An enriching poignant concert with depth and traditional roots.
The opening concert for Celtic Connections 2016 celebrated the 50th anniversary of Scotland’s Traditional Music and Song Association. An early TMSA statement was to , champion “Scotland’s authentic tradition-bearers” against over-commercialism and dilution - to keep the thread of Scottish traditional music flowing and secure traditional song’s place in Scottish music.
The show began with a uplifting pipes of the National Youth Pipe band of Scotland. Along with Scottish stars and greats of the Scottish music scene - Barbara Dickson, Sheena Wellington, Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham - there were seven unaccompanied traditional songs - performed by Adam McNaughton, Thomas McCarthy, Arthur Johnston, Brain Miller, Pete Shepherd, Tom Spiers, Arthur Watson, Jim Taylor, Joe Aitkin, Geordie Murison, Jimmy Hutchison.
|National Youth Pipe band of Scotland
There was also up-and-coming new stars - the haunting Gaelic singer Misha Macpherson, a talented Feis Rois, memorable singer Shona Donaldson, story-telling American Rayna Gilbert, popular musician Kris Drever and the show's musical director Siohban Miller.
With such a high calibre of performers it is hard to select only a few highlights. The concert ended well on several high notes with Sheena Wellingtons' A Mans a Man,the poignant fiddle of Aly Bain and a powerful Malinky. For the rousing finale led by political singer Arthur Johnstone and with all the singers onstage, we were treated to Hamish Henderson's Freedom Come All Ye.
Out in the concert hall foyer were wonderful models of three stalwarts of Scottish traditional music scene - Davy Stewart, Hamish Henderson, Sheila Stewart.
I thought more stories and information on the TSMA, songs and singers would have worked well, while the show was well compared.
While the concert was heavily about the traditions, it also embraced the future. A very special motion to a top quality house band - Euan Burton, Anna Massie, Aaron Jones, Tom Gibbs, John Blease and Megan Henderson.
There was a mention of the Land Reform Bills before the Scottish parliament - so that our land can be inhabited the way Norway is. I thought how wonderful that people feel they can express how they feel about things without fear...
Celtic Connections will showcase some of the worlds leading trad, folk and world music artists. Oh I do miss these kinds of gigs!