Saturday, 5 August 2017

Rich pickings for the Culture Vulture - Edinburgh Festivals Preview

It seems like some time since I posted anything vaguely cultural here, but that is about to change!

Last Saturday our friends in the Morning Star printed my preview of the Fringe at this year's Edinburgh Festivals. This (and the International Festival) started this weekend and I thought it was worth posting a link to it here. Mine is the second of the two reviews posted there.

The International Festival meanwhile is celebrating its 70 Anniversary. The trade union link has been ably dealt with by Ann Henderson in an earlier Star, but it is a pity that much of the ‘Spirit of ‘47’ events are only available online and not in the printed programme.  

PJ Harvey. pic Maria Mochnaz
In addition to the rich classical and dramatic programme dealt with so ably by my colleague Gordon Parsons in the first half of the Star preview, the contemporary music programme features, PJ Harvey, and Anoushka Shankar. Other contemporary music highlights promise to be the eclectic Benjamin Clementine, and Jarvis Cocker/Chilly Gonzalez in Room 29 of the Los Angeles Chateau Marmont. 

The slightly-less-contemporary music scene sees legendary produce Joe Boyd try and recreate
Joe Boyd. pic Andrew Goertler
the Music of the Incredible String Band – very cellular songs, using a range of guest musicians, (yes he does include Mike Heron). Boyd was one of the seminal producers of the ‘60s, working with
Pink Floyd, Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson, R.E.M., John Martyn, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Billy Bragg, and Nick Drake as well as ISB.(An interesting Nick Drake link is the appearance by the Unthanks at this year's book festival. They have reinterpreted the little-known song and poetry of Molly Drake, Nick's mother. Their amazing voices promise an intriguing treatment.)

In the Classical Music side there are as ever, many gems. A spectacular two-orchestra show with the RSNO and the Mariinsky Orchestra marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution.  A flamenco version of Carmen from Spain’s Maria Pages company rubs shoulders with an opera version of Steven Berkoff's resetting of the Oedipus story, Greek. Written by Mark-Anthony Turnage the myth is updated and set in London's east end. Expect references to racism, football violence and industrial unrest! 

I am girding my loins for a busy (but hopefully not unrewarding) three weeks!

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