The Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh April 28th, 2023 Tradfest
With a coffee in my hand I embarked on a journey to Edinburgh to join in on the 2023 Tradfest folk festival that was to kick off that night with a performance by the lovely Rhiannon Giddens who has teamed up with Fransesco Turrisi for a show of the deepest music from the deepest talent. Rhiannon is a very well received American songwriter, singer, musician whose works have a great impression on the ever expanding world she creates around her.
Fransesco is a multifaceted Italian musician; their bond ship was of a splendid place as we took our seats in the amazing Assembly Rooms building that has its own striking history. It has two balconies to give you some impression of its capacity with a stage built for live music. The two commented frequently about it saying that the room’s visual and vast space had an effect of making for a really nice buzz.
Her support act came on as a duo of two friends who write, play and do everything else together. They played on accordion and violin compositions, self written and held to very far reach where music has a flow that though it sounds and runs as if with no effort or focus fingers were burning. The three pieces went for describing perfectly a moment from life transported to music.
The evening began with the sweetest of dedications and so the room was moulded to the stage for the festivals headliner acts; Rhiannon Giddens and Fransesco Turrisi who stepped on with the grace of a full orchestra yet with the pitter patter of only 4 feet.
Rhiannon is no stranger to the stage or its nuances, the kick off song was chosen with feelings still in the quake of covid’s blessing to the world. Written about a kind of death it was a beginning that by profuse and incredibly intense intelligence, her voice the most daring, darling and fragrant thing you’ve ever heard.
Her connections to folk music are a massive indication of its virility in the modern world who sometimes perhaps find a sense of second hand news about it. There was an undeniable truth, beauty and elevated passion as the almost unending changes of style, instrument, having pace and fiery tempo, and also lending grace in a show of a beauty harkening to the musical freedoms of justice, love, enterprise.
The song ‘Underneath the Harlem Moon’ played about with telling a story, to the right tuning, to the right delivery and to the right sense, it is no wonder she has achieved so many things in modern times. Though she too has had to learn, it seems as though she commands everything she can see and do. She is totally unafraid to set her sights on whatever she wants or needs to say, making music of Old Time, blues, jazz, folk all bundled in to a sound of profound classical and traditional Scottish amazingly enhanced and brought to life.
The sound reverberated as well creating on every level hers and Fransesco’s sound touching with something of a masterpiece of rhythm and that enormous grace and sense of style, forthrightness of spirited ablution. Things having reason in a place where music, laughter and graciousness played part with intimacy to rival for.
She knew her history and had the capacity as souring through in a brilliant kind of freedom, where her heart may find her. Then it’s just her, singing and playing alongside Turrisi in the pages of their book of musical knowledge wide open to a fault. Really brilliant and a great choice to set this coming week alight throwing a great card in first and cementing a kind a talent presence that will make this year’s festival unmissable. An incredibly wonderful standing point that I’m sure there is a great amount of excitement about, I feel close to tears just thinking about it.
To put it in words. To write it down. That is walking on hallowed ground. But it’s my duty… And it’s our duty as The Devout to not only bring your favourite Depeche Mode songs to life, but also your memories.
Barclay Quarton: Frontman, Lead Vocals Keith Trigwell : Programming, Live Keys, Technical, Visuals Reza Udhin : Lead Vocals, Guitars, keyboards, backing vocals Glen Wisbey : Live keyboards, Production.
Depeche Mode have been with me since I was a young New Romantic. when I first fell in love with electronic music. Ripping up dancefloors to the hits, that helped form the musical subculture, the singles from the first three albums. Speak And Spell, Black Celebration and Music For The Masses. Indeed it was the Music For The Masses tour that I had my first Depeche Mode live experience on the 21st of January 1988. in Bradford St Georges Hall. It really was fantastic. I was joined by a bestie called Andy, we had rubbish seats but had the good fortune to meet a tout that swapped our tickets for centre front row balcony. With Depeche Mode performing directly in front of us performing the very songs that make up live double album 101.
This was the last tour that Depeche Mode played relatively small venues before filling mega stadiums. My next time of seeing Depeche Mode live was on the Delta Machine Tour in Glasgows SECC. in 2013. This is when I fell out with mega venues, because I felt that the venue swamped them and that was the last live experience that I attended in a mega venue. Nothing could have eclipsed my first time. I like it up close and personal and it is for that reason I will nae go to arena tours for any band. No matter how much I love them.
It was my friend Rosco that contacted me a couple of weeks ago to tell me about “Devout” The Depeche Mode Tribute Band. Performing the album 101 in its entirety live at la Belle Angele in Edinburgh. Rosco has a ticket for Depeche Mode in Dublin on the current tour, And for reasons that I have already stated and of course not having the readies to purchase a ticket or travel funds. to see the present incarnation of Depeche Mode. He asked me if I fancied going to see Devout, the Depeche Mode Tribute. Performing all of the songs that I experienced back in 1988. of course it was a no brainer. Yes of course. But let me contact The Mumble first to see if I can get a review ticket.
Full Report Coming Soon. Good time Divine ❤
FLAG PROMOTIONS PRESENT
Saturday 6th May 2023
DEPECHE MODE TRIBUTE – THE DEVOUT
(Ex: Speak & Spell) The UK’s finest Depeche Mode Tribute! Special 101 Show plus Greatest Hits 2.5 hours show – No support – Arrive Early!
The ‘Blue Rose Code’ performed at Perth’s theatre on High Street as part of their 2023 UK tour; so I made my way up to take their gig in. They jumped on to the 123 year old stage in a small but resplendent venue royally decorated. The build up was in a comfortable space and the gig (or style of gig) was one of all seating making the experience one of focused attention on the music and the abundantly confident musicians; two guitars, bass, percussion and keyboard, and the well welcomed vocalist Ross Wilson
Someone whispered in my ear that there was a little difference to the evening’s proceedings in that out of the Perth theatre and concert hall music would normally be in the concert hall but there is the Agatha Christie’s play called ‘the Mousetrap’ held there instead, this felt like a good omen in an already interesting evening.
