Showing posts with label scots. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scots. Show all posts

Saturday 10 February 2024

Scots Gaelic Kim Carnie Transatlantic Sessions, Celtic Connections 2024, #ccfest2024,

 

Scots Gaelic singer songwriter, Kim Carnie, lead singer with Manran, performed at the Transatlantic Sessions, Celtic Connections 2024, #ccfest2024,




Sunday 31 December 2023

SCOTS TRAD AWARDS 2023

 

Kim Carnie
Blazin fiddles

21stst MG ALBA Scots Trad Music awards

Took place at the Dundee Caird hall this November and was presented by Alistair Heather and Mary Ann Kennedy – the awards reflect the success and Scotland’s rich cultural heritage. 

Along with grand performances by Joy Dunlop, Duncan Chisholm, Peatbog Fairies and Scottish Trad party starters Manran.

Duncan Chisholm

**AWARD WINNERS INCLUDE - 

Ducan Chisholm – Album of the year

Peatbog Fairies – (Skye folk fusion)  - folk band of the year

Julie Fowlis – Musician of the year

Joy Dunlop – Gaelic singer

Eilidh Cormack - Gaelic Singer of the Year,

Iona Fyfe – Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year

Blazin Fiddles – Folk band of the year

The Shand- Up and coming artist of the year 

Trail West – live act of the year

**The Gatherin south sessions – club of the year

Julie Fowlis


Thursday 30 November 2023

SCOTS Booker Prize winners


Maggie O’Farrell

Alexander McColl Smith

Disgracefully as usual in a Time article there is no mention of Scotland’s recent Booker prize winners. The Scottish literary scene boasts several Booker prize winners – 2020 Douglas Stuart’s, Shuggie Bain, 1994 James Kelman’s, How Late It Was, How Late. 

Plus Booker shortlisted authors – Ali Smith, Andrew O’Hagan, AL Kennedy, Graham McCrea Burnett, Muriel Spark. World famous Scots novelists of modern times include –Iain Banks, Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin, Louise Welsh, Liz Lochhead, Alan Bisset, Chris Brookmyre, Denise Mina, Alexander McColl Smith, Alasdair Gray, Janice Galloway, William McIlcanney, Maggie O’Farrell, 

 

Famous Scots writers of the past – Arthur Conan Doyle, J M Barrie, John Buchan, Robert Louis Stevenson, James Boswell, John Barbour, Adam Smith, 

Irvine Welsh

Iain Banks

Ian Rankin


Hackett quotes Irish writer Magee, “The English may be too comfortable to write great novels.”  

At least six times in her article she labels ‘Britain/ England’ as one and the same, the England label can never include Scots or the Welsh and we’ll never regard Britain as England as our cultural or historic home, even though so many Scots remain in ignorance of Scotland’s rich histories of which we might be proud. Its time Londoners woke up to this reality. 

Our creative stories, arts and music are intrinsic to our shared voices and view of self.

 

Perhaps creative thinkers either can’t afford or don’t want to be in London. In ‘Britain/ England’ mind-set little exists outside of London. In the 80s London boasted a thriving literary scene around Soho. But today’s London is dominated in its skyline by foreign oligarchs empty high-rises, populist musicals, global chain outlets and over priced art. 


Photos copyright Pauline Keightley

 

 

**BOOKS

Anthology of Scottish stories – Gerard Caruthers

Scottish literature, an introduction – Alan Riach.

The Fair Botanist – Sara Sheridan

 

Scottish Pastoral: Robert Burns and British Romanticism - 

 

Saturday 30 September 2023

SONGS make a Nation



The Proclaimers

And the poetry and art. Since the 60s Scots have been singing in their own Scots and Gaelic voices – first with Flower of Scotland on the football terraces, the resurgence of Scots folk protest songs such as Hamish Henderson’s Freedom Come All Ye and then with the Proclaimers songs. 


We might ask who is writing new songs for the union?

 

“Now everyone sings Scottish songs and if I were a unionist politician of whatever party, but especially the Labour party, I would be counting the songs, have a habit of making the laws also.” Ian Hamilton wrote. 

 

Since the 60s and 70s, the resurgence of Scots voices, culture and arts have had more impact on our hearts and minds - than the often hollow and ignorant political chat. Early in 1970s Edinburgh, traditional folk songs were flourishing around the folk clubs, bars and folk festivals – Girvan, Ayr, Arran, Sandy Bells and many more. 

