Showing posts with label song. Show all posts
Showing posts with label song. Show all posts

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!

Monday 31 May 2021

Edinburgh festivals RETURNS 2021!

We’ve had tough times, so hard for many. What will all the costs be?

One thing for sure is that the arts will be essential for our recovery. 


Scottish Festivals ... Seek to engage, challenge, entertain and to ensure quality of standard, musicianship, writing, diversity, colour and more.

Every August is a highlight to venture on Edinburgh’s historic streets and to culturally recharge my batteries at the world’s largest arts festival. There’s a special freedom of creativity, where nearly anything goes – a vast melting pot of colour, comedy, dance, song. 


August means Edinburgh and in particular its International book festival. I grew up in this northern capital, dominated by its castle, Arthur seat and historic Royal mile. I have been taking photos at the Edinburgh Festival since 2007. 

This is a year to renew our attitudes and ideas or make a change of direction: this is much needed reflections and contemplations.


**EDINBURGH FESTIVALS 2021 will be happening on a smaller scale.

Last year 2020 the festivals, for the first time had to be cancelled since 1947, due to the worldwide Covid pandemic. I visited the high street, it was very odd. 


This year the festival is planning 3 large outdoor marquees. While the fringe may take over some of the newly empty shops in town. Edinburgh is also planning to pedestrianise George street. Stars such as Alan Cumming and violinist Nicola Benedetti.

Edinburgh festival is the world largest arts festival, begun in 1945 to bring rejuvenation after the devastation of war. 

There is the main international festival along side the Fringe comedy: plus dance, opera, musicals, drama, concerts, mime, art, debates, books and of course the performers in the high street..

There’s also the high water marks of the main festival – with opera, classical, ballet, drama, and more. .


 Edinburgh FRINGE -

The Edinburgh festival has been taking place each August since 1947. After the devastation of war Austrian Rudolf Bing, decided Europe could be brought together to heal by a large scale cultural festival. He decided on Edina, as it reminded him of Salzburg, and it became the worlds biggest cultural arts event. 2020 was the first year for 73 years the Edinburgh festival has not been held.

Edinburgh is ideal to see on foot with the Royal mile, the Mound and over to the new town.


Art is crucial

Art is how we move forward, broaden horizons, question and exchange ideas, culture and heritage ultimately matters more – more than any political rhetoric! 

Sunday 28 February 2021

Ewan MacColl version of Scotland

Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger


MacColl was a Scottish indy supporter

He wrote some incredible songs. 

He is remembered best for his songs – Dirty Old Town, First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Shoals of Herring

He was born Salford, Jimmie Miller -he would lie and said he was from Auchterrarder and had a Glasgow childhood. 


He had Scottish parents – his mother from outer Hebrides. He read of 19th century Gaelic poet Eoghan MacColl of Lochfyneside. He collected Scots ballads, 


MacColl recorded album of street songs from Dublin, Salford and Glasgow with Irishman Dominic Behan. He was friends with Scots poets Hugh MacDiarmid and Hamish Henderson.


MacColl was part of the Scottish Literary Renaissance – 1920s, 1930s connected to the Celtic revival movement renewed cultural nationalism. Both looked back to poets such as William Dunbar and also to contemporary poets such as Ezra Pound, TS Eliot, WB Yeats, Edwin Morgan , first Scots Maker. 

Town planning of people and their environment – place-work-folk. 

Also novelists  Neil Gunn, Lewis Grassic Gibbons, 

Scottish Gaelic Renaissance – Sorley MacLean.

Edwin Morgan

Hugh MacDiarmid

He had strong left wing views and monitored by M15. He married Peggy Seeger lived Beckenham, Kent on his song royalties. He was a prophet not fully acknowledged. Who felt and imagined himself as part of the Scotland of his parents. 


We need honest visionaries who recognise the past and see the ways forward.

BOOK: The cultural and political life of Ewan MacColl by Ben Marker.


Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole writes, “MacColl’s influence on the culture we live through now is so ­pervasive as to be almost invisible – so much taken for granted that we hardly bother to see it.”

Friday 28 August 2020

Song for Scotland -'Auld Lang Syne'

Scots spread around the world as – explorers, lecturers, innovators, writers – and had close trade to Europe.

