Showing posts with label Canadian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canadian. Show all posts

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Canadian Scots; 150 years of Independence!



In 2009 I took photos at a Clan Gathering Homecoming in Edinburgh – where many of the Scots diaspora celebrated their roots. There are about 11 million of Scots descent living abroad. As many Scots live in Canada as in Scotland. Waves of Scots were forced to flee their homeland during the highland clearances in two waves – first after the Jacobite wars in 1750s (lets be clear these were European religious feuds /wars and included solders from Ireland, France, Germany – they were not the English fighting the Scots!)

atholl highlandes
The second wave was early 19th century - and also again after the first world war, people of the beautiful Hebrides and Orkney islands were spun yarns of the great life they could have over the seas. It was a direct de-population and suppression of Highland peoples and their culture and stories. It was a way of spreading the British empire worldwide.


Each year Canada hosts the Glengarry games.
Of course we don’t learn anything of the clearances, Jacobites, Scottish inventions, Scottish writers or artists or even of Robert Burns, if we study Scottish history at Scottish secondary schools. Instead history teachers in Scotland have had to teach of the glories of the British empire, Shakespeare or Tudors. It’s a shocking state that there is such historical ignorance here. Hopefully things have improved today?!
At least that’s what I had to study. Now I am older (and hopefully wiser) I am teaching myself Scottish history. It makes me both very sad and angry that when I walked the ancient streets of Edina in m youth I knew nothing. I did visit the castle and art galleries and I taught myself something of the Stuarts and of Mary Queen of Scots, at those places. There were the poets who wrote to keep Scots culture alive after the union of 1707. Lets also be clear – this was never a union of equal partners – it was about a few ambitious Scots careers and for greed.


According to Janice Charette, Canadian High Commissioner UK, the ties are robust to Scotland: On the calendars across Canada there are Caledonian events, from Highland Games to Burns nights. “Canada prides itself on being a diverse, multi-cultural population - one of strengths.
Also in Vancouver they have combined Burns night and the Chinese New Year into a major event. It is called the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Festival so Scottish and Chinese Canadians and other Canadians of all origins come together for it. They eat haggis and dim sum, drink single malt whisky while watching a traditional Chinese dragon dance to the accompaniment of bagpipes.”  “It was only since I came to live in Scotland that I began to understand my own country’s story. The heritage of the diaspora – the poetry, the songs, the literature - allows you to see through Scottish eyes and appreciate just how much this small country gave to Canada.”

But the real Scots history is not here in royal portraits – but with the ordinary Scots.
Fortunately the Scottish songs and music and stories live on in Canada!
The young President Justin Trudeau, who has a Scottish grandfather, visited Edinburgh in July to mark the Canadian celebrations.

**The Canada STORY
This Saturday marks150th anniversary of the founding of Canada - The British North America Act of 1867 marks the provinces of Upper and lower Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick “shall form and be One Dominion, under the name of Canada.” Gaelic Scotland were part of the founding of present day Canada. The first Scots arrived in Nova Scotia1620s. Men from Orkney arrived a century later, recruited by the fur traders from Hudson’s Bay Co.

The first Canadian Prime Minister John Macdonald was from Glasgow, his father was from Sutherland and his mother a Shaw from Badenoch. Of Canada’s 23 prime ministers14 have had Scottish roots including Justin Trudeau, whose grandfather hailed from Banffshire. It was Macdonald, along with Scots George Stephen and Donald Smith, who were responsible for the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway coast.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

LIV ON with Olivia Newton-John Celtic Connections 2017


A hopeful and life-embracing evening of song, togetherness and support to lift the spirits and also to heal. 
Australian, American and Canadian, singer songwriters Olivia Newton-John, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky shared their grief journey songs on their collaborative LIV On: ‘A New Album to aid & Comfort Those Experiencing Grief & Loss while using the power of music to heal’.
The set moved seamlessly even though this was only their second gig together and was led by Nielsen Chapman as musical director. She sang her well loved songs – ‘Sand and Water’, ‘You Don’t Know what to Say’, ‘This Kiss’ and ‘Christmas Song’.

Canadian Amy Sky played piano on several songs including her moving song ‘Forever Blue. She also performed a dramatic ‘Phenomenal Women’, which had words by the poet Maya Angelou.
Meanwhile Olivia sang some of her best loved songs – ‘Love will See Us Through’, ‘Grace and Gratitude’, ‘I Will Always Love You’. She also performed the signature song ‘LIV ON.’  We all remembered Newton-John from the famous Grease movie. She looked well and had great rapport with the concert hall audience. She also performed her songs perfectly, expressing exactly the right mood and feel for the concert and songs.


Olivia Newton-John
They sang of their love and strength, of redemption songs. They sang with gentle, poignant harmonies and piano of how love will see us through. They also opened up to the audience for their own stories of grief.