Before this I had mainly listened to music on recorded albums, so the live local music scene was a revelation for me, with its foot-stomping fiddles, the strumming banjos, guitar and bohran, the perfect unaccompanied singers, and the traditional Scots ballads. 

 

The impact of the Proclaimers first tv appearance on channel Four’s music program the Tube – when they performed Letter to American in strong Scottish accent was immediate. They combined folk and punk music. Then we also have dougie macLleans powerful Caledonia and David Steele's Scotland Yet.

 

As attitudes towards the British empire changed after the war, in the mid 1960s at the men’s football game they started to boo and agitate and to sing their own songs as the band played the national anthem, God Save the Queen. In 1966-67 fans started to sing Flower of Scotland – and eventually authorities recognised this and dropped the UK National Anthem for Scotland.

 

The Corries


Ian Hamilton, who along with other student stole the Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey, wrote -

“Nobody sang in Scotland in the ­middle part of the century. To be more correct, those who sang did not derive their songs from Scotland. Their sources were ­foreign and what they sang was only an alien copy of other people’s ways of life.”    He saw a very different Scotland in the early 1990s compared to the past: “Now everyone sings Scottish songs, and if I were a Unionist politician of whatever party, but especially of the Labour ­Party, I would be counting the songs, rather than the votes. The people who make the songs of a country have a habit of making the laws also.”

Perhaps that is a little too romantic for some but it contains a kernel of truth. What we sing and who sings says something about who we see ourselves as ­being and how we stake our claim in the world. Maybe in his heart, Ally McCoist knows this too.

Extracted The Songs We Sing, Gerry Hassan, The Sunday National 17th September 202 - 

https://www.thenational.scot/news/23794397.gerry-hassan-god-save-king-flower-scotland-unites-us/

 

 

Sunday 30 April 2023

Tom Nairn why Scotland missed the European national revival 1800s

 

 

Tom Nairn why Scotland missed the European national revival 1800s

 

Scotland’s greatest political theorist of the modern times. 

Tom Nairn’s brilliant Break Up of Britain (1977), is one of the best reads on how and why the archaic institutions of the British state and its pre-democracy are failing us. How Scotland lost its way and its literary voice over the 1800s and of the fake tartanry of Walters Scott’s novels, of a Scotland that’s lost and can never return - “the heart regrets, but never the head.” Of the destructive and false nature of the Labour party. 

 

He writes on why Scottish nationalism is different to the rest of Europe. 

“All I’m arguing for is nations, minus the dratted “ism”; democratic natural, independent, diverse, ordinary, even boring rather than the museum pieces, or dictatorship or hustlers like Blair of Berlusconi.” Tom Nairn, Free worlds End, opendemocracy, Dec 4th 2004. 

 

Nairn writes of the misfit of the British state to the modern world and not from the express of romantic tartanry, which the author excoriates – and the centrality of the nation in political change. 

That the Scottish Enlightenment was very much a Tory project. While Scotland prospered during the 1800s with manufacturing, its literary voice became bereft. He sees Walter Scott’s work of a mythical Scotland and Scots heroes, as very much glorifying a past that was gone and to be forgotten. Scotland became north Britain. While Scott’s romantic and mythical novels were highly successful across the world. 



**Those Myths of Blood and spirit, such as Jacobites, Rob Roy, Robert the Bruce.

Nationalism, Nairn argues is always both good and bad. ’ And originated from that derived in – the impossibility of escape from the uneven development of capitalism.’ Nationalism is not a question of simple identity, but rather of something more – a catalyst. Nearly all modern nations have a myth – a key to their nationalism and regeneration. But not England… :with an astonishing resistance of a fossilised and incompetent political order.  


“England’s peculiar form of nationalism  hopelessly stultifying inheritance of the state.…The main character of English history since 1688 “of which English ideology most proud is, her conditional and parliamentary revolution. “

“the mobilising myth of nationalism is an idea of the people … an emotive notion anchored in popular experience of love” – the revolution, war of liberation.”

