Silas And Saski & The Electronic Ozric Tentacles

Aulde Reekie
Friday 18th Feb 2022

Back in Feburary 1992, when I was going through the mental and emotional crisis that would awaken me to my true healing path. A beautiful friend called James Pearson was working in a record shop in Leeds and he gave me three CDs, By a band that I had never heard of before called the Ozric Tentacles. Thats when Erpland, Pungent Oflugentt and Strangitude came into my life, (I love you my old friend ❤ ) It was the same year that I listened to my calling to be at Glastonbury Festival, hitched down from Bradford and under the fence.

That’s when I fist saw The Ozric Tentacles full band ensemble. Perform this new magical music that had recently become part of the Divine cannon. It was a magical experience and very much the soundtrack to my early 90s life. I saw the Ozric live lots after that between 92 and 95 and have always made sure I saw them perform at all the Glastonbury;s that I attend while working in the Healing Fields. Also the Ozrics techno offshoot Eat static, I have always loved and always bring them into the mix when Divine DJ’s, Eat Static performed at Eden a few years back when they did a set in The Vishnu Lounge. Brilliant stuff as always. However the last time that I saw The Ozrics full Band Experience outwith Glastonbury festival was at Queens Hall in Bradford in Feb 95, There is always an orchestra of musicians packing the stage, because The Ozric Tentacles are a big band.

So when my lovely friend Stacey Hayes told me that the Ozrics were performing Bannermans in the catacombs of The Cowgate in Aulde Reekie’s Old Town, I thought Aye right how they gonna get the Ozrics Orchestra on stage at Bannermans. Its a small venue. Then I learned it was a stripped-down techno-infused Ozric Tentacles taking the stage for the first time in Edinburgh, Indeed, how could I have possibly missed this one?, The Ozric Tentacles are intrinsic on my spiritual path, I have come a long way since 1992, when The Ozric Tentacles taught me that it’s perfectly respectable to be a Wizard. This was the last night of Master Wizards Ed Wynne and Silus Neptune The genius behind The Electronic Ozric Tentacles UK tour. Performance artists are always at their best on the last night of a tour, because they are so well-rehearsed. Exciting Stuff ❤ And what a scoop.

The first act of the evening, Silus And Saski took to the stage of a packed to rafters Bannermans. The husband and wife duo captivated. with a multi-instrumental dance Spiritual performance. That immediately grabbed the attention of the Audience, This was really really special, I knew it would be, Silus is the Keyboard Wizard behind the Ozrics and Eat Static so as you can imagine just how good this was going to be. Saski is a Spiritual Healer and it really shone through and with the voice not far removed from Kate Bush, Saskis dance style is very similar to Ms Bush’s too and to be able to sing so beautifully with total soul. Wow, we were blessed by the best.

Silus Neptune is one part of The Electronic Ozric Tentacles joined by Ed Wynne the grandmaster and Visionary behind The Ozrics massive repertoire Along with Saski on Flute and more delicious vocals. This trio of Cosmic Psychedelic Divine heroes took the capacity audience on a journey to the Spiritual Realms and back again. A 90 minute set bathed in moving morphing psychedelic patterns the Cosmic Masters had the capacity audience in the palms of their hands as they treated us to Psi infused renditions of the Ozric Tentacles cannon drawn from over thirty years of successful live and recorded work at one point while Saski played the flute she took the form of Krishna a spellbinding example of performance art and musical production.

Classic and contemporary Ozric pieces were represented seamlessly to create the best club night in the solar system, as one can imagine, there was nae much room to dance I managed an hour at the front (Ish) totally transfixed before I retreated back to find space to dance to this electronic brilliance.

Climaxing the performance with Sploosh this was the best Rave any of us had been to in years. Indeed we were blessed by this master class of having a thoroughly Good Time and all in the catacombs of Edinburgh’s Old town. A suitable venue to end a UK wide tour. For one night only, Avalon came to Edinburgh. What a brilliant night.

After the performance, I headed to the merch table and bought the new Ozrics album “Space For The Earth” And Silus And Saski’s EP “The Power Of Three” ( New Ozrics Mix coming soon) Ed Wynne and Silus Neptune were stood in front of me, I was a bit starstruck ater such an amazing experience, the only words I could muster were “Thankyou” Even now while writing this I find it hard to express the gratitude I have for The Ozrics and all that they have brought to my life. For Divine it’s been a thirty-year journey of growth a development. When the student is ready, the master will appear.

Good Time Divine ❤

Words: Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

Photography: Nita Wings

Sian with Michael McGoldrick Quintet and Leyla McCalla

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Celtic Connections
5th Febuary, 2022

The Sian and Michael McGoldrick evening was very well fitted at the New Auditorium space at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. It would be an evening of collaboration brought about for the Connections. Michael and Sian are well known Scottish musicians so the Gaelic celebration carried on in these cold days.

