Showing posts with label anniversary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anniversary. Show all posts

Thursday 29 February 2024

Dougie MacLean’s intimate concert Celtic Connections 2024

An intimate evening of songs, chat, drums and pipes, through his tunes and songs with Dougie’s relaxed charm and banter - as he explored his Songbook of his 50 years in the music business. Maclean began the evening solo with some of his insightful songs  - All Who Wander, and with guitarist Tim Edey, on his songs Broken Wings and Wild and Windy Night. He always enjoys on many songs to encourage the audience to sing his sing-able choruses.

He was then joined on stage by a wealth of musical talent, that he has worked with over the years - with 
Hannah Fisher (fiddle) Gordon MacLean (double bass) and Sorren MacLean (guitar), Jamie MacLean (percussion) for several songs – Shadow of the MountainPabay More, Rocket to the Moon, Stolen and The Gael. Accordionist Pete Garnett performed on Talking With My Father, Charlotte and Hide in the Wind. He performed a poignant Not Lie Down with accomplished violinist Greg Lawson.

There were several moving moments over those fellow musicians he’s lost along the way, with songs such as They Hide in the Wind – when he was joined by the considerable talent of Ross Ainslie on whistle and bagpipes. He was also backed by Alan Sutherland on piano for Mists of Time and Hide in the Wind.

Dougie spoke of his grandfather, who spoke Gaelic, but he was told his native language was embarrassing, and a dead language. He remembered his grandfather in the evenings occasionally singing the beautiful Gaelic songs, when tears would run down his face. He said it is sad to loose a language and all the poetry and songs of that language. Dougie then sang a moving 
Its been Stolen From Me – also backed by Ross Ainslie, as well as the impact of pipers and drummers from the Glasgow Piping centre.

For the concert climax the Dougie played violin on his dramatic tune The Gael from the film The Last of the Mohicans, backed by the Pipes and Drums.

After Dougie solo sang his positive song This Love Will Carry Me. Of course no Dougie MacLean concert is complete without his iconic song Caledonia – which has become one of our unofficial Scots anthems and is often played at weddings and other significant occasions. The concert was a celebration of one of Scotland’s songwriting legends. Many of his songs are highly emotional, connecting and uplifting. Songs of nostalgia, resilience and hope.


Dougie was also joined by musicians Chris Agnew on acoustic bass, and Ali Fergusson on electric guitar on Turning Away, Hide in the Wind, The Gael and Caledonia. And by Chris Smith on percussion, and David Duncan on harmonica, on Turning Away, Thundering In and Caledonia.

**SONGS   All Who Wander, Broken Wings, Shadow of the Mountain, Talking with My Father, Rocket to the Moon, Mists of Time, Thundering In, Turning Away, Till Tomorrow, Pabay More, Charlotte, Not Lie Down, Wild and Windy Night, Hide in the Wind, Stolen From Me, The Gael, This Love will Carry Me, Caledonia, 

He has received three prestigious Tartan Clef Awards, a place in the Scottish Music Hall of Fame, a Lifetime Achievement Award from BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, an Honorary Doctorate and an OBE! “ 


Review & Photos Pauline Keightley -

Tuesday 25 October 2022

Celtic Connections 30th Anniversary Festival 2023!

Phil Cunningham, Aly Bain, Jerry Douglas

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

Celtic Connections is one of the world’s largest winter festival that celebrates roots, folk and world music. Celtic Connections began in 1994, when it offered 66 events at one venue. Since then it’s grown in adventurousness, experimenting and diversity each year and now offers thousands of events in locations across Glasgow.

Opening Concert will celebrate the festival with artists who’ve featured over the years, along with new folk talent - reflecting Celtic Connections' multi-generational breadth, its Internationalism and collaborative, cross-genre spirit. And includes Karine PolwartSierra HullBascoPeat & DieselTRIPFergus McCreadie & Matt CarmichaelMaeve GilchristRachel Sermanni and more.

With the Big Band, originally conceived 2021 digital festival’s Opening Night - Patsy ReidGraham MackenzieLaura WilkieMichael McGoldrickHannah FisherRoss AinslieAnna Massie, Alyn CoskerJames MackintoshDuncan Lyall and Sorren Maclean, along with guests.

Dance. World premiere of Moving Cloud – a collaboration of contemporary dance and traditional music with a new score by Celtic Connections and Scottish Dance Theatre led by Artistic Director Joan Clevillé  with TRIP, SianGreg Lawson and Alice Allen

**PLUS festival FAVOURITES - Irish-American Cherish the Ladies, Scots strings Blazin’ Fiddles, trad fusion powerhouse Treacherous Orchestra, Colin Hay, of Australia’s Grammy-winning Men at Work.. 

The Irish Chamber OrchestraRóisín ReImagined , with award-winning singer Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh’s renditions of classic sean nós songs, of richly ornamented songs. The (SCO) Scottish Chamber Orchestra returns with Chris Stout (fiddle) and Catriona McKay (Clarsach) (SCO) Scottish Chamber Orchestra returns with Chris Stout (fiddle) and Catriona McKay (Clarsach).African and Gaelic music with Malian’s Trio Da Kali with Gaelic singers Jenna Cummings and Kim Carnie. 

