Showing posts with label edinburgh festival. Show all posts
Showing posts with label edinburgh festival. Show all posts

Saturday 31 December 2016

Photography and Music December 2016

enjoying late sun on the south bank
MUSIC 2016
It’s been an honour to get to know some of the great Scottish folk musicians and writers of today – Dick Gaughan, Rab Noakes, Karine Polwart, Kris Drever.
Rab Noakes plays a home gig

This year I attended a house party gig for the incomparable Rab Noakes and it was good to chat and hear him perform in a more informal relaxed setting. This year at Celtic Connections 2016, I enjoyed the concerts of The Chieftains, Lucinda Williams, Rachel Sermanni, Siobhan Wilson and especially the fun ceilidh bands of Rura and Blazin Fiddles. As usual the highlight was the classy accomplished musicianship of the Transatlantic band with the wonderful singers Rhiannon Giddens and Cara Dillon this year.
At Edinburgh festival in 2016 it was a thrill to hear Alan Cumming perform his inimitable interpretations of songs. I enjoyed my talks at the EIBF and some of the top authors and musicians this year included -  Melvun Bragg Paul Mason, Erica Jong, Roddie Woomble, Alan Taylor, Tom Devine, Billy Bragg, Wilko Johnstone.

Emeli Sande returns
Exciting New Music 2016 - 
Christine and the Queens. The biggest new artist on the scene, made an impression on the Jools Holland show. She mixes movement, rhythm, music and mood to great effect. Impressive.
Blue Rose Code – Folk blues singer songwriter from Edinburgh. I saw him this year at Milngavie folk club and was mightily impressed and I have enjoyed his album very much – classic songs and energetic blues rhythm guitar and voice.

Emeli Sande returned with a wonderful second album Long Live the Angels. I was so honoured to take photos at her Albert hall concert in 2012. I saw her return to the Oran Mor Glasgow – I first heard her here in 2007. Loving her new track Breathing Underwater.

Some top albums this year too from Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool: Coldplay, Mumford, Muse, Adele, Ellie Goulding, Chvrches, Mark Ronson, Disclosure.
Sadly there has been in 2016, the deaths of many iconic musicians – Leonard Cohen, Prince, George Michael and David Bowie. Sadly the most successful architect ever Zaha Hadid and one of the most successful record producers ever, George Martin. In 1962 he started working with and unknown band, the Beatles, with innovative music productions.
Karine Polwart
At Celtic 2017, they will focus on the half of the population often ignored – the women’s voices with the singers and musicians. The women care about home, children and mother earth. There is a story of a south American tribe where the women tell the men to STOP.

Blazin Fiddles

With music I feel at home. It was the one safe happy place when I was a child. When I played piano, the rest of the world seemed to disappear and make sense. When I played piano and sang I felt connected to those positive things in life - the sunshine days, the happy memories. I felt good about myself in a world that was often dark and full of despair it seemed.  When my fingers learned to play Bach and Mozart a whole other dimension opened up, as if I was on some small way connected to those genius artists and transported to far away shores...  I travelled with folk artists and learned the shared joy of harmony singing and fiddlers rhythms.  And I have never looked back....  

Paul Simon said that he was inspired by African skies and African rhythms, but the anti-apartied forces shunned his musical collaborations for his amazing Graceland album 91986)
Simon was reaching out through his music.  
Yet now all these many years later we see that the unison of Simon's American voice along with African voices helped to offer a unifying hope that anything was possible. That the voices of fear and hatred might be overcome by the melodies and rhythms that we all understand and that unite us.

Some of us suffer great insecurities, and more than anything we need those voices of hope. Simon's journey was about music not politics. My belief was once a bright shiny thing... We all have our ingrained insecurities and they may lead to great art or they may lead to terrible despairs and fears.
Blue Rose Code

**The big Issues that Really Matter -  Scottish Land Reform, Greener energy, (only at 32% just now!), Child poverty, Social Care.  To hide the Tories failings on the economy and more – they use Brexit as smokescreens, instead of focusing on what really matters. 

They are about money and the Unionist press raining down on us.
According to Gordon McIntyre CEO business Scotland, perhaps only 10% of the population research, read and are knowledgeable about politics – the rest look for comfort and that’s why these maverick appeal, such as Farage or Donald Trump. The trouble is these opportunists don’t know how to fix anything.

**HAPPY NEW YEAR**!  to all who read my 'Scottish Arts and Music blogs' and posts here! 

2016 has been a rather scary, tumultuous year! Here's to ALL the independent, honest voices in 2017..Lennon, Dylan, Tony Benn, Mhairi Black,...And listening to ALL sides and not those echo chambers!. Yes I do read the Sunday Times and watch Question Time... even though it hurts at times!  
It's been a year of tremendous times personally and also of sad difficulties - that's life as they say!

My favourite Christmas song is by John Lennon, So This is Christmas - To all those masters of war, including those in the arms trade, Dylan wrote of - give peace a chance.. There is more to living than treasure chests. . In Karachi the wells are dry, in the Antarctic polar bears are dying … if we don’t’ care about our planet – then what do we care about. Mr Trump , please listen? 