Leyla McCalla took to the stage and began her soulfully endearing set of self composed music chosen to cast the evening away. Her talents include singing and Cello among other things and her style showed itself with influences of all kinds. We could but delight in its firm tempos and rigid castings, something liken of nature itself and even putting wisdom to sound! We found her so beyond in her graces that outperformed her actual youthful age as she brought her whole self to the stage.

When the quintet got to the gig it was to reiterate the stories and songs traditionally carried by the music at hand. The triumphantly Scottish sounding qualities had been vitalised by the inspired choice of support act. So we were again treated to the resplendent and always with a good sense of reality of a show to play with. The deep sense of this music resounds with flute and pipe instrument’s that had the room reverberating and gave connections that whistled along in styles, giving out the strength in the vibrant importance of Traditional Scottish music that implores its roots.

The ensemble had musicians brought together for a very tightly played and loosely given return to the stage. Selected were a group who so flexibly played as if they had been together for years. And the placement of songs that came from the McGoldrick ensemble levelled the evening in the inheritance to the yearly Connections.

So melodic was this music; that has been part of the Scottish and Gaelic music scene forever, capable to just enthral our happy ears to listen and also enjoy the rich sight in front of us. The quintet’s unfailing sound has been described as in likeness to Crosby, Stills and Nash but they had their own musical feet to plant. And again each of the group onstage shared many years of playing live behind them as they grow in stature. Well known for their flute based and whistle based songs written to the heights of its craft.

This music offered a many facetted host of connections between modern and traditional but the magic through the ages has lost none of its appeal and relevance for the Gaelic side of Scottish heritage. And it is in evenings like this, brought about by the Celtic Connections that we can really value in their advances on the world stage.

And with that enhanced revelry the music remained beautiful and still very sound. For though the themes tell of long remembered heart ache of the land, the spirit itself is high and welcoming. In their self titled album brought out in 2020, produced by the well known Donald Shaw, the power and prestige offers a kind of listening that is full of every wonderful and awakening aspect of this music.

What a great vehicle music is from these artists point of worldwide view, and how well that music endows all of its expression’s! All of which includes enjoyment in their musical universality and tendencies in its appeals, with its greatly varied original tracks.

It was another ever so relaxed atmosphere that was great about the occasion and of the mood of the festival itself. The organisation seems to go without a hitch as when the musicians take to stage in confidence with the kind of bonding that travels the room immediately. It is very much a pleasure to be part of, assured as we were of quality, the talented tales expressed in music by ever so experienced artists.

It makes of January a different experience, as it flows from show to show. And the music holds a light to its roots with a plentiful display always straight from the heart. The evenings act was an exploration and experiment of the sound driving every thought through with extended flute to harry the story with beauty and a great identity.

The warmth, welcoming and intimate revelation on show was lapped up and dearly held by the audience in a timeless tract that offered time out from the weather outside. The sense of well-being carried through the room from start to finish. And we were all again left with great thought and great times at heart. This is no exaggeration get on down to a Connection gig and you’ll see just what I mean.

Daniel Donnelly

Celtic Connections Digital Pass 2022: Dùsgadh / Anoushka Shankar’s Orchestral Qawwali Project

What to do with Celtic Connections 2022 Festival Pass, which gives you 12 hours of streamed musical action. Last year the idea of a digital festival was pretty much the only way to keep the Celtic Connections alive, but it was done so well that it should hopefully remain a major part of the festival from here on in. Not everyone can get to Glasgow & on the day I was meant to go myself, storms prevented my leaving the Isle of Arran, but luckily I had my pass.

I watch’d & rewatch’d a couple of shows, the first being Anoushka Shankar’s Orchestral Qawwali Project. She is the world-renowned heir to her father Ravi Shankar’s iconic legacy, a sitar player and composer, she has spent her career mixing her own Qawwali heritage with a great variety of styles including flamenco &electronica, collaborating with such diverse luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Patti Smith, Joshua Bell and Sting.

On this occasion she has bedded in with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, which perfectly accompanined each Qawwali as it started gently & then slowly ramp up the vibes into a hypnotic reverie energizing musician & audience alike. Epic vocal sweeps from Abi Sampa, the UK’s first female qawwal, Amrit Singh’s tabla, hand claps & modern orchestral arrangements full of swirling strings together offer’d a soul-stirring & intricate journey thro Anoushka’s ouevre. A wonderful experience!

My second show was a multi-media collaboration between Scottish BAFTA-winning animator Cat Bruce, & Highland five-piece Breabach, call’d Dùsgadh (awakening). Created during the lockdown, when artists were straining to at least create something – I composed a musical myself, about Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow – something really beautiful arrived on the planet.

Its essentially a tradional Scottish folk tale set to wild celtic strains & bi-lingual narration by Margaret Bennett. You get the choice of either Gaelic or English, & despite knowing nothing of Gaelic, I preferr’d to listen to the piece in the language which sat more naturally with the music. This consisted of material from Breabach’s eagerly-awaited seventh album, due in spring 2022, as they continue to hone and develop their music’s brilliantly dynamic dialogue between tradition and modernity.

