Posts Tagged ‘fidil’

Celtic Connections Round 1

Posted on January 16th, 2013 in News, Recent posts by .

Got a dose of the January blues? Well, my suggestion would be to make your way to Glasgow for a much-needed, life-affirming shot of fabulous music courtesy of Celtic Connections – the annual folk, roots and world music extravaganza, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

First of all, a couple of mind-boggling stats to get your head round: there will be over 2,100 artists from across the world descending on Glasgow, playing at over 20 venues over the duration of 18 nights. So, with that in mind, you’ll hopefully appreciate that it’s been quite a job trying to choose my highlights and with so many to choose from, look out for another blog tomorrow with my choices for the second half of the festival.

The 20th anniversary opening concert tonight looks set to be a rousing affair with a stellar line-up including a ‘Who’s Who’ of Celtic talent: performers include Eddi Reader, Julie Fowlis, Flook, Cara Dillon, Capercaillie, Chris Stout and Phil Cunningham plus a host of others (January 17, Concert Hall).

English folk often gets overlooked with such an abundance of local talent, but no fear of that happening this year, with Spotlight England being one of the partners of this year’s Showcase Scotland. Artists performing include Sam Carter (January 31, Tron Theatre), Spiro (January 31, St Andrew’s in the Square), Bellowhead (February 1, O2 ABC), Lucy Ward (pictured left) (February 1, St Andrew’s in the Square), Bella Hardy (February 2, Tron Theatre) and the Tom McConville Band (February 3, Mitchell Theatre).

Galician piper and firm favourite at Celtic Connections is Carlos Núñez who is performing with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (January 19, Concert Hall).


Irish faves Kíla team up with the young, much talked about young Gaelic band Mànran for what promises to be a night to test out your Gaelic dance moves (January 19, O2 ABC).

Ethio-jazz legend Mulatu Astatke will be bringing his cool vibes sound and his extraordinary band to the wonderful Old Fruitmarket (January 20, Old Fruitmarket).

Irish trio Fidil who were lauded with a recent Top of the World review in #83 for their latest album The Old Wheel of Fortune (January 22, National Piping Centre).

The ever-inventive Martin Green (accordionist in Lau, pictured right) brings his latest project called Crows’ Bones to one of the festival’s most beautiful venues, St Andrew’s in the Square. Spooky music and ghost tales are guaranteed with Becky Unthank and Inge Thompson, plus nyckelharpist Niklas Roswall (January 23, St Andrew’s in the Square).

More recommendations tomorrow….

If you can’t make it to Glasgow, then fret not, you’ll be able to sample some of the music by tuning into Mary-Ann Kennedy on Radio 3’s World on 3 programme. She’ll be broadcasting live from the Royal Concert Hall on January 18, 25 and February 1.


Julie Fowlis, Duncan Chisholm & co.


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Fun Lovin Criminals frontman Huey Morgan playlist and the 10 best new releases in the April/May issue of Songlines (#83)

Posted on March 15th, 2012 in News, Recent posts by .

The April/May 2012 issue of Songlines – on sale March 16 – features a free covermount CD packed full of the best new sounds from around the world, plus 5 tracks selected by Fun Lovin’ Criminals frontman and BBC radio DJ Huey Morgan.

The issue also features the second free CD Sounds of South Asia.

The Top of the World CD includes tracks from English folk pin-up Seth Lakeman; Tunisian chanteuse Emel Mathlouthi; Senegalese veteran Ablaye Ndiaye Thiossane; Scottish folk supergroup Treacherous Orchestra; the live sound of New Yorkers The Klezmatics; and Palestinian oud virtuoso Ahmad Al Khatib & Youssef Hbeisch, among others.

