Showing posts with label aly bain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aly bain. Show all posts

Wednesday 31 May 2023

Aly Bain’s soaring Shetland fiddle


I’ve been taking photos at Celtic Connections Transatlantic Sessions since 2008, and one of the highlights is the soaring fiddle of Aly Bian. He plays with an ease and grace that makes it all look effortless -  which is genius in itself.




As a child Aly liked the shape of the violin and started lessons at age eleven when he sat on the knee of his teacher. He was a protégé of Tom Anderson and of the passing on the heritage of Shetlands.

 

Eventually he left for Glasgow and where he played radio Glasgow and played little clubs

He uses a driven bow. Aly play a Scandinavian fiddle made by Adolf springer – which is “sweet and more like a voice”.

 


Aly has recorded 11 albums with Phil Cunningham, with whom he continues to tour extensively. In 2023, he has been recording with Eric Clapton at Abbey Road - 




The Transatlantic Sessions – Since 2008, Aly, along with Dubro master Jerry Douglas, has led the ever more popular Transatlantic sessions as the finale of the major winter festival, Glasgow’s Celtic connections. Hosting many iconic musicians as well as popular Scots Gaelic singers, and American country singers.

 

1960s Aly played with several bands and was in great demand – The HUMBELBUMS, MIKE WHELLANS, BOYS of THE LOUGH. 


Sunday 19 February 2023

Transatlantic Sessions 2023

 



The Transatlantic Sessions 2023 celebrated its 20th year with its familiar and successful format – like a warm comfort blanket – which is one of the highlights of cc festivals final weekend. Afterwards the TS goes on tour to six UK venues. The strength of the sessions concerts is the unique quality of the folk, roots band that is fronted by a range of talented solo performers. They set the stage as a relaxed living room to capture that live folk essence.


This year’s sessions hosted its eclectic and diverse line up with firstly - Canadian folk royalty, singer songwriter Martha Wainwright, who recently released her fifth album Love Will Be Reborn, as well as her autobiography 'No Regrets.' She sang a poignant 'Love Will Be Reborn' and later more joyous songs with her guitar. She is an accomplished and engrossing performer, with her contemplative vocal nuances. 


Martha Wainwright


Karen Matheson

It is always good to see new talent coming through, tonight with Americans folk/ blues singer Amythyst Kiah and accomplished roots musicians, Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves: their debut album earned them the Independent Music Awards “Best Bluegrass Album.” Amythyst impressed with her strong soul voice: her first album in 2022, Wary + Strange, saw her opening for The Who. 

Amethyst Kiah

                              


Liam O Maonial


Irish musician Liam Ó Maonlai, frontman of Hothouse Flowers, displayed his virtuosity and range on both piano and vocals. His song ‘Worry Not’ had shades of John Marty’s folk blues. Revered Capercaillie vocalist, Scots Gaelic singer  Karen Matheson sang with her tender and pure voice ‘’I will Set my Ship in Order.’ In 2021 she released her album Still Time, with both traditional and contemporary songs. While dubro master Jerry Douglas performed a soaring George Harrison’s ‘My Guitar Gently Weeps ` and the finale of ever popular reels was uplifting.

Crucially the TS concert is led by the synergy between Aly Bain and Jerry Douglas, backed by the quality Scots, Irish and American musicians. As well as the tight dynamism of composers Phil Cunningham, John McCusker, Michael McGoldrick and Donald Shaw.

Jerry Douglas
John Doyle

This was my 14th TS concert, and I did miss some of the American musicians who are often to the right of musical directors Jerry Douglas and Al Bain - Russ Barenburg, Tim O’Brian, Darrell Scott and others. I met audience members who’d travelled a distance to be part of the Celtic connections festivals – from Ireland and the US. A truly international, open and outward-looking musical celebration, as well as building on the Celtic musical traditions.

