All posts by yodamo

Edinburgh Blues Club with special guests Jo Harman and Company and Wang Dang Delta


Voodoo Rooms
Friday 20th March 2015


So here I return for a second instalment at The Edinburgh Blues Club (EBC). The EBC is a Social Enterprise established to create a specialised environment for the support of a monthly blues event in the fabulous Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh, to guarantee that the people of Edinburgh city do not miss out on class-touring blues acts. The EBC is maintained on a membership subscription basis, where members pay £10 per month in return for access to all EBC events and newsletter. Tickets are also available to the general public via Ticketweb, Tickets Scotland and Ripping Records.

This month sees the event migrate from the speakeasy venue downstairs, to the glittery Ballroom upstairs to accommodate for the growing audience. The EBC kept patrons waiting outside the Ballroom in suspense for 40 minutes, while they completed last minute sound checks inside. After the audience poured in to a mainly standing arena, the host apologised for the lateness and assured us they are not in a habit of this unforeseen delay. I was somewhat surprised there were so little seats since the majority of the audience was of the mature variety.

First up was a 6-piece band from Perthshire called Wang Dang Delta. The band started performing together in 2003 and focus on mainly original compositions with some classic blues and groovy numbers. Inspired by other genres such as jazz, soul, folk and country but always remaining firmly devoted to blues. The line up includes Ian McLaren on guitar and lead vocals, Pete Caban lead guitar, Jim Harcus on harmonica, Alan Sutherland keyboards, Pim Pirnie on drums and Jason Wotherspoon on bass. They have performed at some of the UK’s top blues clubs and have appeared at Perth Festival of the Arts, Southern Fried Festival, Orkney Blues Festival, Dundee Blues Bonanza, Perthshire Amber and Thunder in the Glens. The Wang Dang Delta members individually have also had guest appearances in an array of impressive bands such as Rancho Rebop, Full Moon Howlers, Radiotones, Dave Arcari, GT’s Boos Band, Dougie MacLean and Tartan Amoebas.

Wang Dang Delta possess a diverse range of songs written by lead vocalist Ian McLaren, their first number was a rocking high tempo track full of energy which really grabbed the audiences attention. Well Runs Dry, a groovy tune followed. The band demonstrates flawless, professional talent. Ian McLaren maintains good connection with the audience through friendly banter, after a mellow blues track he vowed the next song would get people moving as the audience looked like an oil painting, and boy, did they get the crowd bouncing! The slick ensemble work effortlessly together, to create top toe tapping and thigh slapping numbers one after another. You could see the bands sheer enjoyment in performing and their collective performance was second to non. Kudos goes to Ian Sutherland (sporting a pair of tan cowboys boots) the keyboard player for his breathtaking solo performances. A unique song, Caravanette, was one of the final numbers devoted to Scotland’s A9
truck road and by the last song everyone was bugging out. Live At The Royal Albert Hall, recorded by the BBC. This year, her international touring schedule increased to Festivals in France, Germany, Poland, Spain and the Caribbean, with USA beckoning, as well as theatre and major club shows in UK.

After a couple of opening songs, Harman welcomes the crowd, thanking us for making it while mentioning it took them 11 hours to drive here. Her next song, she introduces as been co-written with Andy Platts from Mamas Gun called This Is My Amnesty and you can see everything of her has been put into this song. Harman’s voice storms through styles and ranges with ease, delivering tracks with a vigor and passion. Hartman makes the Bluesy Bobby Bland classic cover Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City her own, by stretching the vocal range and the talented keyboardist Steve Watts builds a commendable keys solo. Throughout the show Harman portrays tremendous energy, with a healthy amount of hair flicking and strutting!  Harman can hold tone and melody and there’s an almost gospelstyle to  the way she holds her arm up, clawing at the air on long cords.

Unexpectedly as Harman was about commence another soulful number a gentleman fainted in the audience, presumably from standing too long in the warm environment. Thankfully he soon came to, the audience returned and Jo was able to resume her set. Returning to a somber track this time, in contrast to the majority of the supercharged rock songs. Supporting Harman we saw Steve Watts on keys, Andy Tolman on bass, Martin Johnson drums, Nat Martin on guitar and a musician standing in from Glasgow on guitar. Shortly after the evening ended with ‘Better One’. A single encore ensued where Harman obliged, holding her vibratos well once more. While I cannot fault her on her vocal abilities, my only harsh criticism would be her heeled platforms, while striking, they gave Harman an awkward and ungainly stage presence and prevented her from moving fluidly. Also where we saw Wang Dang Delta connecting with their audience, maybe it was nerves or youth, but I never
felt Harman gained full command of the audience, any banter she tried to create was inaudible or fell flat.