Pick up your copy here on the website, at selected WHSmith’s and at all good record retailers. Feast your ears on these all-new tracks:

* Ablaye Ndiaye Thiossane ‘Thiere Lamboul’ on Discograph/Sterns
* BBB ‘Part of the Glory’ on Crammed Discs
* Emel Mathlouthi ‘Dhalem’ on World Village
* Seth Lakeman ‘Blacksmith’s Prayer’ on Honour Oak Records
* Ahmad Al Khatib & Youssef Hbeisch ‘Wedding’ on Institut du Monde Arabe
* Fidil ‘Tá do Mhargadh Déanta’ on FIDIL
* Duotone ‘Turning Pages Over’ on ECC Records
* Various Artists ‘Raga Lankadahang Sarang’ on Glossa Music
* The Klezmatics ‘NY Psycho Freylekhs’ on Fréa Records
* Treacherous Orchestra ‘Superfly’ on Navigator Records

Plus Huey Morgan’s playlist:

* Opotopo ‘Agboho’ on Soundway
* Manu Dibango ‘Soul Makossa’ on Global Mix
* Quantic & Alice Russell with Combo Bárbaro ‘I’d Cry’ on Tru Thoughts
* El Combo de Los Galleros ‘Soledad’ on World Circuit
* Willie Colón ‘Ché Ché Colé’ on Fania

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Interview with Celtic Connections’ Donald Shaw

Posted on February 7th, 2012 in Recent posts by .

Well it’s all over. Celtic Connections has – until next year of course – come to an end, and I imagine there were a few sore heads in Glasgow yesterday as a result.

From the almighty opening with banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck and Le Vent du Nord’s tenth Anniversary celebration, to ABC’s headline gigs – Admiral Fallow, Treacherous Orchestra and King Creosote & Jon Hopkins to name just a few; from ‘Deadly Duos’ featured at the City’s Piping Centre, to the impromptu pick-up bands in the festival club and the infamous ‘sessions’ spontaneously taking place everywhere you looked, there was something for everyone under this impressive and eclectic musical umbrella.

Since its incarnation in the mid 90s, CC has garnered a reputation as a stellar festival that represents music across the spectrum, but the festival saw a change in direction when Donald Shaw – Scottish musician, composer, producer, and one of the founding members of the group Capercaillie – came onboard as artistic director in 2006.

“Despite my initial hesitations about the role, I was keen to look for a way to develop the festival from the point it had reached when I came on board,” Shaw tells me during a quick chat in the Concert Hall, during which he candidly admits that he initially turned the role down as he didn’t think he had the background or experience to pull it off.

But how wrong he was, and develop it he certainly did, bringing with him a new element to the festival, namely a host of world music acts, a genre previously ignored by the festival. The 2012 edition of CC saw artists from Pakistan, Portugal, Sweden, Senegal, Armenia and the Australian outback, in addition to the more the more traditionally ‘Celtic’ and traditional folk acts such as Lau, Breabach, Kathryn Tickell, Martin Simpson, Dick Gaughan and June Tabor.

But what is his response to those who criticise the new direction, claiming that these new world acts bear too tenuous a relationship to the umbrella under which the festival’s line-up initially sat?

“The folk musicians that I have approached from countries around the world have always jumped at the chance of coming to Glasgow, meeting other artists from other parts of the world and finding a common voice,” Shaw tells me. “They all have something in common: namely that they are writing new songs while drawing on old traditions and I think it’s for this very reason that none of the world music artists that I’ve booked have thought it at all strange to be invited to play a Celtic festival.”

And more than just introducing these acts to the festival’s audience, Shaw has been eager to encourage ‘cross-fertilisation’ of genres – underpinning the ‘connection’ aspect of the festival’s asuspicious title. This year saw the radical young Irish fiddle trio Fidil perform with Senegalese griot singer and kora player Solo Cissokho, and fadista Ana Moura sing along with N’Diale (a new collaboration between Breton fiddler Molard and Malian vocalist Diarra).

Long may these magical musical experiments continue…

But for those of you that can’t wait until next year for more of the same, CC will be staging a first-of-its-kind, two-day music festival on the Isle of Skye as a finale to the Year of Scotland’s Islands. Taking place on March 23 and 24, the Big Top will feature Rosanne Cash, The Civil Wars, the Michael McGoldrick Band, Aoife O’Donovan of Crooked Still fame, Highland favourites Dàimh and Mànran, who recently won the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Award for Album of the Year.


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