Ross Wilson has been writing and playing for ten years as Blue Rose Code, I’m not sure where he got the name but it’s an effective one as he reaches very deeply into the soul of singing and performing with a great voice that reverberated among us as his audience for whom he stood out to ensure this great reach.
The evening would be a dedication to a ten year celebration in a night called ‘Blue Rose Code; 10 Years Grace’ which alludes to it being ten years since the debut release in 2013 (all those years ago) of the album called ‘North ten’ and the set list was this album in sequence, although the second set was for fresh music and it came from the stage filled with mystery and wonder.
Every possible nail was knocked on the head as we were treated to harmonies in such a variety of styles and shapes of music. With the lead kicking up very fancy work on the guitar as though he was sowing seeds in a field, though his smart dress did not go unnoticed. Their appearance was casual from the way that they were dressed we felt a great individuality to be of an important aspect and this bond of individualism sparked and complimented this truly great and vastly talented act.
It had a sense of something you’ve never seen or heard before such was its freshness, and originality. Taking styles from as many places as possible to even them out in distinctive and very instinctive genre making. They are known to for example blend an American/jazz and even have a taste of pop tough I didn’t really see that.
Instead for me there was a grace present that Ross’ creations in music have gathered to quite a momentum at time reminding of James Brown with a song writing style not entirely unakin to the tones of that other Scottish artist/musician John Martyn.
It was all forth righteous and willing to strip bare the world he inhabits and makes his songs each have rights of their own. And following his lyrics and keeping us up to date with his travels the words were written in a very poetically charged talent whether celebrating or describing many of his life’s tender moments. Of which he has backed up his story by leaving home for a destination many hundreds of miles away to find success for his and his mates to enjoy.
His untiring sense of wonder and love has clearly blessed this band, forming a music that can be classed way up beyond the hemisphere of human experience and no little emotion. His skills had the whole room in a blessing as he busied himself and burrowed deep into an eye widening performance of immaculate, original and totally organically born music.
We took this in under the gallery above us where Ross’s gaze reached in his skilful appraisal in a kind totality that stretched across the deep stage. Wilful, sad, tunefully joyful and being overwhelmed with life’s possibilities; all had the presence of love and we were straightened in an admirable bringing of the sheer quality and sharp style that had everything involved; unwavering and deeply natural; a well known band, to well loved fans and at a cutting edge of its musical mastery of nuance.
Fresh from my recent jaunt to PJ Molloys with Editor Damo, reviewing Mickey 9’s, it felt good to be back out in my home town to sample more of the surprisingly varied cultural delights which Dunfermline has to offer. Last review, beer & sweat soaked moshing. Tonight? Backroom Bar Folk Club action, catching The Isla Ratcliffe Trio, having just missed them in Ullapool last week. I wandered into the Glen Tavern to find the performers playing their instruments in such a spritely fashion, that I initially panicked, worrying that I’d missed the beginning of the set. As it turned out,they were actually warming up, and this it turns out is the degree of verve with which they were compelled to stroke, pluck, sing and tinkle the ivories throughout the evening.
The Glen Tavern plays host to ‘Dunfermline Folk Club’, & a fitting setting it is too. The cosy, wood panelled interior & warm hubbub of chatter fixed me with a Proustian rush, back to ceilidhs of my childhood in Portree & Dunoon, up through more recent sessions watching my mum lead sessions at the sadly departed Uisghe Beathe in Glasgow. A nostalgic pint of McEwans 80/ in hand, I nestled down at a table of the Clubs regulars as the warm up finished & the trio retreated behind a curtain concealed store room in this, the Tavern’s Lounge bar. It’s a glamorous life touring ‘Trad’.
The Folk Club had its own singers to present first however, and Isabel Watson, ‘Club Singer’ by moniker only, regaled the crowd with a lovely soprano rendition of ‘Ma Bonnie Lassie’O’. No invitation was required for audience participation, as she was joined on each courses by sonorous baritones at the tables around me, and by the final chorus every punter in the room including myself, despite being introduced to the melody for the first time that evening, came together in multiple counter-melodies, emphasising the shared sense of community, and spirit in the room. A veritable ‘mini-Mod’. With this atmosphere, combined with the warm spring sunshine still cocking a snook through the windows, it would have taken an exceptional cynic to remain with un-warmed cockles by the time our MC for the evening, the delightfully droll Michael, invited the performers to come out from behind the curtain onto “The Main Stage of the GT Arena.”*
They opened with an instrumental set of 4 tunes, beginning with delicate, precise, fiddle playing soon accompanied by the Cello, pizzicato plucked, & slapped, in perfect staccato accompaniment to Isla, who shifted into tones as slick & luxuriant as silk in perfect contrast. Iona on keyboard joined, Ellen on Cello switched to bow, as the melody switched into a Jacobean foot-tapper. They are supremely tight, whilst also managing to throw in balanced individual flourishes, like a folk version of ‘Cream’, and by the second set of the evening audience & performers alike were as enraptured by Sirens, hypnotically jigging away together in syncopated synchronicity.
The second section opened with a role reversal of cello & fiddle, with Isla providing the percussive pizzicato, allowing the cellist Ellen to display the full breadth of her virtuosity for the first time. I had been delighted to read that Iona is a huge fan of the seminal Maryn Bennett album ‘Grit’, and Isla’s sharp, percussive, stabs of the bow were accompanied by long, sumptuous strokes of the cello strings which evoked the same emotions I experience every time I listen to the opening moments of the epic ‘Liberation’. “Dear Reader, my pen fell, my throat thickened, and my mouth involuntarily dropped open to the width of a finger”. The evening continued along this vein, all the players taking a turn in each set to shine, and flex their virtuosity, each section bookended by genial, light bantering much befitting of the ‘GT Arena’ vibe.
The composition of each of the instrumental pieces is exceptional ,& a real talent for evoking emotion remained a constant throughout the night. ‘Memories of Cape Breton’ is the minimalist title which accompanies the trio as they played exquisitely matched, subtle, counter melodies over 2 layers, to Iona’s soaring and genuinely affecting fiddle. This faded out, and we were left with a haunting cello coda which could have been plucked straight from the pages of a composition by Dr Joby Talbot for ‘A Short Album About Love’.
