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Scottish and Celtic Music Discussion
Celtic Connections Festival 2008: Reviews
Posts: 7970
Posted: 18-Jan-2008 14:54
Here's a review of the opening concert from Rob Adams writing in The Herald:

Celtic Connections: Common Ground

Posts: 14820
Posted: 18-Jan-2008 15:04
Fair enough review.

It certainly was quite a "mixed bag" albeit of a high standard. There were undoubtably one or two exceptionally high peaks and I probably concur with those names to which he gave a special mention. I should also mention that Kate Rusby was as good as I've ever heard her and I believe she benefits from a more minimalist backing and musical arrangement which was the case on Wednesday.

It was a very tense night for me though as there were so many great performers appearing on stage but my fears of an Eddi Reader entrance turned out to be unfounded. :-)

Just signing off now. If you want to disagree with the above, I'll be back later. ;-)

Posts: 7970
Posted: 18-Jan-2008 15:05
Steve Earle with special guest Allison Moorer
Thu 17 January, 7:30pm. Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Main Auditorium

(reviewed by 'skelters' on the Foot Stompin' forum)

Posts: 7970
Posted: 18-Jan-2008 15:13
Celtic Connections' Schools Concerts (opening concert)
"What's the gig idea . . . " Vicky Davidson writing in The Evening Times

' all-star line-up on stage led by Scottish fiddle innovator John McCusker which included Irish singers Karan Casey and Heidi Talbot, John-Joe Kelly on bodhran, Scots stars Karine Polwart, Julie Fowlis, Kris Drever, Lauren MacColl and Aidan O'Rourke, former Nickel Creek mandolin player Chris Thile, Michael McGoldrick on flute, and on double bass Capercaillie's Ewan Vernal..'

Posts: 7970
Posted: 19-Jan-2008 11:46
Scotsman Reviews 19th January 2008

Steve Earle: GLASGOW ROYAL CONCERT HALL reviewed by Jim Gilchrist


FLOOK ABC Glasgow. Reviewed by Barry Gordon

Posts: 12842
Posted: 19-Jan-2008 11:51
Anyone might think that skelters and Jim Gilchrist were at different gigs.
Tattie Bogle
Posts: 3849
Posted: 19-Jan-2008 12:41
Enjoyed pretty well most of the "Common Ground" concert on the first night, tho' one or two of the musicians beavering away in the back line didn't get named/thanked in person.
Sorry but I didn't think the marriage of "Will ye no come back again" and "Mo Ghile Mear" at the end worked for me: right enough their melodies share the same 4th line. It might have been more effective to sing them in sequence, and thanks to Karan Casey for giving us a snippet of unadulterated "Mo Ghile Mear".

Thursday night was a difficult choice - Liam Clancy and Danu and Archie Fisher, or Steve Earle. Having never seem Liam C live, and he being a wee bit older than Steve (and as Liam kept reminding us, he had been in hospital only 4 weeks ago), I opted for the former. Certainly was a good choice, despite the air con noises of the Fruitmarket. What a performer, great rapport with his audience, and the other musicians: Danu got some time on their own, and also put in a cracking set. Some may have found Liam's nostalgia and eulogies for those no longer with us a bit OTT, but I'm a sentimental soul so it was OK by me. And just as we were fumbling for the tissues, Liam says of Luke Kelly "no, nay , never" and you can guess what happened next! Liam also had plenty of very funny stories, many apparently centring around men's urinals, and his comment that he was not an "Old Fruit" for sale despite the name of the venue!
It was a late finish, as Archie performed first, then there was a hugely long interval (?40 minutes- why??) Obviously some setting up to do but it did seem rather excessive.

Posts: 115
Posted: 19-Jan-2008 12:44

After reading the Steve Earle review from The Skotchman I'm beginning to think I was at a different gig.

Posts: 109
Posted: 19-Jan-2008 16:09
I'm with tattiebogle. Liam was superb. The piece on Luke Kelly was genuinely moving. And the big band line up worked really well.
Posts: 7970
Posted: 20-Jan-2008 13:56
Norman Chalmers reviews the CC opening concert for Scotland on Sunday

"Uncommonly electrifying"

Posts: 7970
Posted: 20-Jan-2008 13:58
Jonathan Trew reviews Steve Earle for Scotland on Sunday
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Thursday

"Hardcore troubadour smiles better but can't beat the rap"

Posts: 14820
Posted: 20-Jan-2008 14:06
Oor Norman upset Mike Scott with his review, I see.
Well done. :-)
Tattie Bogle
Posts: 3849
Posted: 21-Jan-2008 13:34
Well I already made my humble comment about that song above.
Seems Norman doesn't like folk + orchestra too. I wonder what he'd have made of last night's "Brendan Voyage" by Shaun Davey then? Liam O'Flynn + Scottish Opera's orchestra. It was magnificent. It's a piece of music I've had in my collection for a long time, but to hear it played live...............! And thanks to CC friends, got a front row seat right under Liam's nose: maybe not the best place for balance of sound or seeing the whole orchestra, but great for studying the intricacies of how the uillean pipes are played.