This concert was about the journey of grief we must all travel to release the pain, but more than this, it was about the destination of acceptance. For their finale they clapped and smiled and sang the hit song ‘Happy’. Phil Cunningham joined them on stage and they also sang a restoring ‘Do not stand at my Grave.’

While of course Olivia was very much the star!

They were very well supported by the talented fiddler John McCusker and his band with wondrous reels and slower tunes, when they were joined on stage by the singers Heidi Talbot and Adam Holmes.

Review and Photos Pauline Keightley  - http://pkimage.co.uk
John McCusker band

Friday, 5 February 2016

RURA rocked Old Fruitmarket Celtic Connections 2016

A rip roaring set by this fun young band with quality support

This evening concert at the Old Fruitmarket was a triple bill mix of American bluegrass and Scottish music traditions. This venue with it's balconies and rustic old world charm creates its own uniquely inviting atmosphere.

One of the most exciting new folk bands on the scene, Rura were the Danny Kyle stage winners a few years back when I was impressed with their set at the #ccfest festival club. (Photos are in my Celtic Connections galleries)


The packed crowd in the hall were really up for it all. The band had carefully arranged their light show, prepared their instruments and their folk indie rock and were ready for a night of engaging dynamic energy with their charged fiddle, guitar, bodhran, pipes and flute. Rura exploded their challenged music with their power reels, beats and rhythms.

The singer Adam Homes with his husky tones joined them for several songs. Album 2015 Despite the Dark. They are - Steven Blake (bagpipes, flute), Jack Smedley (fiddle), David Foley (Bodhran, flute), Adam Brown (guitar), Adam Homes (vocals, guitar). http://www.rura.co.uk


The Canadian roots band The East Pointers began the night with their lively and earthy American roots music.  http://eastpointers.ca/
The gentle singer Aoife O’Donovan was up next and she provided pure quality vocals and songs. She releases her second solo album The Magic Hour in 2016.  She was previously with the band Crooked Still.   http://www.aoifeodonovan.com/
With my photos I try to capture those moments of the escape and joy of the music.
Top marks for this Old Fruitmarket gig!


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Review Sarah McLachlan's new album 2014 -'Shine On'



Canadian singer songwriter Sarah's music provides subtle mood changes.  Her music is intensely moving and full of both sad poignancy and hopeful joys.  While several of her song titles sound full of sad heartbreaks this new album does indeed shine. I enjoy her arrangements and her piano playing which always serves the song firstly.  On this new album some of the backing has a more updated feel, with slow trumpet,  discordant soaring guitar,  gentle ukulele and long note keys.  She has a wide ranging expressive voice and songs that linger. 

I particularly like the new songs - Broken Heart, Brink of Destruction, Beautiful Girl.  I am not as keen on the arrangements on the song Monster however. 

I have of course enjoyed her previous albums Afterglow (2003) and Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (1993)
I know she is wonderful live going by several YouTube clips - so I hope Sarah you might play over here in Scotland very soon!  Hint hint.   

Her song, "One Dream," was the official theme song of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Sarah McLachlan has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. McLachlan's best-selling album to date is Surfacing, for which she won two Grammy Awards (out of four nominations) and four Juno Awards. She founded the Lilith Fair tour, which showcased female musicians on a scale that had never been attempted before. The Lilith Fair concert tours took place from 1997 to 1999, and resumed in the summer of 2010. On May 6, 2014, she released her first album of original music in four years, titled Shine On.

ALSO...
It has been wonderful so far this year with some of my favourite artists releasing new albums -  Sarah McLachlan, Cara Dillon (A Thousand Hearts), Dougie MacLean. 

Plus some exciting new artists I've seen on the Jools Holland show - including White Denim from Austin Texas.  Goodness no wonder the genres are blurring these days!  White Denim is a four-piece rock band from Austin, Texas. Their music draws influence from dub, psychedelic rock, blues, punk rock, progressive rock, soul, jazz, experimental rock with home based recording, jamming approach, intense looping work and unusual song structures.
 

Friday, 3 February 2012

Madison Violet at Celtic Connections 2012

Two Canadian girls took to the Late Sessions stage for the BBC Radio 3 show hosted by Mary Kennedy at Celtic Connections Glasgow 2012, on Tuesday 31st January after their sold out ABC gig. They sang their song The Ransom off their 2009 third album No Fool for Trying, which won the John Lennon Songwriting Award. They spoke of what a fabulous event Celtic was and how lucky we were to have it. I was impressed with the quality of their songs and their bright artistic sound.
Their 2011 follow-up album The Good in Goodbye has received major attention.  http://www.madisonviolet.com/
http://www.celticconnections.com/