Kane writes of the impact songs can have, to bring us all together in community spirit, to build hope. 
From a shattered apartment Beirut – windows blown in, amid her ruin an elderly woman sits at her piano and plays the classic international song by our Bard Robert Burns, his song of unity and friendship -

'Auld Lang Syne.’

Making beauty from ashes.....
This song's emotional power travels the globe and gives people hope. Not about divisions but about bringing people together in what really matters. 

Making beauty from ashes.

Scots and journalist musician Pat Kane concludes for indy (Scotland National August 8th)
All the way from Beirut the perfect national anthem for indy Scotland. 
“hardly for the first time, Scotland is already profoundly woven into the world, as the world waits for our official return. Closing suggestion, isn’t this the obvious, post indy Scottish national anthem in waiting? A song the world already sings – joyfully, harmoniously, in happy celebration? Right under our noises, all this time. “

Here are the pipes and chorus and a perfect rendition of Auld Lang Syne

Burns heard the old song and added new verses - its a song too for the auld Scotia that was being lost. 
This is a song about bringing people together. Because Scotland's self-determination is not about any nationhood - but rather our right to democracy for all who live here in Scotland - for our fairer, more equal, greener and well being future. 

Kane writes of the impact songs can have, to bring us all together in community spirit, to build hope. Collective singing can ‘induce feelings of happiness, safety and security in a group – calming, energising, organising and inspiring. 
He recommends the book - David Levitin , The World in Six Songs. 

Monday 21 January 2019

Kathleen MacInnes with amiina at Celtic Connections 2019 Review

What an impressive concert. Kathleen is one of Scotland’s foremost Gaelic singers with her broad range and husky tones. To begin her concert she sang Gaelic songs after which she was joined by Icelandic group amiina. Their sound was subtle and sublime with amiina playing gentle drums, violin 

– which beautifully encased Kathleen soothing voice. What a unique combination

The sounds produced were haunting, island journeys, with atmospheric soundscapes. Amiina were the string section of Icelandic avant rock sound sculptors Sigur Ros. The band performed three of their own tracks, and showed their diversity and richness of sound. 

They performed a poem by Alexander MacColl Smith, The Waves that Bear the Saints. Kathleen is from south Uist and won Gaelic singer 2006, (Scots Trad music awards).  A quality and thoroughly enjoyable concert.

They was supported by the excellent four part harmonies of Irish singers Landis.

Friday 24 August 2018

Art Freedom without Borders

This years theme at the Edinburgh International book festival 2018 is "freedoms". It is important we are free to have our VOICE. Its important for culture, sense of identity, artistic creativity, truth, heritage, communicating, collaborating and so much more. 
At a talk on the highly respected Scottish singer songwriter Michael Marra, a Canadian asked - 'why did we not hear of Marra on the Scottish radio or tv, and how can we have a Voice here in Scotland, if we have no way of expressing it freely and widely? ..The answer is that Marra went to London for a while, but the London music industry wanted to change him and take away the essence of what makes him a great artist. ........ And I wonder often why Scotland is not free, and unlike other nations has no media of its own....

An artist must be true to their art...
Creatives not only require freedom of expression, it’s the life blood they draw on for their creativity. Any artist who tries to stick inside boxes is stifled. I remember a Russian art exhibition at the Tate modern – all were identical, raising arms to the heavens.  

JD Fergusson
The Scottish painters JD Fergusson on modern Scottish painting is his plea for artistic freedom. "Scotland should have an independent art," Artists must challenge assumptions and take a sledgehammer to totems. 
Artist Alexander Moffat and poet Alan Riach , in a new edition of Scottish artist JD Fergusson Modern Scottish Painting, in which he questions the need of artists to conform to market forces. If arts motivation is economic it is not usually successful. Then as now, there was what Moffat and Riach call "the tyranny of academic authority in taste, practice and artistic social priorities". Oddly there have been significant problems with Creative Scotland’s large umbrella organization (which includes film, Games, music, literature, arts) being controlled by the accounts men.  There was the need for artists to conform if they wanted to be embraced by the kind of organisations and institutions who view art as the conduit to boosting the economy and encouraging an ever-growing influx of tourists. 