There were some covers, and ‘King of Birds’ allowed Ellen to further demonstrate her flair as a truly unique performer, curious and apposite squeals of ‘false harmonics’ comparable in their allegorical expressiveness to an avian ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’. The Trad sections are enlivened by delightfully lively keyboard playing, with Iona throwing minor notes in at all the right moments to adroitly emulate the role of accordion. The first half closed with ‘Young Jamie Foyers’. In other hands this can be a trite & anodyne dirge. Instead, our trio leave the crowd heading for the bar with tears in their eyes, as the tune serves to impress once again their talents at composition, harmonies, and a startling ability to wring emotion out of every note.
I used the break to tidy up my notes, order a fresh pint of 80/, put my pad away and settle down to simply enjoy the rest of my evening with the warm crowd, ’70 but still laddish’ MC Michael, and wonderfully talented performers. If the trio are playing in your town any time soon I urge you to take advantage of this raw, affecting, panacea, sure to cure all ills & defrost the most cynical of hearts. Oh, & if you ever find yourself in Dunfermline on a Wednesday night be sure to get yourself down to the ‘GT Arena’ at 8pm. MC Michaels banter is worth the entry fee alone**.
*’Glen Tavern’ Arena **(Ewan, I’ve warned you about taking bribes, Ed.)
It was Divine’s first time at the legendary King Tuts Wah Wah Hut and that was a great cause for excitement, of the Rock N Roll kind. A venue that is just as famous as the brilliant Barrowland Ballroom for attracting musical greatness. It is a venue that drips with musical history well documented by the music press Indeed it is through this that the venue’s name has been burned into my subconscious as a must-do venue. Tonight was the night that my King Tuts cherry was popped.
I arrived in Glasgow off of the 7.30pm bus from Auldee Reekie and headed for my rendezvous with Raymond the amazing photographer and Angel my dancing partner of the night, As I power walked up Saint Vincent Street the anticipation was growing for my first sighting of this Holy Grail of Rock N Roll wonderfulness. It really does glow on first sighting, a smile spread across my face and I just knew that tonight was going to be wonderful. Indeed it was while doing my make-up and styling my hair to the sounds of IST IST’s brilliant new long player “Protagonists”, yes its been on a loop since its arrival through my letterbox 3 weeks ago. A long player that keeps on giving with every play.
It really is a delightful indulgence of the elements that hooked me back in the day. The music that influenced the birth of Goth and the style of Divine. (Check out Divines IST IST preview and “Protagonists” Review on the Mumble Website) IST IST are making massive waves and the new album is flying up the charts and the bands supporting tour of “Protagonists” Is selling out English venues much much bigger than tonight’s intimate blessing of Rock N Roll Grace. Is it any wonder my knickers were soaking? I was completely up for tonight’s blessing in its entirety. The dance was on.
I hadnae been this excited for a band since “Killing Joke” At the Barrowland Ballroom last year. Being an old New Romantic Goth. I was dancing from the moment I entered King Tutz, The warm-up DJ got me in the groove straight away, I was completely up for this but nothing could have prepared me for the excellence of tonight’s support to “IST IST” Post Ironic State are a group of local musicians. tonight’s opening act hit all the right notes collectively, I witnessed true innovation and expert craftsmanship. The lead singer and Drummer Jai McCann. Is a powerful frontman and his voice’s. power Range and sheer passion. Deep and beautiful. in an Ian Curtis/ Andrew Eldritch/ Iggy Pop kind of way, Instantly hooks one, oh aye this guy can sing.
To his right on electronic wizardry and keyboards, The insanely beautiful “Jo Jo” (Josephine Hawley) Who bared more than a striking resemblance to Patricia Morrison. To Jai’s Left. on Bass Guitar, another Gothtastic young geni and master of his instrument, Elliot Johnson. On Drums completing the rhythm section in a mercurial drumming perfection, deep and tribal, Ross Stewart, and on lead guitar, a new recruit to the fold. who had to learn all of his guitar parts in the afternoon before tonight’s Gig. And he did so to perfection. How could anyone not be impressed with such an accomplishment? Jake Blease who is a welcome addition to the band, whose’s name is as interesting and poetic as the collective creative whole, Post Ironic State are a creative force to be reckoned with.
This is the birthing of a mega band. It was when Jai brought a drum to the floor to enthuse the already brilliant rhythm section, reminiscent of the Barundi Beats that inspired Adam And The Antz to creative heights. It was powerful and truly felt like an initiation. Indeed it was an absolute performance of Raw passion and insane chemistry. I really did ask myself. How could any band possibly follow that?
Mark Divine’s words “Post Ironic State” Are gonna be massive. I couldn’t stop myself from dancing. What a truly fantastic night this was turning out to be. That alone was worth the effort of getting to Glasgow and King Tuts. Indeed The New Wave Of New Wave. All of the best bits, defiantly post-punk influences. done in the best possible taste.
Tonight’s Headliners “IST IST” brought the brilliant two-week-old album Protagonists to the King Tuts stage. on a British and European tour to promote the new smash hit long payer. As I said before, King Tuts is by far the smallest venue of the tour, to be honest, King Tuts is tiny, it disnae take many folk to fill it. Of course after nipping outside for a bit of fresh air and gush about how fantastic “Post Ironic State” Were. Honestly, I was that blown away.
The anticipation was growing. I know how important tonight’s gig was going to be for them. Riding on the confidence that the brilliant reaction from the music loving Post Punk Goths everywhere. Protagonists is a breakthrough album for IST IST and the high chart placing it has received. Has ensured capacity audiences for the rest of the tour. That kind of confidence can never be bought it can only ever be earned.
IST IST have worked hard to fill a lot of musical gaps, indeed heralding the New Wave of the New Wave. Both of tonight’s bands came from the same creative space. Bringing the two bands together was a stroke of genius by whoever pulled this one together. As the IST IST started to soundcheck and warm up, King Tuts became rammed, Understandably. IST IST are the future of Rock N Roll and keeping alternative culture alive with fucking amazing music. I was just as excited to take in my first IST IST performance. I couldn’t help thinking about the friends that I have in Heaven that would love the whole “IST IST” Experience. Also as I stated before, “Protagonists” has been on a loop since its release so have had ample time to take in its charms. The life-affirming musical content has had time to enthuse and entertain me and lots and lots of other people too.