Jo Harman @ Parkpop 2013 The Hague

Upon reflection I would not regard Jo Harman especially a blues singer, she’s too loud and boisterous for the blues genre, if anything she falls into the rock or jazz category. And as Harman has confessed herself: “It’s been a joy to have people connect with the music, and of course its wonderful to have been adopted by the blues community. But to be completely honest I don’t consider myself a blues singer. There is a bit of the blues in what I do, but there is also a whole heap of soul, gospel and country in my sound.” She is quick to clarify, “You know, I’m really not fussed about the label. I’m more interested in telling a story. I want to tell my story.”

Reviewer : Sarah Lewis


 The Royal Concert Hall Glasgow.
Thursday 12th March 2014.
It had been an ace day, Glastonbury Confirmation and the company of two beautiful ladies. I started my make up at about 2.30pm and my beautiful visitors left at about 3pm. I was ready and out the door by 4pm. It was pissing it down, so I jumped on the 41, luckily I had my magic rainbow umbrella so the rain was nae worrying me too much. I walked briskly to St Andrews Bus Station and jumped on the 900 to Glasgow. Now this is when the next nice thing of the day happened. The Return Bus Fare has gone down in price, from £11 to £6. How amazing is that, it did take two hours though. I was fare chomping at the bit, when the bus pulled into Buchanan St The Royal Concert Hall is only over the road from the bus station, I was already 30mins late and praying that Neill Clark was waiting with the Golden Ticket. He was Phew!! I love making new friends. GoodTime!
I put my my sexy black leather coat and magik rainbow umbrella in the cloak room (Only 50p) Grabbed an ice cream and a packet of crisps and headed into the concert hall, via the Pianos that are still there, perfectly tuned and ready to play. I played gracefully picking up the rhythm to a foot tapper. I got to the dance floor just in time to work it baby. The excitement was building.
Underworld’s Dubnobaswithmyhead man. Has been part of my life for 22 years now, it still thrills me now, as much as the first time that I heard it. It was in Hebden Bridge when its rich electronic textures and perfect dance beats first hooked me. Dubnobaswithmyheadman has been a loyal friend for a long time and have always loved finding remix’s from that album. Its possibly the best ever recorded electronic dance album of all time.I invested in the 5 CD reissue just before Christmas. So for Divine, this was quite a big thing.
Visually it was nae rock n roll in a traditional sense and all the music came from a big black box of tricks operated by Darren Price, Darren Emerson’s replacement and arguably the star of the show Karl Hyde delivered the vocals and the whole album was replicated to perfection. The sound was fantastic and the sold out Royal Concert Hall erupted. Everyone was dancing. Because I have listened to the subject matter on lots of different sound systems before. It was the simple nuances and electronic detail that somehow enriched the overall musical painting.
It was banging and it was brilliant, the music was the star of the show. Karl Hyde has about as much Rock N Roll swagger as a bus conductor. Rick Smith was working the P.A and couldn’t be seen at all Darren Price, produced the magic from his box of tricks with technology far beyond the understanding of Divine. It left me with lots of questions. Why were the Piano parts not live? How is it possible? What is the miraculous sound producing thing that can sound like a full band that works with minimum interaction.
The show closed with the encore Born Slippy Nuxx. The only tune of the night not from Dubnobaswithmyheadman. But it was a fine note to end on as it was the tune that propelled Underworld to mainstream success and a taster for the Delux Treatment of 2nd Toughest In The Infants.
Dubnobasswithmyheadman live for the first time since it was recorded. Was it a success? yes.
Reviewer : Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

Peter French sings Harry Nilsson & The Great American Songbook

Eden Court, Inverness

6th March


The concert opened with Michael Haslim,  Peter French`s musical director and accomplished pianist, beautifully playing a medley of nostalgic tunes setting the mood for the performance and theme of moon and night. Peter French`s rendition of Blue Moon, The way you look tonight and moon river were just a few of the mellow tunes he sang clearly with emotion and nostalgia. Every note on the piano only enhanced the feeling of the songs.

His informative and interesting factual stories around the history of the Jewish song writing that influenced and became part of the American culture also added a depth of interest.  Leading up to and into the second half of the performance, he continued to share the chaotic but exciting life story of Harry Nillson, adding to the audience`s appreciation of Nillson`s music.

