Sunday, 17 January 2016

The Carrying Stream - Celtic Connections 1

This is the first of a series of reviews of Celtic Connections concerts. I'm doing a couple of summary reviews for the Morning Star (and indeed did a preview piece here.) but I thought some of these concerts deserve a full review to themselves. Here is the first, of the opening concert
The 50th anniversary of an association formed to promote and preserve Scottish Traditional music sounds a bit 'worthy', conjuring up images of bearded men in Aran jumpers! But the difference between the image and the reality of traditional music in Scotland is soon exposed. Celtic Connections' opening concert for 2016 was directed by young singer Siobhan Miller - Radio 2 Young
Siobhan Miller
folk singer of the year a few years back, and twice winner of the Scots Singer of The Year award at the Scottish Trad music Awards. And the TMSA is at least as concerned with nurturing new talent as
preserving old. That is immediately obvious from the impressive opening from he National Youth Pipe Band, backed up by the amplified guitars of the house band!
The concert also varies between standards from the Scottish traditional music scene, like Shepheard, Speirs and Watson, and Adam MacNaughon and more recent innovators like Kris Drever, sparky Gaelic singer Mischa Macpherson and - youngest of the lot! - the Ceilidh Trail Band, just back from a tour 'to see how professional musicians can survive' as MC Mark Stevens put it. Any illusion that only Scots from the Highlands are part of the 'carrying stream' was also put to rest with slots from US singer Rayna Gellart and - even further out - Londoner Sam Lee!
Sheena Wellington
Stalwarts of the Scottish folk scene there were in plenty - Arthur Johnstone and Brian Miller, Sheena Wellington (reprising her Scottish Parliament-opening A Man's a Man), Barbara Dickson, Malinky and surprise (and welcome) guests, Aly Bain and Phil Cunninghame, but the real strength of the TMSA is its willingness to absorb and protect traditional acts while nurturing and developing new talent. It is that which enabled Siobhan Miller to get away with bringing Barbara Dickson on for only one song. It is that which led the packed stalls of the Royal Concert Hall to welcome every act with warmth and affection, and it is that which meant the packed stage could sign off with Freedom Come All Ye and The Parting Glass without a false start.

No comments:

Post a Comment