Many Americans celebrate their Scots Irish, connections – (with 17 Scots Irish of the 44 US presidents). My own background is Scots, Irish too, and the history of religious strife over these islands (and Europe!) is very confusing – even for scholars! Many left Europe for the Americas for freedoms, and took their heritage and religion with them. And also importantly, enlightened thought and freedom of thought, which we so value today. America was and is a melting pot of many diverse cultures, which led to a musical blending with travellers up the Mississippi river from New Orleans, and the Appalachian mountains – from Nashville to Chicago, to New York to Los Angeles. I’ve been on those road trips too, years back. 

Music is one of the most powerful forces to bring us all together. Our culture is very much NOT an extra, it’s the roots and future of who we are, and leads politics. It offers all a creative voice. There’s an artists in all of us. 

The Transatlantic band of both Celtic and Americana roots talent, includes Phil Cunningham, John Doyle, Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker, Donald Shaw, James Mackintosh and Daniel Kimbro.


Wednesday 18 January 2023

CELTIC CONNECTIONS OPENS!

 

Alongside the usual varied musical selection, visitors can enjoy ceilidhs, workshops, talks, exhibitions and more over the 18 days.

The festival will run from Thursday 19 January to Sunday 5 February 2023. Follow the conversation   at @ccfest.

Europe’s premier winter music festival, Celtic Connections opens in Glasgow today, Thursday 19th January, showcasing performances from some of Scotland and the world’s brightest emerging musical talent alongside stalwarts of the scene and returning favourites, and runs to Sunday 5th February. Thousands of musicians from across the world - USA, Ireland, Mali, Morocco, will perform across Glasgow over its two weeks as it celebrates 30 years of pushing the boundaries of traditional folk, roots, Americana, jazz, soul and world music.

With thousands of visitors passing through the doors of Celtic Connections each year, the festival’s contribution over the last three decades to Scotland’s cultural landscape and international reputation, and the Glasgow economy during the dark month of January, cannot be understated. Since the festival’s inception in 1994, the number of events staged at Celtic Connections has quadrupled and the number of venues has grown 25-fold. 

Education program. Since its learning programme was established in 1999, more than 200,000 children and young people have taken part in its cultural events. This year sees the return of its educational arm in earnest, with three free school concerts and 44 workshops set to be delivered to school children throughout Glasgow.

 

The festival’s legacy for championing emerging talent with the much-loved Danny Kyle Open Stage and has showcased 146 finalists comprising 440 artists and the festival’s New Voices strand, which allows young musicians to develop and perform brand new compositions, will this year top 76 stunning commissions. Celtic Connections is also supported by a team of 100 volunteers.



**Tonight’s 30
th opening concert Glasgow Royal Concert Hall will celebrate Celtic Connections’ rich history with artists who have featured over the last three decades. The once-in-a-lifetime line up includes Basco, Duncan Chisholm, Fergus McCreadie and Matt Carmichael, Karine Polwart, Kathleen MacInnes, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Maeve Gilchris, Peat & Diesel, Rachel Sermanni, Sierra HullScottish Dance TheatreTRIP, and The National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland.  They are joined by a special big band, originally brought together for the 2021 digital opening night - Duncan LyallSorren MacleanFraser FifieldPatsy ReidGraham MacKenzieLaura WilkieMichael McGoldrickHannah FisherRoss AinslieAnna MassieGreg Lawson,Alice AllenAlyn CoskerJames Mackintosh.

Mercury-nominated jazz pianist and Scottish Album of the Year Fergus McCreadie and acclaimed harpist Maeve Gilchrist team up with Mr McFall’s String Quartet for a performance at The Mackintosh Church, while Ian Carr & The Various Artists and Madeleine Stewart Trio at Drygate Brewery.

This weekend’s packed schedule includes festivals legends Saltfishforty along with award-winning Scandinavian band BascoTreacherous Orchestra, alongside VÍÍK, who combine Scandinavian song tradition, progressive jazz and alternative rock. Colonel Mustard and The Dijon 5 , and the legendary John McCusker will celebrate 30 years with a host of special guests at City Halls.