Re-creating the songs from  the album, A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night, (from 1973) Peter French smoothly sang many melancholy love tunes, exquisitely accompanied by Michael Haslim on the piano; favourites like,  I`ll be loving you always, it had to be you, I wonder who`s kissing her now and as time goes by. Peter and Michael make a very compatible and entertaining duo. This one and only performance at Eden court was a very enjoyable and entertaining evening.

Reviewer : Stephanie McDaid

Renaud Capucon : The Scottish Chamber Orchestra: Beethoven And The Violin Concertos In D op61.

The Usher Hall
Thursday 5th March
Renaud Capuçon
Renaud Capuçon

I arrived at the Usher Hall with trusty companion of the Evening. Minky. We were the first in and had the time to take in and meditate on the timeless space that is The Usher Hall. My last experience of mind blowing orchestral beauty was The Royal Concertbau Orchestra at last years Edinburgh Festival. As we sat meditating I could see the spirit that would be guiding tonights performance. Tonights audience were in the whole, Senior Citizens, Beethoven certainly attracts a mature audience. The Orchestra gathered on stage randomly tuning their instruments. Then the lights went down and our conductor of the evening, Robin Ticciati, elegantly bound on stage with his baton firmly in hand. Closely followed by the very amazing Renaud Capucon. The inhouse excitement was tangeable and then the performance began.
Renaud stood next to Robin as he conducted his orchestra, in a state of trance, dressed in a very tasteful black suit, he looked strong and unique. I was transfixed as I could see and feel the energy he was channeling. The music it self invoked a seductive wash of Grace reminiscent of the flavors of Spring. It was when Renaud placed the violin next to his chin, every eye in the house was on him, all the audience and the orchestra waiting for this demonstration of mastery.that had us all transfixed and thoroughly entertained, The crescendo of the performance brought images of waltzes from a bygone age and for the first time at a classical music concert, I had the urge to get up and dance. Alas, I restrained myself.
After the interval Robin and his Chamber Orchestra returned to the stage to perform Franz Peter Schuberts Symphony No9 in C, D944 ‘Great C Major. As you would imagine the three Suites that complete this symphony are awash with graceful waltzes. Dance and love making where definitely in Schuberts mind when he composed this piece. It takes one through the stages, attraction, romance and with more than one explosive crescendo. Its a very satisfying journey indeed. It was the expanded horn section that added an increased depth. Its contemporary comparison would be Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin. Aye it was musical heaven. I Loved it! FIVE STARS
Reviewer : Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

Royal Scottish National Orchestra (Glasgow)

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Thurs 26th Feb.

Haydn: Symphony No.49 La Passione
Mozart: Piano Concerto No.20 in D Minor, K466
Beethoven: Symphony No.6 Pastoral

Conductor: Sir Roger Norrington
Piano: Lars Vogt


I attend orchestral concerts infrequently, which means every time I do attend, I am always surprised by the sound. I don’t suppose for a minute that anyone reading The Mumble was born before we had concerts on the radio and on television, let alone on vinyl. Right now we have podcasts, downloads, streaming audio, so if we want to listen to a symphony or a piano concerto we don’t need to go to a concert hall. If you recognise that as the world you live in, then I suggest you take the first opportunity to get to see our national orchestra in action. Pick a programme that includes something you know already – the Pastoral is a good choice – and buy a ticket. The reason is that you will be instantly struck by the sound. It’s different. It is a totally acoustic experience, with absolutely no electronic intervention at all. The musical sounds come at you from new directions, so that you hear the contribution of the various instruments with incredible clarity. You suddenly realise that this is what a symphony or a concerto is supposed to sound like.

The venue helps. The GRCH is a good place, from the gift shop where they sell stuff such as the ‘Chopin bag’ (ouch!), to the foyer with its space for large-scale paintings (see the link at the end of this review), to the piano by the café bar on which a visiting concert-goer can belt out Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C#m for patrons, to the auditorium itself. The last two times I have attended a concert there the programme has consisted of works which required physically re-setting the orchestral seating between each item. This concert started with Haydn’s Symphony No.49, which needs only a comparatively small ensemble – two oboes, two French horns, strings, and a single bassoon. I can’t say I am very familiar with the work, but what I did notice was that it engaged me instantly and held my attention all the way. Norrington, being no spring chicken, conducts sitting down, often without a baton, and his direction seems minimalist. Despite this his control over the orchestra is total and precise, and the feel of the symphony was such that I wanted to push the beginning of ‘Romanticism’ back the period in which it was written. Norrington ended the fourth movement by giving his last directive gesture to the orchestra whilst simultaneously standing, turning, and giving it to the audience. “Yes,” he seemed to be saying, “ you have been involved in this.”