Collaborations. Piper Ross Ainslie, and American Old-Time and roots musician Dirk PowellOrchestral Qawwali will showcase a unique collaboration. The Song Circle show with vocals of Mary Chapin CarpenterKarine Polwart, Julie Fowlis and Robert Vincent at The Theatre Royal.

Festival highlight 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. House band of top Celtic and Americana roots 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.


Gaelic. Scottish folk band Breabach album Fàs–meaning ‘growth’, inspired by the natural environment of ScotlandGaelic singer of the Year at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Award the haunting vocals of Kim Carnie –new album And So We Gather,

Plus live mic at the Danny Kyle stage the Late Sessions and Folk club and much more. 

Showcase Scotland 2023 will see Brittany showcased, to advance opportunities, along with Wales, to celebrates the folk traditions of two of Scotland’s closest Celtic cousins. 

**Tickets for Celtic Connections 2023 will be available from 10am on Wednesday 12th October at

Rachel Sermanni

Sarah Jarosz

Donald Shaw, Creative Producer for Celtic Connections, said: “Our 30th anniversary is a hugely important moment for the festival, especially considering the last couple of years. We will, of course, be paying homage to the musicians, bands and artists who have contributed, supported and inspired the festival over the last three decades, but importantly this is also a moment to look to the future. The last two years have been incredibly tough for so many musicians and the live entertainment industry in general, so Celtic Connections 2023 is an opportunity to commemorate how far the festival and the Scottish music scene has come, and to also celebrate the fact that we are still here. 

“Celtic Connections is still showcasing some of the best music Scotland and the world has to offer, established and emerging musicians are still here creating and performing, audiences are still here enjoying the cultural exponents of our country and other nations  from across the world. Sharing our music and our arts is a vital part of our human existence, connecting us and enriching lives, and we have missed that. I can’t wait to revel in a live festival once again and celebrate the resilience and the longevity of our sector.”

Wednesday 30 June 2021

50th Anniversary of Joni Mitchell’s Blue album



Hard to believe, where does time go! I have to name Joni and this album as probably my biggest musical influence, how I’d love to have seen her live!


First she colours her words with such vivid and honest imagery – with shades not only of blue but every other colour in-between.  

 I am a lonely painter, I live in a box of paints, 


 I’d play her Both Sides Now on piano. There are only a few albums you come back to over and over – where the songs linger and pull you back.  

So I grew up on Joni Mitchell.  Her Voice. Well actually I first learnt to play and sing the stage musicals and Burns songs.  I can't remember when I first heard Joni's pure and touching voice but her personal and intimate songs became ingrained in my head, in particular Both Sides Now. 

Her dreams and passion took me skyward when I was young and the sands of time stood still for those moments. She sang of her sorrows and offered us a voice. Most memorable was her pure soaring voice. She wrote of loss, of heartache and love with more creative insights than I'd heard before.  I remember the deep blue colours on her 'Blue' album sleeve. I bought the sheet music and played it often. Like Dylan some of her lyrics are so true we never forget them.  For me Joni is at her best when her songs are lost in those confessional deeply felt emotions.  

Tuesday 30 March 2021

First Lockdown anniversary Day of Reflection

We are alone with our thoughts and also not alone. We are all in this together.  The world has closed in on us.  Its been hard to comprehend the scale of this deadly virus, or where it all will lead us.  

Its been an opportunity too, to reassess what really matters in our lives. The daily walks have helped a great deal and reconnecting and appreciating nature in a new way, as we never did before. There’s been the pain of missing family and the distance between us, and wondering when we can meet again. If there will be a day we can hug again.


There’s been the zoom chats to keep contact alive. There’s been anger at the stupidity and incompetence of leaders, who pretend they are following the science.

And we are not alone we know the entire world is suffering and fighting this virus too. We must figure it together.

Richard Holloway speech to Scottish Parliament

He quoted Albert Camus -There are more things to admire than despair over. He expressed his gratitude for all the healers – the Doctors and nurses and scientists and care workers, who refused to bow to Covid. Gratitude for those who have guided us through the darkest days.

Another virus is political authoritarianism, which is spreading across the world and has killed the life of freedom (Isaac Berlin) Disagreements are vital – they are rival versions of good, allowing disagreements to keep us free. Democracy is hard, he said and he expressed gratitude to the Scottish parliament for allowing disagreements to flourish. 



There are many people we need to thank – Nicola Sturgeon and her hard work and consistent messaging that kept us going every day. The health adviser, particularly Jason Leith and Linda Bauld

Those who kept vital services going, particularly the health workers who were often stretched beyond their very limits. 

The scientists who strove so hard to develop safe vaccines. And particularly the children and young people who’ve had their lives disrupted. 

Empty Princes street Edinburgh

Some of us have suffered more than others. And we must remember all who have lost loved ones and not be numb to the dreadful death totals – with the UK the highest number.


We have become numb to certain feelings, not in a good way: because we must learn lessons for the future. At times we may feel in a time loop! We must understand its now essential to reduce pollution, reduce dairy and meat intake, reduce unnecessary travel, and buy local. And understand economic growth is not all its made up to be. There are other routes to leading productive and healthy lives. We must be prepared for any future pandemic (and there will be one) – and next time take swift action which protect lives and economies - and shut borders. 

