Thursday 6 October 2016

Emeli Sande Oran Mor 2016

Sande returns with her second album ‘Long Live the Angels’  this September and with lead single Hurts. She was the biggest selling UK artist of 2012 and sang at the Olympic ceremonies in London when she had number one singles - 'Read All About It' with Professor Green, and 'Your Beautiful' with Labyrinth. She hails from Aberdeenshire and attended medical school in Glasgow. At that time she was travelling down to London to work on song writing on her weekends.

Sande thrilled her fans with her intimate return gig! She lit up the spiritual setting of the Oran Mor Auditorium with old songs and new for the first gig of her mini tour.  The sold out crowd of fans welcomed her with open arms and sang along to the past hits and bounced to some of the new!
Emeli was in her element to be back on stage and gave her all. She greeted us with her genuine heart, soulful voice and rhythms, and warm-hearted smile.  She said it meant so much to her to have us there and to share not just in a music biz way. A more assured Emeli gave more time, space and introspection in her music.

She performed enriching, heartfelt, reaching out songs such as 'My Kind of Love' and the poignant 'Read All About it '– to what is best in us. There was the gentle haunting beauty of 'Clown' and new song 'Intermission' with only bass or piano backing her voice when she reaches soulful heights. and in contrast  the upbeat energy of songs like Rhianna’s 'Four Five Seconds', Babe and 'Next To Me'. Her band felt very much a tight knit unit and the Oran Mor auditorium a perfect setting.

Even the older songs were given a more subtle feel while keeping those strong rhythms.  She expressed both her new found confidence and her vulnerability. In her moving new single 'Hurts' she combines sadness with spiritual healing and hopeful renewals.

Sande spoke of her spiritual journey since 2012. This is in part a break up album, as her marriage to long time boyfriend Adam Gouraguine in 2012 didn’t work out. She is now in a new relationship. This is an artist who’s been through more of life’s challenges and is stronger for them.

She digs deep into her musical roots of choir singing (her father is a music teacher) her appreciation of soul, blues, R & B and of great female songwriters like Nina Simone and Carole King. Emeli combines memorable sing-along choruses, rhythmic beats along with touching lyrics and melodies sung with her magnetic soulful voice. 

It was hard to believe it was 9 years since I saw her here for her first Oran Mor gig! 

Give me Something
Every Single Little Price
Eight Five Seconds
This Much is True
My Kind of love
High and lows
Next to Me
Read All About it

In December 2007 I went to see Emeli Sande play her debut gig at the Oran Mor for the launch of her first ep. Back then she had big dark hair and was known as Adele. She had a top band backing her and we thought she had an impressive voice. Little did we know she would go on to have such huge success. I met Emeli at her King Tuts gig and took photos back stage there. I am sure it must mean a great deal to her to be back at the Oran Mor this Sunday for the first gig to promote her second album Long Live the Angels and I am excited to hear her new songs. My biggest thrill in 2012 was to take photos at her Albert hall gig London!
My Emeli Sande galleries -

Tuesday 4 October 2016

Allan Ramsay festival

New Allan Ramsay festival Carlops 14 - 16 October 2016. 

Allan Ramsay Snr Born 1684 – 1758 Leadhills Lanarkshire, was a Scottish poet who strongly influenced Robert Burns. He was one of the founders of the Easy Club, a group of like-minded men who enjoyed literary discussions over a bottle of claret. It was known for Jacobite sympathies and Ramsay was determined the Scots language would not die out in the years after the Act Of Union (1707) when “North Britishness” was all the rage.
He started to earn money for his verse collections in Scots and then decided to turn his wigmaking shop in the Old Town into a booksellers. He also decided to  rent out books, and became known as the founder of Britain’s first library.

He also composed Scotland’s first opera The Gentle Shepherd, which is a ballad opera both comedy and a homage to the joy of pastoral life, which was his masterpiece. There is monument to Allan Ramsay Snr in Princes St Gardens.

Allan Ramsay Jnr was his eldest son. He studied art in London and Italy and then based himself in Edinburgh in 1738. He established himself as a portrait painter and later moved to London. Where he was appointed official portrait painter to King George III. Earlier this year, his long lost portrait of Charles Edward Stuart, painted at Hollywood in 1745, was bought for the nation at a cost of £1m and now hangs in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. 

Friday 30 September 2016

Melvyn Bragg Edinburgh book festival 2016: Now is the Time

Melvyn Bragg gave a highly informed and entertaining talk at Edinburgh book festival 2016, when he occasionally digressed from his historical tale of intrigue, romance, betrayal, injustice and ignorance. Bragg has written a timely book and we might draw parallels to today.

He spoke of the background to the story and of how much control religion had in those days (I wondered is this the control that Murdoch’s media outlets and others have today) and that people were scared to disobey the church. Since 1066 French was spoken, but English came back and the Bible was translated into English – there were writers such as Chaucer and his Canterbury Tales written in Latin, French and English. God spoke Latin apparently and the Bible was not to be touched.

The Great Plague of London killed 47.3% in one year and they thought the plague was a punishment from God. The Black Death of the 1340s reduced numbers for labour – wages were fixed and there was feudalism.

Bragg told the story of the Peasants Revolt in England in 1348. This was not a ‘peasant’ rebellion at all  He said and it has been air brushed out and totally ignored mostly. This was the biggest mass rebellion ever in England and it is never talked about. There was a three to four months build up and the rebellion lasted over two weeks in London.

The Hundred Years war in France was not going well for the English and the taxes needed for the war were  far too high. The people could not afford to pay the high taxes and refused to pay. This spread to Essex and to Kent.

 **The Main Players in this story were –
The Preacher John Ball;
The Queen Joan, Princess of Wales, known as the Virgin of Kent was most beautiful. She had five children and became rich from the Crusades. Later she married the renowned warrior the Black Prince.
Wat Tyler - The people voted for him to lead the rebellion. He had fought in France and was a skilled artisan;
The Young King Richard; People believed the king was sacred and spoke with God.

The rebels took the enormous Rochester castle, Canterbury, Suffolk and then London. The young king met them at Greenwich and promised to give them freedom to fish and to reduce the taxes.

Born changed the game though - he said that the state must be changed and give away its wealth. The Queen sent a ring worn by the Black Prince to King Richard to spur him to take back control. Richard was no warrior and he liked music. (power does not like to give up power). Tyler trusted the King and rode to discuss with him – and they assassinated him.

He also said that Insurgence happens when it ready and that today technology has to catch up with our imaginations.
“Book festivals are anti-dumbing down”and where "audiences go to be informed and widen their knowledge.”

Stuart Cosgrove at Edinburgh book festival 2016: Young Soul Rebels

Gave an impassioned talk at EIBF of his fond reminiscences of Northern Soul of his youth. He spoke of those exuberant nights that reenergised the young people of northern England – and continue to do so today. He was asked about his favourite soul tracks.  He read passages from his new book, which tells of these experiences and spoke movingly about loosing his dad at a very young age. Cosgrove is from Perth Scotland.

Stuart Cosgrove is a Scottish journalist and broadcaster. He served on the NME and The Face1980s, before joining Channel 4 in 1994, serving as Controller of Arts and Entertainment and currently as Head of Programs (Nations and Regions). Cosgrove graduated in Drama and English from Hull and has studied at Harvard. He has a Ph.D. in Media (the thesis published as part of the book Theatres of the Left, 1880-1935) and a Doctorate in English and American Studies. He has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts by Dundee and honorary professorships by Stirling and Liverpool universities. In Scotland, Cosgrove is probably best known as the co-host of BBC Scotland’s radio program popular comedy football phone-in Off the Ball