Indeed IST IST have a massive theatrical presence, coming on stage to a stage filled with dry ice. Four shadowy figures picked up their instruments and opened with the first track of “Protagonists” Stamp You Out it’s opening riff was sounded, IST IST’s audience were with them 100%. Adam Houghton’s voice is a thing of beauty in a dark romantic Northern English kind of way and just like Jai from Post Ironic State, Andy’s amazing vocals go straight to the heart.
I was totally taking in the genius of Mat Peters the multi tasking Synth Wizard and blistering guitarist, Mat has a side hustle of creating Ambient soundscapes, This is it with “IST IST” All of the band ooze sex appeal as they create music that is infectious and quite simply brilliant music I loved loved loved my first “IST IST” live experience, It was really really packed though which limited the dance moves,. But this is what the “IST IST” do to me, they inspire my inner dancer, Dark emotive and soulful. The Bass Player Andy Keating has a striking presence, looking like a young slim Oscar Wilde, beaming in from an alternate reality. Protagonists live, just like the album, was a thing of beauty to behold.
The whole night was just amazing, I look forward to seeing IST IST’s rise to arenas, With music this powerful, it cannae fail. There were journalists and photographers from the massively established press in attendance tonight. I think tonight’s performance will become part of the IST IST legend as the gig just before megastardom.
Without a doubt a historical musical performance that we will read about for years to come. A fantastic night out of life-affirming creativity. Fantastic work ❤ Divine Approves ❤
Words: Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert Photography: Raymond Speedie
The well known and well loved rock band Inspiral Carpets rocked up at the fresh Glasgow Music complex called Galvanizers SWG3, which is on the north side of the river. They have a wonderful past to share having formed way back in the mid 1980’s they reached the heights of that thing call ‘Madchester’ which was a huge musical movement that included the Stone Roses (that I must mention) and The Happy Mondays (who were a cause unto themselves).
The musical journey was a remarkable one concerning what came to fruition, and the Inspirals certainly rode the biggest of waves. The ‘house’ (venue) was jam packed with fans who have enjoyed a 40 year relationship with their favourite band and they were treated to the anthemic and vey sultry tones that gripped hard and hypnotised through this special relationship that for 1.50 hours was a most intact experience.
My +1 performed a great service as we went through the busy and powerful crowd who often seemed to part ways, I made my way through it 4 times as the striking presence of the band unrelentingly entertained with a gusto that was effortless, real and spectacularly talented. A standard was risen and set and the band well knew this.
I was impressed as my attentions rose with I admit a little disbelief that these were the real guys, who came to fruition with that ‘Madchester’ phenomenon that was all about breaking down tired myths and set to fuse new ones with great, magical and important events, many of which were antics from individuals whose fame rose through the real time rhythms of the best and greatest of music that was everywhere at the time.
Their Album ‘Life’ broke through with its release in 1990, but they had recorded 2 demo albums earlier on. ‘Life’ couldn’t have been more of its day; it helped make not only the band stand out but the movement too. Their critical acclaim was also cemented further with the release of ‘the Beast Inside’ in 1991.
So their 4 decade fan base is obviously enjoyed by the many hardened fans who praise them with so much credit proving that the style of music still is there to take its spot in the heart of British musical culture.
And their performance has something a little profound about it, aka with a lead singer who stared far into the room and who gave his vocals the act of giving as was to be stunning in his great appeal.
A set of charms arrives with these guys, whose grit came in respect, and offered an unwavering ability to outwit any need for rock n’ roll attention’s so the music was definitely king at this gig. A certainty of spirituality rose but the 1980’s that formed the band’s rise, and surly was some kind of call for deeper culture was in the hands of a music I had lots of fun listening to. This UK tour 2023 is a call for a good night with a crowd that could not be faked, splendid rush you should get yourself to.
Celebrated Scottish artist Isla Ratcliff is setting off on her first headline solo tour this spring…
Hello Isla, can you tell us where are you from & where are you living today? I’m from Edinburgh. I have lived in a few different places over the years, but I’m now living back in Edinburgh.
Ah, Edinburgh, what do you make of the city’s music scene? It’s great! There are lots of traditional music sessions in the city. Although I don’t get out to them as much as I would like, there’s a lovely community of musicians here. Also, the Edinburgh Fringe and the Edinburgh International Festival is an exciting time of year – I love the buzz around the city in August.
What are your first musical memories? Going to my weekly violin lessons when I was 5 years old with Mysie Ferguson. Because I learned through the Suzuki Method, my parents attended all my lessons with me and led my daily practice at home. I remember practising with them in the mornings before school. My mum used to get me to do a shoulder stand when I got bored to wake me up! I also enjoyed teaching my granny what I had learned in my lessons. I have a vivid memory of going back home to her and taking my violin out of its case and proudly showing her how to hold it and how to play a few notes!
Where do your songs come from & how do you shepherd them into existence? My inspiration comes from a variety of sources. I mostly write tunes inspired by people, by places, or by particular memories. My album ‘The Castalia’ features several of my own tunes. Some of these tunes were inspired by memories from my time in Cape Breton, some were written for people who I met in Cape Breton, and some were inspired by the story of my ancestors’ emigration to Canada in 1873. I’m also writing a tune for every Munro that I climb, so these tunes are inspired by landscape, weather and my emotions on that particular day. I sometimes write a tune in my head and record myself singing it on my phone so that I can come back to it later. Other times I compose either on the fiddle or the piano.
You have been described as an ‘impeccable&’ fiddle player – can you tell us about your training? I learned classical violin through the Suzuki Method with Mysie Ferguson aged 5-9. Then I lived in Ethiopia with my parents for two years aged 10-11, where I learned classical violin with Tamara Salomasova. We then returned to Edinburgh for the start of high school. I learned with Mysie for another year in S1, and then I attended The City of Edinburgh Music School at Broughton High School from S2 to S6, where I studied classical violin with Peter Markham, classical piano with Gillian Gray, and Scots song with Gillian Bowman. I also studied composition with John Irvine and academic music studies with Catherine Frew. On leaving school, I studied a BA Music degree at Oxford University, followed by an MMus Scottish Music degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. However, a lot of my learning has taken place outwith educational institutions. I have learned a lot from playing with other musicians – at sessions, at gigs, at festivals, and on various creative projects. I feel very lucky to have met and learned from so many great musicians over the years.