Damian Beeson Bullen

Gnoss: The Light of the Moon and Mairi McGillivray

The Mackintosh Church, Celtic Connections
3rd Ferbuary, 2022

Does it get better than last night’s concert held at the wonderful Mackintosh Church in the Springbank area of Glasgow? A venue of many years now the former church has a bar and is nicely prepared for gigs with the original seats and stage where an alter would have been. But it came to my attention that Church of Scotland buildings don’t have one.

Gaelic tradition was on the tongue of both performances by support act; Mairi McGillivray and the upcoming legends that are Gnoss. Their name translates as Knowledge of spiritual matters, a very philosophical sounding name and indeed they celebrate it through their very Celtic tunes, instrumental and vocal.

Mairi’ vocals went to bring the occasion into line to retell stories that she sang so personally of terrific passages in history where as she said herself greed was often the instigator of. I thought myself transposed by these stories and found a lot to be gained from the honesty pouring out of melodic flourishing and thrilling, unbelievable notes.

The mood of music was more than enhanced by the flexibility of performers who easily swapped instruments and even acts that had the ever present Celtic closeness between them as they shone forth and shared its power and in the case of Gnoss it’s supra happiness. 

My own interests were sparked as I saw and heard the rich and benevolent songs, even the view alone fixed a determined atmosphere and I couldn’t help but become very curious about Gaelic life in Scotland. So the far reaching yet traditionally based movement of sound was appropriated by the success of bands like Gnoss or singers like Mairi, and a key thing is in winning awards. In 2015 the Danny Kyle Award was given to them, the award for dedicated Celtic roots are a team for the advancement and popularising for this music and from the culture itself.

Gnoss were to play the entire song list from their star filled album ‘The Light of the moon’ not to be confused with ‘by the light of the silvery moon’. There were 4 musicians from the travelling band but the evening was to welcome 4 others to help fill the much enjoyed music in these restricted days. We may all reflect on the magnitude of organisation found in the hardships and obstacles that Covid has implemented in its restrictions. But had it not jumped into these waters we could have been without the festival for another year.

It is the live act trying to return that has this feeling of triumph for the gigs of this year’s Celtic Connections festival 2022 also dealing with a lack of staff. But maybe the magnitude of gratefulness is giving a special light for everyone to bask in. The relaxed performance, hung on the band and special guests cool, groovy, smiling and happy interactions also held the feeling of incredibly strong roots as they planted their feet or sat on a comfy couch.

The sound made by the ensemble was so revering, endearing as they loved just entertaining, with a wholly accomplished unbroken, unfaltering rhythm that followed just about every instrument as each took lead. 

All of the things were there happening as we sat in chairs to just soak it in. Gnoss are one of the more revered and famous of the Celtic traditional music scene. And they are very happily involved in reviving it by just being brilliant. These young men and woman had not a shred of nerves but certainly shredded into their instruments all of which brought something of a phenomenon. Let’s hope their music will ring in many places around the world, they are good enough and more than ready for it. 

Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly

Manran & Moxie

Celtic Connections

City Halls, Glasgow,

28th January, 2022

Manran translates into English as ‘melodic sound’ and for tonight it was main act of a Celtic Connection’s gig at the Old Fruitmarket in the Glasgow City Halls. As I stepped in to the hall it dawned on me that I was in for a great performance to come. I made my way up to the balconies that are on three sides of the hall.

The view from up high gave the spectacle a whole new light. Enter ‘Moxie’ the support band. ‘Moxie’ are a group who are touring worldwide with their magical vibrant music. They plugged the show immediately with the many fusions of sound and style and aspect. The place was pretty much packed on the ground level and the energy that the band was stirring up reached right across to the back of the hall where a voice without a mic could travel adding to the close bonds evident in the mood of the evening.

In their short performance they had warmed everything up perfectly for the Gaelic Band known as ‘Manran’ to take to the occasion. Their new, old and accomplished varying of different styles came together in Scottish folk music offering volumes of techniques skills. After ‘Moxie’ sang their own songs with ambient vocals, thumping rhythms and fantastic beats. The hall blew up to Manran’s traditional manic speed Gaelic music that was full of changes and instrument swaps with ease and certain naturalness.

 The electric vibe of ‘Manran’ flowed from their tight adherence created after good years of success in touring, recording  and bringing the music to a wide range of fans who were there for this concert. And the energy and tempos were appreciated with roaring and whooping gratitude from the crowd.

The five person act stood in a row at the tip of the stage for some numbers and dispersed sporadically for others. In changing the set up the vocal and instrumental input of songs had the strong thread of Celtic sounds behind it but the songs were so varied in their individual content covering oceans of tempos, and meanings. With for example love at their heart and loneliness the music swelled making soft expressions and then firing into cult like and determined jigs to revel and stir ourselves with wondrous dancing.

On the very lively, welcoming note the gratitude poured out of every corner of the hall. Set to entertain and even enthral its audience with a party of many, there was a great closeness at the vibrantly beating heart of the occasion. If you get the chance and have never heard them before, you would not be disappointed by the vibe and will be thrilled at the entertainment.

Daniel Donnelly