People put rainbows and other messages in their front windows. 

One of the best memories from the first Lockdown last year was the wonderful clear air, the quiet skies, less noise pollution and the perfect blossom. I thought, this was what the world was like once, before all the pollution, the unnecessary air travel, the dirty chemicals and pesticides spewed into our rivers, the fumes that kill in our air. Instead we were able to hear the enriching bird song.



Friday 17 April 2020

Events for 700 Anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath

The  Declaration is the first statement in history to define the democratic rights of people and nations. A great moral declaration: that the people are sovereign. A political document. It was written by a number of aristocrats, lairds and senior clerics who pleaded for protection from English aggression. The declaration was a letter to the Pope to recognise Scotland and Robert the Bruce. It states that sovereignty lies with the Scottish people, and that they should elect their sovereign – that the freedom of the kingdom is more important than the person. 

- Wee Ginger dug on the Declaration of Arbroath anniversary, National newspaper -

- GRIT orchestra The Declaration compositions, led by Greg Lawson

- RADIO SCOTLAND – Billy Kay -

**Arbroath FILM with Leslie Riddoch
New film “Declaration; the letter of liberty”, 
It’s the product of an amazing Covid-imposed online collaboration between filmmaker @cherlieboy, composer Patrick Doyle and myself. Our aim is to make sure the 700th anniversary of Scotland’s most famous historic document is not forgotten. -

Friday 13 January 2017


Blazin Fiddles

Has been a turbulent, insane, divisive and blind year and full of losses too. The words in 2016 were – fake news, post truth, we don’t know – if the news doesn’t know anymore?

Supposedly we voted in 2014 for ‘the security and safety’ of an ‘equal’ partnership with Westminster' and greater Devolution??  Mmm? As MP Mhairi Black writes - 'they ask the Scottish parliament to drive a car with only the use of the indicators. '

And Independence dreams…..
Some fearful unionists supporters put the ‘Daily Star’ on top of the independence supporting ‘National’ newspaper every day! In the vain hope that any independence hopes will simply fade away!. I like to hope in the end truth can prevail and the reality of the false lies (not promises at all) from the false Westminster wake the doubters up. 
Scotland is very defiantly a real country, with very real and very different aspirations to those of England.  In fact Scotland has a long and proud history. I hope doubters can see this and that the best hopes for Scotland’s future lie in independence in Europe. 

Just as well the Westminster elites and those bumbling idiots such as Boris and Davis are "taking back control for us all" - **phew **- I was worried there are a while too? A lot of the 'posh' folks are champagne socialists - one rule for meself, another for the plebs. My motto is - no matter if you are a no or yes, or remain or leave in these FAKE referendums – we need to 'de-centralise the UK governments' (which have been over-centralised ever since the great wars last century). And that would be really taking back control!

7 is one of my lucky numbers so I am hoping for some magic in 2017!. Things can be better if we remember first our shared humanity – and our interconnectedness – that has made us what we are.

I believe we need more Education on Modern studies and Philosophy (rather than out-dated religions that don't run countries anymore, that is why at the time of Union 1707 Scotland kept the Kirk as religions used to run countries) urgently these days to counteract all the nonsense Fake News, Post Truth and online propaganda. We have a new US President elected on sensational Twitter posts and an unelected UK PM steering this strange exit to some unknown destination. What is going on?

That is one big reason I focus on music, art and poetry – for they express what unites us and more – the Arts express our higher callings. This used to be religion. I’m not religious but I do believe in that magic at a top class gig when everyone is singing and everyone is believing. This sustains us and feeds our soul. Some of us have forgotten though….
Chieftians concert for the Easter Rising Celtic Connections 2016

2017 will be a Year of Anniversaries…..

 500 years – Martin Luther Reformation
100 years - Finland’s’ Independence
100 years – Russian Revolution
150 years - Canadian independence

Also ironically the 60 year anniversary of the Treaty of Rome;
And the 70 year anniversary of the Edinburgh International festival.

PS  It is well worth watching this recording of Nicola Sturgeon's speech to Irish Senate (Seanad Eireann) and the Senates questions and responses after. Not sure I saw this mentioned on the BBC news!??


Friday 27 February 2015

King Tuts 25 YEARS!

Last night Glasgow's iconic King Tuts venue celebrated their 25th anniversary. The venue is known as the best small venue. (holds around 300).

I have enjoyed some of my favorite gigs ever there. – many fun bands and singer songwriters over the years.  

Pearl and the Puppets

Emeli Sande played at King Tuts in 2010, where I met her and had a nice chat at her sound check, it was such an honour to chat about her music then. She was very petite and focused on her music. I never imagined one day she would play the Royal Albert hall though I knew expectations were high for her even then.

Many now famous bands over these years have played here – such as The Killers, Oasis, Poalo Nutini and many others.

Emeli Sande 2011

Another thrill also in 2013 was when my son's band, Viking Galaxy, played here!

Congratulations to King Tuts!   -