So… desert island, solar power’d CD player, 3 albums – what are they? That’s such a hard question! I’ll choose one from each of the three genres that I enjoy listening to. So I’d choose Pink Floyd’s “The Final Cut”, Martyn Bennett’s “Grit”, and Mitsuko Uchida’s recording of Schubert’s Piano Sonata in Bb major D.960. I grew up listening to Pink Floyd and other bands from the same era on car journeys with my parents as a child. They’re such a creative band and their lyrics tell a story so powerfully. I think Martyn Bennett’s “Grit” is one of the best traditional music albums ever made. And Schubert is one of my favourite classical composers. I especially love his Piano Sonata in Bb major – it’s so beautiful.
What is it about the music of Scotland that makes you tick as a musician? There’s something homely about it. I love the possibilities that traditional music offers for self-expression, creativity, friendship, and connecting to people who have come before. You can take a tune and make it your own while also respecting where it has come from. I love the community of the Scottish traditional music scene. It is welcoming and friendly, and the music is at the centre of that – it brings people together. I care about preserving the music, continuing the tradition and sharing it for many people to enjoy.
You’re just about to head out on tour – can you tell us about it? I’m very excited to be going on my first solo headline tour this spring! I’m playing 10 gigs around Scotland – Glasgow, Mull, Ullapool, Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy, Stonehaven, Dundee, Montrose, Crieff, and Edinburgh. I’ll be playing material from my debut album ‘The Castalia’ plus a selection of songs.
Who is going on the road with you? I’m very lucky to be playing with Ellen Gira (cello) and Iona Reid (piano). They’re both fantastic musicians and I’m very grateful to them for all their musicianship and hard work in preparing for the tour. They’re lovely people to work with!
You’ll be previewing new songs that were not on your debut album, The Castalia, what are we to expect? Yes, I will be singing a mixture of old traditional Scots songs and contemporary folk songs. I’m looking forward to sharing them with a live audience!
What does the rest of 2023 have in store for Isla Ratcliff? I have plans to record some songs – either an EP or a full album. I have several gigs of my own music in June and July – Edinburgh Folk Club, Solas Festival, Stirling Folk Club, and Lyth Arts Centre Summer Sessions. I also have several gigs this summer with two other bands – The Outside Track and Smash Kafana. I hope to tour again in spring 2024, and I have an exciting project planned for 2025 – keep an eye on my social media and website!
Tradfest is returning to Edinburgh The Mumble had a wee blether with a couple Of this year’s performers
Hello guys, can you tell us where are you from & where are you living today? AE: Hi! I’m from Austria (though I also have British roots), and currently I’m living in Vienna. FC: Born in Dalecarlia Sweden, raised north of Stockholm and living on the windiest, rainiest, most magnificent side of the country, the West coast, in Gothenburg!
When did your love of music first begin? AE: I can’t remember the exact moment, but I guess we always sang a lot at home, like Christmas carols and stuff like that. My first instrument was the recorder at 6 and I really loved playing flute and recorder duets with my sister. And from then on it just evolved over the years. Looking back I must give my parents credit for singing so much with us and supporting our talents.
What are your first musical memories? FC: I was on stage with my little brother, we were dressed as fleas… and had no clue really of what we where doing but we knew this song and our Dad said, “you are going to rise up from below the stage, then sing the song”. And so we did! It turns out we were supposed to be circus animals, two fleas drilled to play music. It was super much fun!
Who has been your greatest musical influence over the years? AE: That’s a difficult one. I’d say Daniel Johnston, ‘cos he makes me cry and laugh and he never pretended to be anything but himself. There’s been many influences, but he always sticks out in the end.
So… desert island, solar power’d CD player, 3 albums – what are they? AE: Phew… Perhaps Jewel Kilcher’s “Pieces Of You“, Daniel Johnston’s “Welcome to my World“ and Devendra Banhart’s “Niño Rojo“. FC: Frozen 2 (original soundtrack), especially Show yourself… ❤️ made me strong – ‘Pollnow, Adventures of,’ The album that helped me through my coming out summer. Especially “A Rose” Johan Hedin, Låtar – Swedish Folk Tunes. The best nyckelharpa player in Sweden and with CHURCH ORGAN, oh my!
Alicia, you kind of grew up as a musician busking around Europe – how formative was the experience? AE: It was perhaps the most important decision I’ve made in my life so far. If I hadn’t gone travelling, hitchhiking, busking and been homeless, I don’t know who I’d be today or what I’d be doing with my life. I think the courage I had to come up with in many situations shaped my personality a lot. I was mostly travelling alone and that was also really important to figure out a lot of things. I went through a lot of darkness and beauty in a quite short period of time (2 years) and it somehow felt like a crash course in being alive. Especially after feeling like a prisoner in school for so long, it was my way of breaking free and realising that life can actually be fun and meaningful. During that time I realised that it was my destiny to be a musician, I had other ideas before.
Can you tell us about Swedish folk music & the scene today? FC: Red cabins, fir trees, a cold/warm/rainy summer and people gathering in Bingsjö, gloves, folk costumes, the three beat dance polska and a lot of jamming, all night long. This is one place where the Swedish folk scene really comes together. But there is so much more than just the parties and festivals. The stories told in ballads, the herding calls over the mountains, the nyckelharpa tunes created by the famous Eric Sahlström.
The scene we have today lives up to 110 in the summer during the big festivals and traditional stämmor. And all year-round we have all our wonderful organisations that so passionately put on concerts and dance evenings. Dance and tune workshops etc. Folkmusikens Hus, Stallet, Malmö Folk, Folkmusikkaféet, Urkult to name a few. It’s really growing and you can clearly see the young people coming back in to the scene again after the biggest folk revival of the seventies. I’m one of the passionate driving forces of youth groups and projects.