*Highlights  include - Shetland musicians Jenna Reid and Harris Playfair, celebrating the upcoming release of their long-awaited duo record; When Mountains Meet / Jub Milain Pahaar: A musical adventure from Scotland to Pakistan combines Scottish and South Asian influenced music, storytelling, and striking visual images to recount the true story of Anne Wood as she sets forth on a voyage from the Scottish Highlands to the Himalayas.

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall’s Strathclyde Suite will host dementia-friendly concerts, with Josie Duncan and Owen Sinclair, and Robyn Stapleton and Claire Hastings showcasing the power of music and its ability to kick-start the brain and unlock memories. 

Afro Celtic Connections - Saint Luke’s play host to Rise Kagona, with lead guitarist of the Zimbabwean band The Bhundu Boys, Diwan, who bring an exuberant fusion of funky mbalax and Afrobeat grooves, with ska, rock and Senegalese soul led by Senegalese singer Samba Sene, and Chief Cheb, a celebrated African philosopher, poet storyteller and teacher.

Tramway will host the world premiere of Moving Cloud – a collaboration of contemporary dance and traditional music created by Celtic Connections and Scottish Dance Theatre, with a new score performed by a 14-piece folk ensemble  with TRIP and Sian along with Greg Lawson and Alice Allen

Celtic Odyssée perform atz Glasgow Royal Concert Hall along with the Festival Interceltique de Lorient, with 18 artists from the eight European Celtic nations coming together in a celebration of a shared heritage. Musical Director is Breton piper Ronan Le Bars, along with Denez Prigent (Brittany), Karen Matheson (Scotland), Karan Casey (Ireland), Cerys Hafana (Wales), Fransy Gonzàlez (Galicia), Sylvia Quesada (Asturias), Lauren Chandler (Cornwall), Finlay MacDonald (Scotland) and many more. They will share the stage with Scottish fiddle-led four-piece FARA, who will bring their unique mix of intricate fiddle harmonies and skilled storytelling.

Troubadour Jim Malcolm, trad singer Susie Malcolm, their daughter, Beth Malcolm, and fiddle legend Pete Clark will celebrate Burns Night with an evening of song at The National Piping Centre, while record label Last Night will host a show at Oran Mòr, celebrating three of the label's most recent successes: wojtek the bearSister John, and Album Club.

James Grant and The Hallelujah Strings will perform at the beautiful Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum this year, not once but twice, after a second date was added due to demand. Audiences will be treated to James’ signature rich vocals and outstanding guitar work, his incredible back catalogue performed alongside the Hallelujah Strings, a 14-piece string section led by Greg Lawson.

The festival will draw to a close on Sunday 5 February when the hotly contested BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year competition reaches its conclusion, while Transatlantic Sessions celebrates its 20th year of showcasing the shared traditions of Scotland, Ireland and the US, and the GRAMMY Award-winning Fantastic Negrito plays tracks from his new album, supported by talented Nashville-based singer-songwriter and performer Tommy Prine.  

Donald Shaw, Creative Producer for Celtic Connections, said: “Sharing our music and our arts is a vital part of our human existence – it allows us to feel rooted in place and connected to one another, enriching our lives in the process. Over the last 30 years, this is what Celtic Connections has always been about. As we take a moment to recognise and appreciate what we’ve managed to achieve over the last three decades, we go into this year’s festival with feelings of immense determination, pride and gratitude.

“As ever we’re incredibly excited to be welcoming people from across Scotland and the world to Glasgow to enjoy the very best in Celtic, folk, roots and world music. I know our musicians and everyone involved in the festival is ready to make this another incredibly special one in the calendar. With an incredible array of entertainment on offer, audiences can expect to be amazed wherever they find themselves across the city. It’s amazing how when the atmosphere in a venue is so warm and the music so restorative, you don’t notice the January rain or the wind outside.”

