A view on Fishing,Community and Life on the NW coast of Scotland

Posts tagged ‘Rhiannon Giddens’

And Part 2

Day 3 Laid back start to the day and went through to Edinburgh to put my very dirty camera in for a clean. All went smoothly apart from the fact that I had to leave the camera as it was a fairly big job. Going through Linlithgow I dozed off and woke up coming into Queen Street, how time flies. Going back though tomorrow. Great not having a vehicle down, with no parking fines, no stressful city driving, lots of walking and public transport. Then it was off to sort out my rover ticket and discounts. The Celtic Connections box office are very helpful and being pleasant and the good humour helps every one.

Evening saw us heading out to the City Halls to see The Wainwright Sisters. They were preceded by Ethan Johns who, although it seemed he had a newish band, played a fine set. I did not know much about him but was surprised that I knew one of his songs. Becoming a music nerd. The Wainwrights were simply brilliant, funny, homely and, of course, quirky and very musical. A full set of fine songs I have never heard before based largely based on lullabies and fairly dark as well. Apart from El Condor Pasa (If I could). Their dresses bought by brother Rufus were a theme throughout the evening, bit of a bad uniform theme. This has turned out to be the best Festival yet and that does not include all the music at the Festival Club, the many, many concerts we have not seen. The best way to deal with this Festival is to completely ignore what you can’t see and not wonder if you are missing out on anything. As the camera was in Edinburgh this is the only , but poor photo of the Wainwrights taken on iPad.

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Day 4 just back from Hillhead and another fine,fine night of music. Tuesday was a quiet night for music and although Rachel Sermani was very tempting the price put me off. We applied for Mike Harding tickets for his Radio 2 but did not get any and I then went for BBC ALBA’s show at the Hillhead Book Club. Turns out it was the right choice. No real idea what to expect and it was with a fair amount of patience we settled down to lots of lights, cameras and sound guys organising a night of music. We thought we ended up with a duff seat but that mattered little and we saw as much as we wanted. Gentle start with a bit of Gaelic and what reminded me a little of Na h-Oganaich, a band from the 80s.

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Ewen Macpherson, nice chat earlier as he had spotted us coming in, was playing with a mixture of musicians and as Gillie Brighe. Grand start with lots of interruptions and links and interviews. Then it was The Edith Piaf Show, stunning set and yes we got Regret Rein. She was brilliant show girl and a great back up band.

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Then it was the Wainwrights again and they were as good as last night, (If I Could) heard again was stunning. They were on the other more distant stage, slightly unseen but sounding great. We then finished up with James Grant. He was just on the verge of losing his tolerance when he was asked to do the interview before his set just as he was ready to start. There were lots of links and interviews that tried the patience of the artists and some went with the flow slightly better than others He held it together with lots of humour in the end and his music was cracking.

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Reminded me a little of Jackie Levin although a bit more upbeat. Finding out so much about these cracking musicians. James Grant passed me by but a wee search and he is one of those guys that you realise you do know, that is, as singer with Love and Money.

So another full on day completed which started in Edinburgh, picking up the camera, a splurge on CDs and lunch at the Royal Concert Hall. Recovery afternoon before the night out at Hillhead.

Day5 a film followed by a meeting of friends at the Cafe Gandolfi. Then round the corner to The Old Fruit Market to see and listen to Jarlath Henderson

9Q7Q2501 and Rhiannon Giddens.

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Had a couple of ciders and a wonderful evening. The melancholy Jarlath accompanied by familiar faces such as Innes Watson,

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played a fine set interspersed with pipes, guitars and fiddles. Pretty dam good for a support act but we are getting used to this. Not really sure I have the right words to describe Rhiannon’s show. Just immense apart from the dry ice. Anyone who sings Patsy Kline and  gaelic puirt a beuil in the same set along with a rocking banjo and rapid southern fiddle sits at the top table.

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Huge amount of emotion in the music and one of those shows that are timeless and you do not want it to end. And then the last walk along Argyll street for the year after some goodbyes. The one down side to all the enjoyment and music was walking past the several homeless people sitting on the pavements, the knowledge of how fortunate you are to be going to these events, the warmth, camaraderie, food and drink at our fingertips and then you pass these poor unfortunates and you question the society you live in. Every one will have a story of some disruption in their lives as being there does not appear to be one of choice.

Not too early a start but after pre ordering and picking up tickets made it onto the Aberdeen train for Inverness. Lots of time for snoozing, only just waking up for the change over at Perth. Ending up in Dundee would not have helped the signing off of the Pier books. Duly done and then onto the Kyle line before an evening at the Inn. How easily you slip back into the way of ones world, paper work, work at the Inn and tomorrow fishing politics with a little bit of Hydro thrown in, up to 90kw now.

Going back to the Festival I think this picture sums up it all for me, the joy of the artists making superb music to appreciative audiences.