What’s the music scene like in Vienna today? AE: I’m not incredibly involved, but there are some musicians I connect with. Actually my band are some of my favourite musicians in Vienna, so I feel really grateful that they’re playing with me. The music scene is thriving and diverse, but I would appreciate more crazy and colourful people to be completely honest. Sometimes I feel a bit lonely with what I’m doing.
Fredy, what’s this Nyckelharpa all about? FC: Long or short story haha? It goes back all the way to the 11th century. Paintings on church walls, angelic like nyckelharpas tell us that the instrument must have started here. Then we had 800 years of development with a wide range of looks. Small, cute, angry, bigger, cooler, and then this guy Eric Sahlström was tired of just playing in C and F so he decided to make a chromatic harp in the 1930s so he could play with all the cool fiddle players.. and then came me. (and a thousand more amazing people)
I found the instrument when I was on the famous youth course Ethno Sweden. It dawned on me that I might had found the one.. I was too tall for the violin… and Nyckelharpa made my love for string instruments AND guitar come together in one. It was also a way for me to cope with the inflammation i struggle with in my arms during high school.Basically it saved my music career!
Where do your songs come from & how do you shepherd them into existence? AE: Each song has a very different way of coming into existence. Some come from a very deep emotional place and out of necessity, others come out of playfulness and others have a long journey before they see the light of day. Some of those that take a while feel like they are just waiting for me to be ready or to find some missing link. But all of them come from my personal desire to be unashamed and as unfiltered as possible. They are like my babies and I do my best to let them be themselves and to not interfere too much. And I do believe there are other forces involved when I write songs, I’m not doing it completely on my own. So the true place where they come from can’t be named, just felt, and the feeling to me is like a bottomless well. FC: My coming EP Vill du leka? (Do you wanna play?) stems from the depths of stress and depression, a gray slow mind that wanted to find its way back to play and joy. On the way I found freedom! Texts about the journey has been written on the bus to school, in the night when I couldn’t sleep, and when creativity would suddenly strike in a session at work. Text to me comes very easily, the hard thing is to sit down and polish them into something good!
It’s a mixture of happy coincidence, and mostly hard work and will to express my feelings, paint with happy colours onto the world. Some songs I created music to in three minutes (Det ringer en klocka), Some songs improvised on the fly (Do you wanna play, Att Blomma) And some songs I deliberately forced myself to sit down and carve out the time to make come together (Jag vill veta nåt om vägen)
Fredy, there’s more to you than just your music – who is the real Fredy Clue? FC: Fredy Clue is the room and freedom within Samuel Lundh that could grow to be the person they are now. Fredy Samuel Lundh became my new name, the personal name of which I am playing lead roles in a lot of projects apart from Fredy Clue. I’m head of the board of Gothenburg’s leading folk scene Folkmusikkaféet, I started the organisation Folk Youth VG to help young people engage with the scene and help it grow. And then my love, Bäckadräkten, sweden’s first non binary folk costume. A project of mine that evolved alongside my own non binary identity. I had the idea for the costume way back in 2018, and as the years passed I focused all my energy on it coming true. And when I finally started working with it, I also started listening inwards. Suddenly mx Enby knocked so hard that I fell down crying in part fear part happiness. The inner me had spoken through ideas. Shown itself as Clues. I wanted more than just to have a folk costume, I wanted my identity to have a place in the folk culture and norms of the society…
You will both be playing at this year’s Tradfest in Edinburgh, can you tell us about your gigs? AE: I’m coming with my band and I’m very much looking forward to it! It’s gonna be me singing and playing my different instruments (accordion, guitar, ukulele) and my band: a cellist and a violinist. We’ll be playing songs from the last album and some new songs. FC: It will be a solo performance created only for the festival. A debut showing my true self through my EP and the swedish traditional folk music. A queer journey into the sound of nyckelharpa, beats, tracks and voice. And a lot of Swedish! I will do my very best to guide audiences through this Scandinavian madness❤️
What else will you be up to in the Scottish capital? AE: I don’t really know! I visited Edinburgh for the first time last year and did the sightseeing stuff already. I think I might enjoy just sitting in little cafes, walking around town and visiting the churches. And I might go to the Harry Potter shop again and spend 30 minutes wondering if I should buy Voldemort’s wand again. FC: I will teach a workshop 1st May 2pm on the EDINBURGH YOUTH GAITHERIN. The day of my concert is on the 2nd, And on the 3rd May at 6pm I will host a talk about folk costume and how to work with queer questions through the folk community together with BIT collective and Bogha-Frois And then I would love to see ALL THE HILLS AND THE OCEAN, I love to sail! That would be a dream…
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell your show in the streets of Edinburgh… FC: I would swirl 360 degrees in a dance with my coulettes and nyckelharpa, sing with the Scandinavian sound. And then in words: “Nyckelharpa Pop – the new age of modern folk music dressed in a world of queer emotions. Fredy Clue Traverse Theathre 2nd May 6:30, Welcome❤️” And then I would smile and give whoever needed a hug, a hug!
Finally, what does the rest of 2023 have in store for you both in life & in your music? AE: I have a lot planned for this year. This week I’m playing an outsider hyena with an accordion in a children’s play here in Vienna. Then I’ll be playing in an Austrian movie that we’re shooting in autumn. And most importantly I’m recording new music and releasing some new stuff very soon! The coming weeks I’ll be touring in UK and in May and June I’ll also be playing in Albania, Hong Kong and Berlin which I’m very excited about! FC: Well my life is what I do and what I do is working with people through folk culture, whilst meditating, and trying to put everything in the fun section. When you are as crazy as I am you suddenly end up with everything happening the same year! My highlights are: May – Sewing pattern for Bäckadräkten being released in May June 2nd – EP release Vill du leka? with release tour in Sweden. (June 6th – playing on the national day in Strängnäs for the King! and many others… fun!) July – My dear friend Hampus Grönberg’s Swedish folk music Broadway Celtic Musical is premiering around the mine of Falun! August – The Glade! A mystic bass massaging deep spiritual forest adventure awaits the one who dares looking inward and connect deeply with nature. Fall – Sewing Courses “make your own folk costume” together with Bäckadräkten will be held.