Bailie Annette Christie, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “The curtain rising on Celtic Connections’ showcase of outstanding musical talent from Scotland and all over the world, with its vibrant programme of wonderful live performances in our city’s venues, is always exciting.  And it’s a particularly special occasion this year as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the festival and acknowledge the huge contribution it has made over three decades to Glasgow’s rich cultural offer. 

“The richly deserved, exceptional reputation Celtic Connections has earned as Europe’s leading traditional music festival - and the event’s great importance to the city as a much-loved highlight that attracts thousands of visitors, enriching the lives of local, national and international audiences - is something that Glasgow takes great pride in. We are very much looking forward to welcoming everyone taking part in this year’s festival.”

Culture Secretary Angus Robertson said: “Celtic Connections shines a bright cultural light in the winter darkness and I’m delighted the Scottish Government is able to support this year’s 30th anniversary event. This year’s stunning line up of musicians reflects the huge amount of talent we have in Scotland and also the festival’s standing internationally as world-famous artists travel to Glasgow to take part in the celebrations.”

Tickets for Celtic Connections 2023 are available from www.celticconnections.com.

Sunday 15 January 2023

Celtic Connections 30th 2023!


Transatlantic Sessions
19th January – 5th February 2023.   @ccfest

Celtic Connections music festival returns this January with one of its most diverse and exciting programs.


The festival is one of the world’s largest winter festival celebrates roots, folk and world music returns this January for its uplifting warm music nights! With outstanding musicianship, challenging collaborations, innovative composers, alongside musical traditions and heritage, Gaelic song and famous orchestras.


1200 musicians will take to the stage for 300 events at more than 25 venues across the city, with shows spanning traditional folk, roots, Americana, jazz, soul and world music. 

Its good to see the new generations coming up and given a bigger platform at Celtic Connections. There is a growing confidence in Scotland’s arts and media, and its traditional music scene – which is world class. Celtic Connections plays an integral role as our major folk and roots festival the past 30 years. 

Violinist Duncan Chisholm - “We’re at a point now that is the most exciting, for traditional music here, that there has ever been. Our music is spinning off in all sorts of directions. It is definitely in a much better place than it was when cc started 30 years ago, and I think that is to do with the festival itself.”

The Opening Concert celebrates both past and new artists, international and local, collaborative and cross-genre spirit - with Karine PolwartSierra HullBascoPeat & DieselTRIPMaeve GilchristRachel Sermanni and Michael McGoldrickHannah FisherRoss AinslieAnna Massie, Alyn CoskerJames MackintoshDuncan Lyall and Sorren Maclean.


Duncan Chisholm
Aly Bain
Martha Wainwright


Transatlantic Sessions celebrate 20th Anniversary with all-star line-up - Martha Wainwright, Hothouse Flowers frontman Liam Ó Maonlai, Capercaillie’s Karen Matheson and Amethyst Kiah. Plus house band of Celtic & Americana talent – Phil Cunningham, John Dole, Michael McGodlrick, John McCusker, Donald Shaw, James Mackintosh and Daniel Kimbro and masters of ceremonies Sherland fiddler Aly Bain and dubro master Jerry Douglas.


PLUS favourites - Irish-American Cherish the Ladies, Scots strings Blazin’ Fiddles, trad fusion powerhouse Treacherous OrchestraColin Hay, Australia’s Grammy-winning Men at Work, Quebec’s Vent du Nord. Piper Ross Ainslie & American roots musician Dirk PowellThe Song Circle show with Mary Chapin CarpenterKarine Polwart, Julie Fowlis & Robert Vincent at Theatre Royal. Duncan Chisholm and Kim Carnie at the concert hall.


And the live mic at the Danny Kyle stage the Late Sessions and Folk club and much more. Showcase Scotland will see Brittany showcased, to advance opportunities, along with Wales, celebrates the folk traditions of two of Scotland’s closest Celtic cousins. 

