
Sorley Maclean’s poem, read by actor David Hayman