‘Starless’ and Kaela Rowan

Celtic Connections

Friday 27 Jan, 7:30 pm

Mitchell Theatre

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Kaela Rowan and her band of very highly experienced musicians triumph on stage as an act mixing ancient music and themes with a sheer weight of importance and storytelling. Her voice was open to the audience feeling, her every step during each song was an interval from the world while still sharing it in a meaning full way. Her high tones made visual images a thing of strength and for periods I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Her songs varied in style and swam with emotions; there was also a most welcoming atmosphere in the Mitchell theatre. It was a warm and cosy space for the crowd to enjoy themselves in a great platform of musical forms and good levels of heart felt lyrical and melodic scores.

The evening of the Starless show was music of a compilation of blending powerful, soulful traditional music with rock n’ roll. A great part of the show was the large entourage of highly talented, well known, in Celtic musical circles, musicians who performed with utmost dedication. There was an atmosphere between them of bonding, as you would find in a travelling circus, like a band of loving and faithful friends with open loyalty to each other. The music inspires a restless impulse for self-betterment and a desire for spiritual cleansing and healing. At times the songs boomed forward in loud and celebratory ways and found plenty of ways of portraying tearful hauntingly beautiful lyrics and melodies. The accompaniment of a stringed section and a piper was mixed with electric sounding aspects, on electric guitar and each song began with recorded snippets of electric sounding, industrial type music.

The evening was an amalgamation of variety, though not a variety show, the movement on stage of varying vocalists who all had different voices and distinctive styles helped the evening stand out far beyond other traditional music. Kaela sang a number of songs with the starless ensemble standing out again, she sang with the appearance of strongly, meaningful  heart rending subject material. The ancient side of the show was in playing music from many hundreds of years ago which brought with it a sense of great appeal for the audience, who sat transfixed, with a quiet delight. The evening had a sense of compassion and an air of concern and maturity to it while also sharing in terrible, destructive meaning, but that was part of the show as it is part of human life, this was very special. The variety took the form of inclusion of instruments in the number of stringed to a quiet music of guitar and vocals. The sense of group was another strength wonderful to behold, it was a clear cut occasion of specialist Scottish music.

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An air of internationalism is also constant within the Connections apparel and its consciousness is imbued with it, making the related transaction across the water where it finds some hidden depths in the buzz of one of its shows. The songs were disposed of many themes that would have filled the heart of writers of some experience expressing themselves through themes that went on to infiltrate the great access of this music and of very personal life experience. When the stage boomed it was like being absorbed in a wonderful fireworks display; splendid, bright and perhaps even glorious. An ovation for the performers of the show was an example of how well a Glasgow audience can behave, but it was a perfect metaphor of holding up the cup of plenty for the happening journey we all has just experienced. Swimming in styles and different focuses, also swimming in sheer number of collaborators who individually stand with firm feet, a strong head and lively heart in their field of musical performance and recording. Well worth a little research to further experience more of this kind of evening for celebration.

Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly

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