 

He writes, “What counts is later mass beliefs. These are amplified into an inheritance, broadcast in ballads, written into documentary history text-books, novelized, sermonised and institutionalized into street-names and statues. From the process there derives an always latent conviction of popular will and capacity. That the people could always do it again.” 

 

**By contrast in Europe 1800s, nationalism took hold with the demise of empires, and the rise of nation states. “Only one country “stepped over before the Europe of 1800s – Scotland politics and culture was decisively and permanently altered by the great awaking of nationalist consciousness – Scotland or north Britain …due to the uneven development of capitalism. “

 

“After the black the unspeakable 17th century was 1688 which marked the real dawn of Scotland, after the dark bloodshed years of religious conflicts across Europe. – William Robertson, in his book History of Scotland. When the Scottish bourgeoisie exploited the results of the English revolution. Scotland progressed from fortified castles and witch burning, to Edinburgh new town and Adam Smith in only a generation:”

Highlander Adam Fergusson, saw this contrast around him. “The Highlands were under-developed and didn’t have pre-requisite for nationalist existence. The Highland life was destroyed after 1745. The Scottish Enlightenment ended early 1800s. The Scottish literary tradition paused 1825 – 1860. Instead there was the Industrial Scotland of Glasgow-Edinburgh- Dundee – engineering, shipbuilding and iron stone. 


Scotland reverted to being a province in the 1800s Victorian times, while prosperous and imperial.  Why – because of the absence of political nationalism and a literary voice. The Scottish bourgeoisies pre-possessed the country’s distinctive and proto-national features – they believed in a universal and enlightened civilization .Therefore Scotland remained stuck betwixt and between - too much a nation to be a mere province, yet it could not develop into a nation-state on the basis either via nationalism. 


Nationalism, Nairn argues is always both good and bad. ’ And originated from that derived in – the impossibility of escape from the uneven development of capitalism.’

There is a duty to progressive England to positively urge Scotland onto independence in Europe.

England-Britain where, perhaps because Westminster no longer has a genuine interior life that links to public self-belief, almost everything that is political is unauthentic.

 

”national-democratic character of the need our self-government to ensure meaning on self-belief.”

Nairns approach is both international and rooted in Scotland and he wrote for the new left review London. He explores the nature of nationalism. In UK more confused by the overlay of British-ness, a nationalism without a nation. His case of Scottish independence advocated becoming LIKE other countries. The self-abasement of the union.



A Future???   A British isles or federation, confederation or modernised multi-national states.’

**DONATE to the conference to celebrate the work of Tom Nairn, organised by Peter McColl (Scottish Greens) , Janice Maxwell (co-editor), Pat Kane, Joyce Macmillan, Anthony Barnett (English democracy activist)

 

His most famous BOOK Tom Nairn’s brilliant The Break up of Britain 1977, is well worth reading and one of the best reads on the archaic nature of the British states’ pre-democracy. https://www.thenational.scot/politics/23475146.impact-tom-nairn-great-let-slip-quietly-away/

The most influential book on British politics to be published in the last half century,”  writes Anthony Burnett


Friday 28 April 2023

Walter Scott’s fake nationalism and false myths of Scotland


“pervasive, second-rate sentimentalist, associated with tartan nostalgia.”

 For Walter Scott - “the past is gone, beyond recall.” ….it evokes a national past never to revive it.”

.... no part of political or social mobilization of present by a mythical emphasis on

 

Walter Scott’s novels were read across the world, and his contribution to the rising tide of national romanticism, was a great one.  – “however it was great everywhere but in his own nation of Scotland.” Scott wrote of a  “romantic national culture and the rise of a kitsch Scotland.”

 

Tom Nairn, leading political theorist, denounces Scots novelist Walter Scott- ..”the destruction of Celtic Scotland was to haunt Lowlanders or the Scotland of Sir Walter Scott. He showed us “how not to be nationalist during an ascendant political nationalism. Its the language of Tory unionism and of progress”/ 

 

“From Ossian to Walter Scott played a large part in generating and defining romantic consciousness for the rest of Europe while degrading his own nation. Which led to rootlessness, a void, which cultural and literary historians deplore.  The continuity between (heroic) past and present.”…....  The heart may regret but never the head.”