The festival encourages both innovation and traditions, quality musicianship and authenticity. To follow a natural artistic path, to be genuine. Along with welcoming our important connections from elsewhere. Scots have been one of the most travelled nations and they took their music across the world – particularly to America. 


**Tickets for Celtic Connections 2023 at www.celticconnections.com.


Blazin Fiddles
Audience Old Fruitmarket



Braebach

 Donald Shaw, Creative Producer for Celtic Connections, said: “It feels remarkable that in just a matter of days the 30th edition of Celtic Connections will kick off in Glasgow, celebrating all genres of music, a variety of world cultures, and bringing communities together from across the globe. A huge amount of work and preparation has gone into this year’s festival; it is testament to the strength and tenacity of the Scottish music industry, which has successfully overcome an incredibly tough period."

“We are so appreciative of the musicians and artists who have contributed in all manner of ways to Celtic Connections over the past three decades, and we will pay homage to them throughout the 2023 festival, as well as looking forward towards a bright and hopeful future. We look forward to seeing venues full, artists doing what they do best and the musical community thriving right across the city in a week’s time.”

Sunday 31 January 2021

Transatlantic Sessions 2021 concert


Celebrates the rich and ever present exchange between the old world and the new. 

“Playing music together always feel natural with the old time States and the Scots Irish music”, artistic director Donald Shaw. And the power of quality live music to bring us all together. 

 

The TS band opened on the Scottish stage Concert hall Glasgow with upbeat tunes – 

Led by Shetland fiddler Aly Bain, Phil Cunningham, John McCusker, Michael McGoldrick, James Mackintosh and Donald Shaw along with guests Euan Burton, Julie Fowlis & Kris Drever. They wereoined by master dubro player Jerry Douglas remotely from America.

Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis charmed with her pure dulcet tones. Plus popular Orkney singer songwriter, Kris Drever performed his own compositions. 

 

On the American stage Nashville Tennessee : A welcome return of Tim O’Brien’s bluegrass songs. Plus Molly Tuttle, Allison Brown, Stuart Duncan and fun Irish guitarist John Doyle, sang to their friends across the ocean.

 

 I’ve been reading up recently on the Scots Americans. Americans often reference the Scotch-Irish and view this as a close connection. From the 1700s Scots Americans came in 3 Main Groups - The Highlander Scots, Lowlander Scots and the Scotch Irish. 

I lived ten years over in Ohio and Chicago Illinois. In Cincinnati at a German restaurant with singing waiters, they said they’d sing an Irish song 'Danny Boy' for my parents who were visiting from Scotland! I thought this odd at the time, but after reading this it makes sense. The connections between Ireland and Scotland are very strong ones! 

Bonny and braw Transatlantic Sessions concert, with the excellent, warm energy of Celtic and bluegrass tunes, and poignant moments too with an Irish piper lament, Gaelic song,  

 


Transatlantic Sessions 2019



My last live concert was at the Transatlantic Sessions 2020. As I left into the cold winter evening not knowing it would be my last for such a long time….. So a massive thanks to Celtic Connections and Glasgow Life for bringing all the musicians together to enrich our lives with these online concerts! 

 I’ve taken photos at the festival since 2008 and have a large archive of images on my website  - https://pkimage.co.uk/celticconnections

 

Transatlantic Sessions 2020

More than ever live music needs support. As a charity Celtic connections relies on support. 

Support Celtic Connections - https://www.celticconnections.com/support-us/


Saturday 22 February 2020

Transatlantic Sessions at Celtic Connections 2020



This concert is under the annual musical direction of Shetland fiddler Aly Bain and multi-Grammy-winning dobro maestro Jerry Douglas. This was the 17th live TS edition, begun in 2003. 

What a joyous, positive concert – exploring all the musical contrasts – from upbeat rhythms, perfect harmonies, poignant moments, quality vocals and top musicianship.  Guest artists this year included –  Sierra Hull, American bluegrass musician, Cahalen Morrison, American musician; Tommy Emmanuel, Australian guitarist; Cathy Jordan, Irish singer, lead singer with Dervish; Rachel Sermanni, Scottish singer songwriter.