IST IST Adam Houghton (vocals, guitar), Mat Peters (guitar, synth), Andy Keating (bass) Joel Kay (drums).
Not only is it going to be my first Gig at the Legendary King Tutz Wah Wah Hut, The Legenndry venue in which Oasis were discovered and launched to Global domination by Alan Mcghee. It is also my first seeing The IST IST. A band that formed in 2014 and just like Oasis are from the northern English City of Manchester. However, this is where any similarity in musical style ends. Where Oasis borrowed heavily from well know 60’s and 70’s bands unashamedly. The IST IST have drawn their influences from a northern English Sub Culture that has its roots in the late 70’s and early 80’s, But the really really fucking cool part. The music that brought the weirdos and the misfits together. dedicated to dressing up and looking fabulous, to drink snakebite through straws and provocatively dance on sticky dancefloors to the music of our heroes in the alternative nightclubs of Bradford, Batley, Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield. Being a Shemale myself becoming a New Romantic was 2nd nature and was also an act of defiance. A big fuck you, to the homophobic and violent element that was commonplace in the 80’s in Northern England..Its was deffo tribal, with safety in numbers Being part of the first generation that birthed Goth. Being a New Romantic was a way of life. The Sisters Of Mercy’s First album, First Last And Always became the go to album for all the misfits and none squares. Oh aye Andrew Eldritch and Wayne Hussey birthed a dark and menacing Romantic beauty of a long player. Indeed it was this Northern English band, (From Leeds) That planted the seed for the whole Goth musical subculture that still exists today.
Hands up I’m completely new to The IST IST, it was only last month that I was reading a Mumble Review and I glanced the Promotional Feature for The Ist Ist and with that comes with a soundbite of their new album “Protagonists and tour dates. So I had a listen and immediately I was hooked by the musical influences that hooked me back in the day of Post Punk Brilliance Oh yes ❤ I need to investigate this band some more.. I was so excited, I ran round to Raymonds (The Mumble’s brilliant photographer) And said check this out. Raymond was as gripped as I was,
Imagine Andrew Eldritch and Wayne Hussey never fell out after making “First And Last And Always, or even settled their differences and made a proper sequel to their best known and groundbreaking first release. Then The IST IST’s new album The Protagonist” Is a clear contender for that accolade and I have only heard soundbites. The Albums on its way for me to review properly and I will be attending the Gig at King Tutz Wah Wah Hut on the 13th April. Raymond Speedie On Photographs. Divine on words.
The protagonist is the character who drives the action–the character whose fate matters most. In other words, they are involved in —and often central to—the plot or conflict of the story, but are also usually the emotional heart of the narrative.
The IST IST Protagonists. The Album Review. Track Listing
Stamp You Out.
Something Has To Give
Nothing More Nothing Less
Mary In The Black And White Room.
Emily Davies. Emily.
The postman delivered my brand sparklingly new CD, the new long player from my new favourite band “The IST IST” The Protagonists is the third release from this incredibly interesting contemporary Post Punk Rock Band. Adam Houghtons vocals are sublime and deeply sexy, this guy can sing. His vocal harmonies have an incredible depth. I had to Google what the word Protagonist meant. The definition that I got. (And written above) Perfectly describes the lyrical content of the ten songs that make up this fulfilling and engaging collection of songs that describe the hero’s inner anguish and need to heal. Songs that drip with emotion. and honesty even if you like classic Sisters Of Mercy (Its the voice). Joy Division and the Cure a little bit. You will instantly be hooked. And just like a good old-fashioned long player. Its an album that delivers a very entertaining 40 mins Collectively The IST IST have struck gold with this one. Each listen reveals a new treasure. And the bands musicianship recreates the really fucking cool source material from back in the day. The Protagonists rocks in the right places. Delivering every ones favourite 40-minute night out. It is Adam Houghtons voice that has won me. A brilliant and fully engaging body of work. My knickers are already wet with anticipation for my first time of seeing The IST IST live at King Tutz Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow on Thursday 13th. This is going to be one sexy gig. Full Report coming soon ❤
Tour Dates. 13 – Glasgow – King Tut’s 14 – Newcastle – The Cluny 15 – Nottingham – Bodega 20 – Birmingham – Hare and Hounds 21 – Bristol – Thekla 22 – London – Omeara 29 – Whitby – Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival
The Mumble were delighted to catch a blether with the three members of BRENDA – Apsi, Litty & Flore – with results as entertaining as their music
Where we are from, and where you are living today? A: Well we know that, we don’t need to talk about that. F: We’re all in the south side of Glasgow. L: Flore was originally from Barra and was found in a beach by my uncle. F: Yeah, Litty was found in a bin in Ireland. A: Yeah, and I was found in a mud hut in Sri Lanka. I’m only going with that because I remember when I was in primary school, this kid was like, did you used to live in a mud hut? F: Yeah, well obviously, you only live in mud huts, right?
What are your first musical memories? L: Mine is being in a band called The Bogs with the cardboard cut out guitars. F: Nice. L: For primary 7 talent contest, which I think we did win. F: That’s so cool. L: And you two? A: Probably just listening to CDs in my dad’s car while we were driving. F: Same for me. L: Oh yeah, sorry, I thought you meant first gig. F: Mine has just a lot of Phil Collins. That’s the one thing that springs to mind is Phil Collins. L: Mine was Elton John. I was obsessed with Elton John. I fancied him when I was four. And his song called ‘Durban Deep’. F: Nice. L: And dancing in the kitchen to that. A: I think it was just like Queen and David Bowie in the car. F: See, that would be better. We were just Phil Collins. Just Phil Collins. L: The Eagles. That was another one. And Pavarotti. A: Pavarotti!