The need to conform to be embraced by established art institutions. Fergusson's approach to art was embedded in political philosophy and he was convinced of the need for independence. He questioned why "the Glasgow School" faded out. "Was it Scotland's feeling of inferiority? Was it the lack of sympathy or financial support?" 

Nick Barley
**Edinburgh book festival director Nick Barley claims culture and the arts is being adversely affected by the hostile attitude at the UK home office.  
“We’re putting culture at risk, ironically the theme of this years EIBF this year is freedom!  
The UK Home office refusals from Syria are up from 18% to 68% in 2017.  -"Our relationship with authors is being damaged because the system is completely unfit for purpose. They’ve jumped through hoops – to have their applications refused.”  The UK Home Office has refused visas for authors invited to Edinburgh book festival. Festival director Nick Barley says ‘humiliating’ application process will deter writers and damage cultural life in UK. A dozen writers, from African and Middle East countries have had their visa applications refused, amid a process that requires 3 years of bank statements. 

Michale Marra, Arrest this Moment
JD Fergusson was drawn like so many other Scottish artists of the day, to Paris. (Samuel Peploe, Francis Campbell and Boileau Cadell). He writes of the impact that the French capital had-. “Paris was a place of light, freedom, intellectual challenge, learning and research. It allowed me to be Scots as I understand it, and has made me so Scots that I am leaving it and coming home." 

Fergusson’s book is a cri de coeur for artistic freedom and he is always passionate..
Some of the greatest art happen when we challenge the boxes – as when French impressionisms challenged the Paris Salon.

Modern Scottish Painting, by J D Fergusson, published Luath Press,

Monday 12 May 2014

Highland Cathedral

Pipers at Edinburgh Castle
For a new anthem for Scotland my votes on the tune Highland Cathedral with new words - 'The Highlands Call on eagles wings...' This tune is stirring and uplifting ....and nothing much beats the pipes, but adding the strings of the orchestra makes it easier to sing to.

I went in search of a good version on YouTube. Loved this version with the orchestra adding that extra depth -  oh wish they might play this at the Commonwealth Games Glasgow 2014 ( and not Flower of Scotland!)  Check it here -

I agree with many that Flower of Scotland now sounds out-dated and even slightly bitter. We need a forward looking more positive and inspired song. This is not about sending the English homeward - its about an inclusive and confident way forward for all who wish to live in Scotland. When I lived abroad I did used to think of the pipes and the Highlands and those damp misty mornings. 

Where the highlands call home on eagles’ wings,
And where heathers always bloom,
I will always be true
 To the highlands that are calling home for me.   

By many bonny lochs and rugged wild shorelines, 
Misty mornings and wide open spaces, 
My heart will always be  
Where the highlands are calling home for me.  

Sunday 5 August 2012

Emeli Sande sang Welsh song 'Abide With Me' London Olympic Opening ceremony

Emeli Sande sang a haunting version of the Welsh song 'Abide With Me' at the London Olympic Opening ceremony which was very moving and a tribute to the victims of terrorism in recent years. Oddly American station NBC decided to cut the segment in favour of an interview.
On  Saturday when Jessica Annis won her gold medal for the heptathlon they played Emeli’s songs River.

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Dougie McLean Milngavie Folk Club June 30 2012

Dougie was magic. He was on good form and like a choir master he really got everyone singing in full voice.  

This event took place to an expectant and warmly enthusiastic Milngavie Town Hall audience. Some were clearly die-hard McLean fans and some had travelled long journeys for the gig.
Premier Scottish songwriter is best known for his song Caledonia which has become part of Scottish culture and is often performed at weddings and played by pipebands. He also wrote the theme The Gael for the The Last of the Mohicans (1992).

McLean performed songs from his 2012 album Resolution, as well as some of his large back catalogue. He gave us a full two entertaining sets of his warm thoughtful songs.
He began with the song Holding Back - 'a wee song about contentment' he said. (there may well have been a few more songs I didn't manage to get the title of).