 

Nairn writes of the failures of Scottish Nationalism, during the 1800s under the false romantic myths such as the writing of Walter Scott and of a bereft Scottish literature at this time.  Two examples – cultural emigration and the Kailyard school of vulgar tartanry.”,,, 

 

Scotland reverted to being a province 1800s, while prosperous and imperial. Why? Scotland became void and rootless. 1. Absence of political nationalism 2. Absence of a mature cultural romanticism. The poor Highland's world and comparatively prosperous Lowland world, and the total repression of Highland culture and social structure. The highland were once half of the population of Scotland.

Scott monument Edinburgh


By contrast the real purpose of romantic history was different – cultural nationalism was the mythical resuscitation of the past, to serve the present and the future. 

 

Scott caused disintegration of a great national culture. Elsewhere in Europe, “the middle classes felt the development for people was impossible without rapid mobilization of their own resources and rejection of alien rule.”

 

Nairn claims Scotland is unique in Europe, where nationalism struggled with its national identity and along with the rise of nationalism 1800s and the rise of nation states across Europe, as the "result of the uneven development of capitalism."

 

That the Scottish Enlightenment was very much a Tory project. While Scotland prospered during the 1800s with manufacturing, its literary voice became bereft. He sees Walter Scott’s work of a mythical Scotland and Scots heroes, as very much glorifying a past that was gone and to be forgotten. Scotland became north Britain. While Scott’s romantic and mythical novels were highly successful across the world. 

 

The real interests of Scotland diverge from the auld sang



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.


Sunday 12 February 2023

Kim Carnie at Celtic Connections 202


 Charmed with her soft, mesmerising voice

 

Carnie was the support artist for Duncan Chisholm, tonight and was backed by the strings and piano, and with Megan Henderson on vocals and violin and with Innes White on guitar. For tonight’s concert she performed Gaelic heritage songs. 



The song 
Chan Eil A’ Chuis was based on the work of a female bard, a hymn of the morning light and was backed with only piano, beautiful. Carnie has written new compositions for her album and with the festivals artistic director Donald Shaw producing – And So We Gather and She Moves Me. She has a bubble personality and it would be good to hear more of her upbeat and infectious final song – Nighearn sin Thall. The Gaelic song is ever popular with cc audiences and she performed with her clear tones and poignant songs. More please!





Friday 10 February 2023

Duncan Chisholm at Celtic Connections 2023




Transported us with his engaging playing

 Chisholm has performed at every Celtic Connections since 1993. Duncan Chisholm engaged us with beautiful videos of his violin during the isolation of Covid, often shot on perfect locations on the Western Isles. His music has range of tone and atmosphere, transcends time and space. He has composed music of the Western Isles – of the swift-changing skies of Scotland’s western coastlines and dramatic mountain ranges; often foreboding but illuminating and hopeful as light breaks through.

 

**Tonight he played compositions from his new 2022 album Black Cullins –  the ragged range of jagged rocky mountains on the Isle of Skye. He was backed by an impressive line-up of award-winning Trad musicians - Jalath Henderson on uilleann pipes, Ross Ainslie on low whistle, Hamish Napier on keyboards and piano, Innes Watson on rhythm guitar, and Ross Hamilton on electric bass and guitar. Along with a string section led by Greg Lawson.

 

He began with the tender and forlorn Black Cuillin Theme with accompanying strings; Born on the Wind of Chaos soared with the full band, bass and electric guitar. The band took the energy and vibe up further with piano, pipes, whistle, percussion and rhythm guitar for the tune, To the High Mountain. Beneath the Fortress about the Skye bridge was majestic, as was the intimacy of Donald Shaw’s A Precious Place, who played piano on this tune, and the drama of pipes on Islands on the Edge.



The tune
 The Blue Cuillins of the Islands was Inspired by a poem of Sorley McLean’s. Followed by a touching performance of Donald Shaw’s Constellations. Chisholm played Phil Cunningham’s subdued, haunting When the Snow Melts, with only piano for his finale. Heart-warming.    https://www.duncanchisholm.com

 

Music of Resolutions.


Chisholm was supported by the excellent Gaelic singer Kim Carnie - Review and Photos here - 

 

Black Cuillin’ tells of a dream journey through this landscape over a day and a night.” 

Duncan Chisholm, Scottish fiddle player and composer, has released six solo albums. He tours with the Scots Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis and has toured with the folk rock band Wolfstone and the band Runrig.