So Desert Island, Solar Powered CD player, three albums. What are they? F: God, yeah, but we need to all answer this individually, I think. L: Oh yeah. F: Because I hate Queen. L: I love Queen. A: I mean Queen wouldn’t be my choice. For this. F: So how about we all pick one? If we’re going to this island together, we can all pick one album. L: Right, so what would you say? F: Your favourite ever album. A: Probably Brian Eno. Another Green World. Let’s go with that. L: God, I don’t know any albums. F: That’s nice. I love Deja Vu by Crosby, Stills and Nash. That’s one of my favourite albums. L: I think I struggle with albums, but I would take a best of. And I would take best of Prince. F: I knew it. But that’s good. We need a bit of party time. L: Mainly because I am on the desert with you guys and I know you don’t like Queen. F: Thank you. A: Brian Eno is to chill out. F: Yeah, I think if we want to like rock a little bit, like feel things, then it’s my record. And then we’ll dance at night to Prince.
Tell us about the Brenda. L: Brenda works in a DIY shop.
What’s your role in the band?. L: So my name is Litty and I do guitar, weird sounds. A: Apsi does – talk about myself in third person. Does the drums. We all sing. F: Yeah, we all sing like angels. Flore plays two synthesizers in the band. A: You play to them. It sounded, because you said to, but to me in my head I was like you play to them. F: I play to the synthesizers in the room. L: On a desert island. F: That’s what I do.
How did you all get together in the first place? L: So me and Flore met many, many years ago in London, both chasing the same guy. I won, but it was the last time I ever won anything. F: And then we just made some music. I think we started making music, but I was also with me, Flore, in a band called Wet Look with Apsi. And that’s how I met Apsi. And then Apsi joined BRENDA and the whole world came together. L: And we made up over the boy. F: Yeah, it’s fine. Time heals all wounds.
Where do your songs come from and how do you shepherd them into existence? A: Interesting. F: That is interesting. I think we’ve all brought ideas to BRENDA and then the others would just work on the songs with us. Generally. A: When we’re doing it together, it’s almost like we’re just doing a jam. And then we figure out what works. L: Yeah, normally someone brings a bare idea and then it kind of gets chopped and changed or whatever. And now we all bring in our own elements. F: Exactly. It’s very democratic. L: A lot of my songs come from being bitter. So it’s definitely a bitter energy to BRENDA. F: My songs are maybe a little bit sad, but not really. They’re just, you know, there’s a hint of disappointment in all of it. L: And Apsi’s are just making fun of people who send us weird, threatening legal letters.
What does the rest of 2023 have in store for the band? F: The 28th of July, I believe, we’re playing our album launch. We have an album launch of the actual vinyl records. The sleeve looks beautiful. We can’t wait for it to come out. L: We have two gigs on the 22nd of April. F: Yeah, we’re playing twice. Record Store Day, we’re playing at the Last Night from Glasgow shop. A: Yes, and then afterwards we are doing Platform. L: Which is a single launch for ‘Microscopic Babe’. We’re also playing in Eigg for Lost Map. F: Howlin’ Fling on the Isle of Eigg. We’re playing that, I believe it’s the first weekend of August. But there will be more gigs announced. L: And 2nd June, we’re playing in Hug and Pint for ‘High Horse’ launch. F: Anyway, we’ve got a bunch of gigs going on. L: Yeah, we’re being played on BBC Ulster all the time. F: Ulster, yeah, and by the end of the year we’re hoping to, I don’t know, sell out. L: Colonise all the radio stations, really. F: Yeah, we’re planning on being quite rich by the end of the year. L: We have been invited to Margate for a little festival. But we don’t know if that’s happening.
Your first single ‘Cease and Desist’ made quite a splash. It’s banging. Really. Why do you think it’s so catchy? F: Thank you. A: Thank you. F: This is one of Apsi’s. L: Because it’s like a blues. You’re using bluesy chords. F: I think it’s like, initially it started with like an acoustic version by Apsi and it was quite slow and then we all brought the sass. L: We really took that apart actually and we actually wanted to try to do a bit of a kind of, what are they called, Kraftwerk thing. That’s how the end came about. F: Oh really? That’s so funny. It’s not very Kraftwerk at all. L: Yeah, but have you heard the original? It’s really like weird and slow, but it’s so funny. And then it just kind of changed around. A: Right, yeah. And you added the guitar solo, which I think adds a lot to it. F: That guitar solo is a shreddy moment. A: Just a good song. L: Just a good song all around.
You will soon be releasing your second single, ‘Microscopic Babe’. What’s it all about? F: Oh, I never thought I would actually have to explain this, but it’s very obviously, I suppose, about a thing called breadcrumbing. So it’s a relationship that gives you just, just enough to hold on to and to believe that there is something good going. And then you expect more and you get nothing more. So it’s just enough to keep you going, but it’s really not enough to feel good at all. L: So it’s psychological warfare. F: It is basically a very manipulative way to be in a relationship. L: And that’s what this song is about.
Then there’s an album coming out in July. What’s it called? L+F: It’s called BRENDA. A: Self-titled baby.
And can you tell us about the recording process? L: So we went to Green Door Studios. A: We did. F: It was fantastic. Ronan. What a legend. L: Flore got to play with loads of synths. F: It was very fun. Even like a little harpsichord, which no, not a harpsichord. What’s it called? A: Auto? No. Not an autoharp. F: Okay. Just delete that. Scrap that. You know. A: It’s got a name. F: It will come back to me. L: It’s like a harp but not a harp. A: We added a lot of fun extra elements. F: Omnichord. It’s the Omnichord. L: Ronan forced me to play chords, even though I hate playing chords. A: It was fun because we could add loads of things that we can’t do when we play live. L: We really developed it there and then, actually, to be honest. A: It’s like we’re jamming in a studio. L: One of the songs, ‘Pigs’, was written a week before. A: It was very inspired. F: I ate a lot of Oreos that week. It was very hot as well. A: It was warm. It was in a nice place. L: It was so warm. F: It was really hot. L: No windows. No natural light, really. A: We had the dog in with us. That helped. F; Anyway, it was great. Ronan did very good. A: We had some chair legs. L: And all in all, I think most of it, the album, is about a DIY box. F: Is that the next question? L: No there is no more questions. F: Oh okay! Thank you so much. A: Bye. F: That’s the end of the interview. I hope this is everything you were hoping for. We love you. BRENDA loves you. See you at the next gig. Bye!