This was the last TS with Scotland still in the EU. Sadly leaving the great European project has been a devastating experience of many Scots, who view our future in Europe. This gave the evening a surreal feel while I was glad of the distraction. 

All the performers were in good spirits for this their first TS concert this year and the concert hall was packed out with a palpable expectant buzz. This concert is one of the main highlights of the festival and Aly Bain spoke briefly, in his modest way, about how this major folk festival came about.

After some tunes, Cahalen Morrison from Mexico, impressed with powerful vocals; followed by the renowned Irish singer Cathy Jordan, who sang Sliabh Gallon Braes; American bluegrass guitarist and songwriter Sierra Hull was also excellent; after which Rachel Sermanni provided her poignant, clear voice on some of her own songs and also a moving interpretation of Robert Burn’s Ae Fond Kiss.  


There was also top musicianship from guitarist Russ Barenburg; the upbeat, fun energy of the accomplished playing of Australian Tommy Emmanuel; and the talented fiddler John McCusker and piper Michael McGoldlrick

Out of such a glittering line up, it is hard to pick only a few highlights and tonight all stood out!  I did particularly enjoy the moving harmonies of Cathy, Sierra and Rachel, on the song The Old Churchyard: the enthusiasm of Tommy Emmanuel; Phil Cunningham’s tune; Aly Bain’s Shetland fiddle; and the anchor of Jerry Douglas as host and dobro master. They say variety  is the spice of life – I believe celebrating our differences also makes us stronger. Long live such joyful collaborations! 



**The TS 2020 will be touring UK venues. 
The TS band:  Aly Bain, Jerry Douglas, Russ BarenbergPhil CunninghamJohn Doyle Michael McGoldrickJohn McCuskerDonald ShawDaniel Kimbro, James Mackintosh

**After there was a candle vigil on the Buchanan street steps beside the statue of first, first minister of our Scottish parliament, Donald Dewar, where we sang Auld Lang Syne to mark the sadness most Scots feels at being forced to leave the EU. To all our European friends – Keep a light on for Scotland. 


TS GLASGOW 
SET 1 
1. Federals (tunes)
2. My Girl's Heavy, Cahalen Morrison
3. Month of May, Cahalen Morrison  
4. Sliabh Gallon Braes. Cathy Jordan 
5. Tunes : Ack Sterling’s March & Aly Bain Tunes 
6. How Long, Sierra Hull
7. Lullaby, Sierra Hull  
8. Magic Foot , Russ Berenburg
9. Breathe Easy, Rachel Sermanni
10. Ae Fond Kiss, Rachel Sermanni
11. Keepin' It Reel, Tommy Emmanuel
12. I'm On Fire, Tommy Emmanuel

SET 2 
1. Halfway Home, Jerry Douglas & Tommy 
2. Fuel , Tommy Emmanuel, Phil Cunningham
3. Eggshells  Rachel Sermanni
4. What Can I Do, Rachel Sermanni 
5. March/Jigs & Reels, John McCusker and Mike McGoldrick
6. Beautifully Out of Place, Sierra Hull
7. Wealth of Sorrow,  Cahalen Morrison
8. Darling Clemmie,  Phil Cunningham, Mike McGoldrick 
9. Willie Taylor, John Doyle 
10. Sweet Roseanne, Cathy Jordan
11. All the Way Home  ENCORE 
12. Old Churchyard         Cathy/Rachel/Sierra
13. Tunes - Hector? Reconciliation?          Who Cares?
  
**After there was a candle vigil on the Buchanan street steps beside the statue of first, first minister of our Scottish parliament, Donald Dewar, where we sang Auld Lang Syne to mark the sadness most Scots feels at being forced to leave the EU. 
To all our European friends – Keep a light on for Scotland.