First Set: Holding Back/ Don’t Look Down/ Another Time/ Loving One (She Loves me when I'm gone, She thinks about me when I'm gone)/ Some Hearts/

Second Set: Resolution/ Not Look Down/ Scythe Song/ In Darkness/ Broken Wings/ Caledonia/ For his encore he sang the song You Sing Loud (Shine on, oh shine on over me) 

He encouraged us to sing and he said that people were never passive in Scottish music - he explained that they joined in and that is why the old folk songs had so many refrains. For the song Some Hearts he conducted our singing and he suggested we sang with more harmonies.

He also spoke about how music can heal and the inspirational work of Nordoff Robbins Music therapy for terminally ill children. 
He said - I travel with my little songs. McLean has a touching compassionate voice in his songs.

His song themes appear subtle and soothing sitting alongside calming melodies but actually they carry powerful messages and emotions. McLean is something of a philosopher in his songs which offer thoughtful insights on life with a strong sincerity. He fully recognises and accepts the emotional draw of the 'song'. His songs are personal but also intimate and universal, as if speaking directly to you.

His songs have lines such as - You may fall but you must not lie down/Some hearts will fill with wonder/ Some hearts will break in two/ Some hearts will wait for summer/ Time will turn.
Price we have to pay/ Place we started from to resolution’ 
Lost in the fiddle’s sweet sound….For a moment free from one more endless day.

He said that we must make loads of mistakes in order to really ‘live’ life. He said that music wasn't always kind and it can sometimes be a heart breaking kind of thing

McLean has been a professional musician for 38 years since a chance encounter with the Tannahill Weavers.
Try Dougie McLean songs - She Will Find Me, Another Time (about his father), Broken Wings, Holding Back,

Sometimes subtle messages in song can be even more powerful

Thursday 19 April 2012

*The LA sound - The Byrds to The Eagles

Crosby, Stills and Nash; Neil Young; Joni Mitchell; David Geffen. And The Laid back acoustic sound of Laurel Canyon - All about the SONG

In the early 70s LA became the centre of the music business as young artists moved there rather than to New York city. Artists came to play the well renowned LA Troubadour venue.

The artist was the centre of the business, which was driven by the songwriter and by self publishing singer songwriters. Crosby, Stills and Nash were known for their beautiful 3 part harmonies and exquisitely roving melodies. Then we had flower power and hippies.

Carole King and James Taylor moved there from New York and King’s Tapestry album spent15 weeks at no 1. 

Ambition and idealism ‘counter culture' was the name of the game.
However.....eventually the business men moved in and it became more about managers and lawyers - more about business and less about the music. The Corporation of Rock.

Recently I thought... where are the great songs of today? 
And so I begin to wonder about the cheap club nights and that's what ears get used to.... and that it is it simply not about THE SONG anymore?
In my view the cheapening of music has led to some kind of diluted commodity with no thought about quality anymore.

Unbelievable clip  -
John Lennon and Paul Simon present the Best Song Award 1975 at the Grammy's when Olivia Newton John beats icons - Elton John, Joni Mitchell and Roberta Flack!!
The Industry never ceases to amaze me! 

 Most amazing CLIP of Judy Blue Eyes ( Joni mitchell) 

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Adele - Someone Like You (on 'Later Live with Jools Holland') - Nov 2010

I saw Adele sing this on Jools Holland last year - it gave me the chills. Give me beautiful simple piano and voice any day. Her new album '21' is predicted to be massive this year.

Also you can now pre-order RADIOHEAD's new album 'King of limbs'direct from their website! Looks like 2011 is another good year for music.

QUOTE Radiohead: What have twitter and facebook ever done for us?
Obviously, keeping in touch with everyone but I have to say I have become increasingly excited over the last 3 months about the possibilities of this form of communication. Yes I am very slow out of the blocks. It's in the arena of public protest that it seems twitter and facebook are increasingly the means by which popular movements throughout the world are able to come together and mobilise.
I have been so moved by the peaceful Jasmine revolution in Tunisia; The anti-Government demonstrations centred on Tahrir Square in Cairo.. Social networking has helped facilitate the freedom to assemble peacefully and express oneself. Equally in Britain it seems to be having a similar effect in helping essential protests being organised by students and groups such as UK Uncut against the Government's ill thought out cuts ... Well done those people!