Back in 2014 many of us dared to dream there could be a better, more productive, fairer, greener SCOTLAND. With all these voices of fear we need more than ever voices of our shared humanity of shared hopes.  Yes, we need angels, voices fo freedom, informed thought, more than ever.
At Celtic Connections in January 2017 we will hear many women musicians’ voices...I look forward to it!

enjoying late sun on the south bank

**My Photography 2016**
I am continually inspired by B & W images and by my favourite portrait photographers. Sometimes colour works better though and some images just don’t translate into B & W.  But for me the B & W photography has more impact if you can capture enough subtle tones and contrast.

Sunday 11 September 2016

Alan Cumming Sang 'Sappy Songs' at the Hub

The Seductive charmer!

Cumming has come out the other side – and used the tragedies as his strength.
 The Edinburgh Hub venue was set for a Late night Cabaret show with soft lights and drinks tables encircling the stage. The consummate performer, his first dramatic song Somewhere Only We know and Annie Lennox’s Why, set the tone for an evening of high drama with strong passions and a voice of character, sincerity and depth. His story ranged from deep tragedy to comedy relief, good humour and the fun of being on stage.

His song choices expressed the rich variety of his life, from showbiz nights with Liza Minnelli to his drama school days in Glasgow.  Some songs were from our most famous, inspired divas, others were from artistic and less well known men!

 He sang Miley Cyrus song The Climb, Adele’s Someone Like You, Goodnight Saigon, Mother Glasgow and other musical numbers. Also Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know, Lady Gaga’s Edge of Glory, Kate Perry’s Firework. He said they were actually all one song!  He was well accompanied by a 3-piece band, with cello, piano and drums.

He sang Michael Marra’s song, Mother Glasgow, before which he explained Scottish words to his diverse audience. He also sang a French and a German song

Interspersed with his songs, were tales of his show biz life – of growing up in Aberfeldy, of Glasgow and his rocky family life.
He spoke of his maternal grandfather Tommy Darling, who had been a war hero, suffered PTSD disorder and died tragically in  the Caribbean, where he had a street named after him. He told fondly of these memories and said he felt he owed a great deal to his mother and to her father.

In 2015 he wrote a moving autobiography entitled, Not My Father’s Son, and tonight the pain of his bullying father was expressed with torn emotions in the Billy Joel song, Dinner at Eight.
Cumming spoke of how he began performing in Musselburgh. Thirty two years ago he played Victor and Barry show at the Fringe when he was a drama student ;Of The Café Royal NY and the Cabaret Show Broadway and of Studio 54 in1998.

He sang with drama, passions, full on emotion and sincerity, even Scottish shyness at times, with his neon sign CLUB CUMMING flashing behind him. Each song told its own vivid story. Liza told him to think of ‘every song as a play', and to have both show business and authenticity' - no mean feat. When he performed 8 shows a week he started Club Cumming in his dressing room and that is where we were tonight at those after show parties.

So where was the song for his mother? In the last song about all those special ladies and also all through the set perhaps? He spoke and sang of the importance of how we all connect – his tattoo says ONLY CONNECT, from the book Howards End. He sang for all the broken souls. 
Cumming at Edinburgh book festival

Sunday 9 August 2015

Edinburgh festival 2015!

The Edinburgh Fringe and the official Edinburgh International festival have started now in August and I look forward to going over for my yearly visit soon - to enjoy the fun buzz and entertainment of the high street, the shows, exhibitions and much much more…
I grew up in with Edinburgh festival and looked on it as a normal event – with no idea until I was older that it was such a massive festival attracting visitors worldwide.

The mix of shows, the arts festival and mostly the Edinburgh International book festival - which hosts the many respected writers; novelists, poets, journalists, comedians, musicians, illustrators and children’s authors and more. Edinburgh festival will be as big and bold as ever! Edinburgh is my hometown so I always enjoy visiting its cobbled streets and strong sense of its historic and cultural past. 
The festival is brilliant, sassy, innovative, creative, all encompassing, extreme, highly visual - from the highest quality choral evening, the silliest fringe show, the thrill of scary acrobatics, informed talks, the daftest comedy to the beauty of singing or dance. Check out reviews Scotsman.

Monday 26 November 2012

Wasted Love

Award winning Fringe musical for Best Lyrics – Wasted Love was written by the Kielty brothers John and Gerry. The show was performed at the Actors church Covent garden on November 25th 2012.

The Kieltys were previously known as The Martians, and they used to busk on Edinburgh High street during the festival and perform their comedy routines with Gerry distinctive high voice.  They then won the Cameron Mackintosh prize for best new musical in 2006 for the musical The Sundowe which was performed at Eden Court theatre in Inverness..

John Kielty is an actor and writer and he has performed in shows at the Lyceum theatre Edinburgh.

John Kielty

Martians Edinburgh high street