And then we had Altan plus orchestra, a format they've been trying out in Ireland, apparently to great acclaim. The band were slightly more subdued than when I last saw them in Sidmouth in a big marquee, where they had everyone on their feet stamping and dancing, but musically last night's performance was very fine stuff. Different venue, different style, different agenda, but no less valid. The orchestra produced some lovely sustained harmonies for the songs and some flourishing finishes to the reel sets.

Posts: 3248
Posted: 21-Jan-2008 13:54
I've seen the "Brendan Voyage" performed live two or three times with different orchestras involved. It's a fine piece and I don't think you could go far wrong here. I'd imagine Altan + orchestra would be very interesting too.

However, I'm inclined to agree with Norman that there's an obsession these days for projects with orchestras etc... and several other wonderful ideas which don't always "come off". Much of this is just to satisfy "the funders", "sponsors" etc whoever they might be and the "bread and butter" music is often neglected as a result. I appreciate the money usually comes with conditions attached but before embarking on high falutin' and, in many cases, quite irrelevant projects the potential recipients be they festival/concert organisers or musicians/artists should firstly question if what they are doing is really necessary.

Rant over. :-)

Posts: 12842
Posted: 21-Jan-2008 14:00
Isn't the 'project with orchestra' nonsense just another job creation scheme?
Posts: 135
Posted: 21-Jan-2008 14:19
"Much of this is just to satisfy "the funders", "sponsors" etc whoever they might be and the "bread and butter" music is often neglected as a result." How do you know that? It may happen but there are many examples of musicians or composers having an idea and going out to find the funds. As for "other wonderful ideas which don't always "come of' "', that's in the nature of experiment. I've heard a lot of stuff that in my opinion didn't work, much of it entirely straightforward actually and not at all experimental, but I'd never criticise people for trying. If one feels that something doesn't work, then by all means let's say so giving reasons but it is in the nature of the beast that adventurous and imaginative musicians will try new things and we should welcome that. There's an awful lot that Norman Chalmers doesn't like and he's entitled to his opinion but I often find myself disagreeing!
Posts: 3248
Posted: 21-Jan-2008 14:40
OK. I'm probably guilty of generalising here but the impression I get is that funding seems to be directed more towards specific projects, education and so on rather than subsidising regular concerts. There are exceptions to this, of course, and the "Tune Up Tour" would be a good example.

"How do you know that?"
Well, I don't exactly but that's how it seems. I'm sure your experience of such matters is much greater than mine and I'm prepared to stand corrected, if necessary.

"it is in the nature of the beast that adventurous and imaginative musicians will try new things and we should welcome that."

Of course, many of these projects are very good and whether one considers if they work or not is also down to a matter of taste in a lot of cases. However, " trying new things" shouldn't necessarily be funded although good ideas should be encouraged. There's a difference between assisting and funding somebody who has a good imaginative idea as opposed to just getting them to "come up with something" to justify spending the money which has been received for this purpose.

Posts: 135
Posted: 21-Jan-2008 15:52
Not sure we disagree here EFCinfo

You are absolutely right about funding being directed more towards specific projects, education and so on rather than subsidising regular concerts. To some extent regular concerts in some venues are subsidised more indirectly because the venues receive funding from SAC, Councils, and the like and then decide how they are going to spend it. There's a good deal to be said for that of course. In England the Arts Council are (or were - who knows now they are in some difficulties) prepared to fund tours, even small ones, by artists. It's competitive of course but the money is there.

I think people are not often asked to "come up with something" to justify spending the money which has been received for this purpose" because in order to get the funds in the first place venues and other organisations usually have to be pretty specific. It shouldn't happen at all of course.

Posts: 57
Posted: 21-Jan-2008 18:27
A load of festival reviews from over the weekend in today's Scotsman.....

Posts: 7970
Posted: 21-Jan-2008 21:45
Herald Reviews:
Altan & the Brendan Voyage GRCH - 5 stars

Steve Earle - 5 stars GRCH

Praise of Ben Dorain, City Hall 3 stars

Punch Brothers with The Bills, Old Fruitmarket 4 Stars

Liam Clancy and Danu, Old Fruitmarket 3 stars

Lauren MacColl with Maeve MacKinnon St Andrew's in the Square 5 stars

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