Showing posts with label opening concert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label opening concert. Show all posts

Friday 27 January 2023

Rachel Sermanni at Celtic Connections.


Rachel Sermanni sang her haunting lockdown song ‘Lay my heart’ at the Celtic Connections opening concert. One of Scotland's rising stars. 

Saturday 27 January 2018

Opening 25th Celtic Connections concert 2018

The Celtic Connections Opening concert was organised by pianist Dave Milligan, one of the 1994 performers, to celebrate the world biggest folk, world and roots festival 25th  Anniversary - with a packed line up of the quality and breadth offered by the festival. 
Maya Youssef

The line up included - *Pipers Turst; Saltfishforty who had flown down from Orkney, Siobhan Miller, sang Quiet Grave, winner of Traditional singer; Michael McGoldrick Trio; Louis Abbott, singer Admiral Fallow; Maya Youssef, from Syria; The String Sisters; Far Far from Ypres with Ian McCalman;
Second set – *Festival favourites Cherish the Ladies; Drever McCusker Woomble; Sian Shian, singers from Highlands and Islands; Sharat Chandra Srivastava and Gyan Singh; Sharon Shannon, Irish accordionist; Eddie Reader, Scottish singer; Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton. Scottish pipers.  
Sharon Shannon

Collaborations lift us higher – whether with the great artists of the past or in the present time with other creatives. One thing is the ‘buzz’ that surrounds a top festival; from the foot soldiers laying out the equipment, the seating, the lights, the sound equipment, the instruments; to the Press Office – reviewers, photographers, bloggers, the managers, organisers; to the session rehearsals, sound checks and the spontaneity. From behind the scenes to the front of house, all hope to perform at their best. Festivals are a celebration of the best talent.
Cherish the Ladies
Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton
**The house band included drums, double bass, brass and guitars. 
For the grand finale we were treated to the entire ensemble of musicians and singers onstage for a rousing jam session! 
Eddi Raeder

The concert had haunting harmonies, excellent band line ups and quality song interpretations.
This concert held the promise of the future and also some footsteps past. The festival gives young talent a stage and many spoke of how they got their starts here and how the festival brought them together.

Back in 1994, few could have foreseen how the festival would grow – it now has over 2000 artists, in 300 events at 20 venues over the 19 days of the festival. And includes Showcase Scotland, Danny Kyles open stage, late sessions, festival club, and more. I was able to shoot the entire concert and obtain a rich tapestry of this vibrant festival.

Congratulations to director Donald Shaw and the many who work to pull the festival together! To delve the traditions and push the boundaries.

Far Far from Ypres

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Opening concert 'Carrying the Stream' at Celtic Connections 2016

Siohban Miller

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.  
Adam McNaughton
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!   

Sunday 18 January 2015

Martyn Bennett’s GRIT, Connections Connections 2015

We were treated to an outstanding Celtic Connections Opening Concert - 'Nae Regrets'
Highly innovative. Multi-talented, multi-layered orchestra. Put a smile on my face.

Martyn Bennett's 2003 GRIT was given its live premier with a colourful score by composer Greg Lawson and the concert proved one of the best events I've been to at Celtic Connections music festival.

Bennett was a Scottish musician and composer and the concert marked the tenth anniversary of his untimely death at the age of thirty-three - poignantly he wrote the album while he was dying of cancer. The album offers a musical journey - producing pounding bass rhythms, hesitant strings, gradual and also unexpected crescendos, brass epic grandeur, haunting Gaelic voices, thematic stirring pipes and also humour. The Grit album is about pushing the boundaries and limitations.
The orchestra of over 80 musicians on the Glasgow concert hall stage tonight consisted of mostly younger folk, jazz and classical musicians. I expect they enjoyed playing a new piece that felt contemporary yet drawing strongly on past traditions. 

Conductor Greg appeared overcome as he reached the summit tonight, after years in the planning and he commented that he needed a crash helmet as it felt like his head might explode!
I The first half was of songs from the Grit album and performed by a cast of accomplished Scottish singers - Quebec quartet LeVent Du Nord began with strong harmonies; followed by Fiona Hunter who sang Berry fields of Blair and Young Emslie with Mike Vass on guitar; Rab Noakes sang MacPherson's Rant and To Each and Everyone of You. Gaelic singer Isabel Ann Martin sang beautifully accompanied by Donald Shaw on piano.

II For the second half the full orchestra played the entire GRIT album. Even the word Grit produces earthy, real connotations. Lawson commented that folk music draws strongly on solid music roots, but  ike a river needs to play and experiment with those traditions in order not to stay stagnant and to be brought into the modern age.

On Blackbird male choral voices were brought into the modern age with dancing African drumbeats, resonating textures and bass beats. On the track Why there were soothing strings and clarinet along with Karen Matheson haunting voice. The Wedding track was heart breaking with hesitant, sad, subdued strings when a song breaks the stillness with happier times and then with a dynamic sax melody.  

Bennet's music shifted on its axis taking sound into new orbits - ground breaking and energizing. For anyone who thinks folk music is backward looking this concert was highly innovative with jazz, rock elements, classical, Gaelic songs, MORE!  I have never seen an orchestra bobbing up and down and enjoying themselves so much - especially all those eight double bass players!

Only a few concerts put a smile on your face but this one did!

Bennett - ‘Try and find those things that make us Scottish. They are not necessarily tartan, but are no less colorful. They are in the sound of the kick drum, the bass line, the distortion, the punk guitar, the break-beat. Try and see the old ways in new surroundings.‘
'This album was a chance for me to present a truthful picture, yet face my own reflection in the great mirror of all cultures.’

In the studio, he traversed and transcended boundaries, of multiple levels, from that of image – as ‘the dreadlocked piper’ – to those of genre, art-form and audience.

PS Renowned traditional Scottish folk singer Dick Gaughan decided to withdraw from the concert as it was being filmed by the BBC and due to his feeling strongly that the BBC bias during the referendum was intolerable for him.  He is performing his own concert during Celtic –
 'Scots music has never sounded like this before. No music has ever sounded like this before’ Mojo
GRIT Track listing
1.      'Move' – 4.10 Minutes
2.      'Blackbird' – 6.10 Minutes
3.      'Chanter' – 4.10 Minutes
4.      'Nae Regrets' – 3.50 Minutes
5.      'Liberation' – 4.20 Minutes
6.      'Why' – 4.30 Minutes
7.      'Ale House' – 3.50 Minutes
8.      'Wedding' – 5.45 Minutes
9.      'Rant' – 4.31 Minutes
10.   'Storyteller' – 9.39 Minutes

Filmed by the BBC the concert will be shown 22nd January 9pm - 
Here’s a BBC slip of Chanter  -
Music journalist Sue Wilson is presently writing Bennett’s autobiography.