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A Winter’s Moan.

The trip through to Inverness went well, beginning with the Whoopers on the near side but quickly making their way across as soon as we stopped.

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Clear roads but cold

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and at times beautiful but bleak scenery.

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It was a long drive just to get volunteer books done in time and I think my tenure is coming to an end. Made it through sixteen years only being late the once. Set up a system that puts everything in place for a next year hand over. There is definitely a moody feel about the community with people not happy with broadband, talking about the people leaving the community, the falling school role and a general discontent in many conversations about the state of roads and other services in the community. I know there are people working really hard to keep things going but you do go through spells of wondering “Is it worth it?”Sometimes you have to go through a period of crisis management to survive and in theory you are supposed to be stronger coming out the other side. When you see four young families either leaving or planning to leave it is disheartening that people’s efforts may be for nought and the community will be an attractive tourist destination serviced by people who live here for six months of the year.

Just reread this and will leave it for posting and hope that this is just a pessimistic low point, coupled to the time of year. But back to the scenes from yesterday

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which were uplifting and the hope that the music coming up over the next few days will banish the negativity. If The Lone Bellow and Rhiannon Giddens don’t do that I am in a spot of bother. (Took a little break there to compound the feeling of gloom and read a dire prediction given by Paul Mason on the world economy.) It’s about time there was another gathering of community enablers so that we can share all the ups and downs of our small town politics. To finish here is the reminder I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.

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The light sometimes literally takes your breath away.

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Still Summer in Cambridge.

Very briefly you think what is happening back home, but it is brief. This Festival is so good, intimate if you can say that when 14000 people are wandering about listening to some cracking music. 9Q7Q0515 Yesterday morning was busy and we did not have to move from the Main Stage till after two as Irish band, Goitse, got us off to a flying start. The name is an informal Irish greeting “come here” and we did. Beautiful combination of bodhran, fiddle and song was a fine wake up. 9Q7Q0541 The Festival was starting earlier each day. Then a blue grass band all singing and playing with the one Mike, old time. Their harmonies , lovely to hear, and you knew the blurb was right when they said their influences were Bill Munroe and the Carter Family. They were from Pensylvania and called The Stray Birds. 9Q7Q0549 And finally for this session Show of Hands, who I know from a cd of Andy’s, and were brilliant musical protest song singers. Cynically sarcastic view on the greed of the few is probably the best way to put it. In a sort of surreal way you are still aware of the world still turning outside the Festival site and put into song and sung by the Show of Hands confirm you are not alone in how you view the world. 9Q7Q0550 Had to take a break 9Q7Q0523 and a couple of hours in the afternoon meant loins girded and back into it. The hours spent at the camp base were at times chaotic but everything was immaculate the next morning for another go at it all. Nick, who was a one time resident of Applecross was there in spirit but not in body this year. Although he is a long term participant he decided to take a break but his last years escapade was mentioned a few times. He was in touch after his last visit saying how much he enjoyed seeing this band, but it was politely pointed out that it was the only one he saw due to a certain over indulgence on his part. Cambridge has many different effects on the body and soul.  Gentle start of blues with Alvin, sitting outside listening rather than watching at the side of Stage 2, before a racous half hour with some Quebec boys, a three piece called De Temps Antan, at the Club Tent. Stood at the back and listened as they were seated but what a sound they produced of Quebecois. 9Q7Q0555 Then onto experiencing  a highlight listening to Rhiannon Giddens of Chocolate Drops. We were gobsmacked as she included everything from Odetta, Patsey Cline to a Puirt a Beul sung so fast and yes in Gaelic. 9Q7Q0557 We all were simply captivated and her hour was rapid. No over runs at Cambridge with everyone starting and finishing on time. The sound team were pretty stunning in getting all the sound checks done in allotted times. Almost dazed some of us took a little food break  while Joan Baez played her set. Listened from a distance and after some food and now the ever present Crabbies we wandered in to catch the last of the set, singing Imagine with the rest of the crowd. And then Treacherous, 9Q7Q0571 this crazy adrenaline fuelled band from our parts. 9Q7Q0565 A dozen guys playing stunning traditional instruments to a jumping crowd. 9Q7Q0560 As well as repetitive and building rythmns coupled with a light show the whole is a piece of musical theatre that enters your being. 9Q7Q0568 Just before the end of Baez noticed some one on the way out to get ready for Treacherous and it was a regular of theirs, Jacky who was here with Mark. Finally met some one I knew, this is the Inverness syndrome, always bumping into some you know. Maybe it is the Scottish community mentality.  Back to the stage, the fifty five years legs were twenty again. 9Q7Q0574 Down at the front and bouncing with the rest of a packed audience. 9Q7Q0564 Music takes you places, so ends an exhausting day in fine music and great company again.

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