Sir Roger Norrington
Sir Roger Norrington

For the Mozart, the slightly larger orchestra was gathered into a horseshoe shape around the piano, with the soloist’s back to us, and with the woodwinds standing stage right. Roger Norrington directed from the far side of the piano, facing outwards. This layout surprised me, but perhaps that is because it differed from what I’ve come to expect from televised concerts. Lars Vogt has a terrific touch on his instrument, and the performance was excellent. The second movement, Romanze, is one of these pieces of music that ‘everyone knows’. For an encore he gave us another – a waltz by Johannes Brahms, Op.39 No.15 in A#Maj.

For the Beethoven, the orchestra grew to two-and-a-half sizes larger than it had been for the Haydn. One would have thought that the experience would have increased in proportion, but in fact the size of the orchestra didn’t seem to matter. Our immersion in the music was total for the Haydn, the Mozart, and the Beethoven. The solo touches in the second movement of the flute, oboe, and clarinet, becoming respectively the nightingale, quail, and cuckoo, were enough to draw special applause from the audience at the end of the concert. I am going to add one single quibble, with the proviso that I am a layman without musical learning, and that is that the first movement was taken at half a notch too quick a pace, giving it almost a feel of being rushed. However, I’m aware that here I’m arguing (with the greatest of respect) with Sir Roger Norrington, and at the end of the day I’m bound to lose that argument.

Reviewer : Bookseeker

By the way, you can see the paintings in the GRCH online here. Seeing them is well worth a visit, particularly the Ken Currie

Australian Pink Floyd

Usher Hall (Edinburgh)

February 19th

The Australian Pink Floyd for me was always going to be a tribute band… How wrong was I!!!!!! With a set list to have the most avid Floyd fan tingling with excitement, from the first chord of Astronomy Domine you just knew this wasn’t just a tribute band!! This was as good as the real thing. With a laser and light show that simply took the breath away, to a note-perfect performance the original band would have been proud of, this was musical theater at the very top end of the scale!

This show had it all. Adding their own Ossy twist to the visuals on the giant circular screen behind them, which I couldn’t keep my eyes off by the way, they dropped in a bit of Waltzing Matilda. I cannot wait to get a chance to take it all in again, & If you haven’t yet experienced the Ossy Floyd then make sure you do.   FIVE STARS


Reviewer : James Wallace

Tom Green Septet

Eden Court  – One Touch Theatre

Fri 20th Feb 2015


Tom Green is emerging as a music talent to be reckoned with, being the first Trombonist to study post grad Jazz at The Royal College of Music, London and the Winner of 2013 Dankworth Prize for Jazz Composition. Throughout the set he introduced his compositions, the aptly named Winter Halo was inspired by a trip in the desert, gazing over a halo round the moon. As Winter Halo began, with delicate atmospheric sounds from the sax played by Tommy Andrews and Sam James on the Piano, you could imagine gazing at the moon and stars! Whereas Sticks and Stones the first song on their début album Skyline dives straight in with a punch and sharp downward spiral, Green told how he wrote it at a time when he had been let down and described it as “rhythmical angst”  These insights into his creative process and how he translates his experiences gave a context to the music.

The great thing about Tom’s arrangements is he allows improvisation from all of the members of the the septet and this shows how talented and accomplished each of these musicians are. I enjoyed Mesha Mullov-Abbado’s funky solos on the Double Bass and James Davison gave gave an incredible solo on the Flugel horn. You could tell they were passionate about their music and loved what they were doing by the smiles and nods of appreciation between each other during the gig, and this enthusiasm was contagious and spilled out into the audience. I really cant fault their performance as they played such a tight set, although I felt some of the intimacy was lost in a theatre setting. They finished on a high and we felt privileged to hear the World Premier of a newly written piece Choral as an encore. I felt very uplifted as we left. The Tom Green Septet provided a exhilarating journey of Jazz!

Reviewer : Zoe Gwynne

The Band

Tom Green – Trombone/compositions

James Davison – Trumpet/Flugel

Sam Miles – Tenor Sax

Tommy Andrews – Alto/Soprano Sax

Sam James – Piano

Misha Mullov-Abbado – Double Bass

JJ Wheeler – Drums

Mitsuko Uchida

Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

Feb 5th


Ah Mitsuko! The impossibly stylish Grammy award-winning pianist Mitsuko Uchida graced the Queen’s Hall with a fearless rendition of Ravel’s Concerto in G in conjunction with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The piece begins with a whip-crack, and the jazzy first movement was an opportunity for the Japanese-born but naturalized Brit (and a Dame to boot) to showcase some virtuosic pyrotechnics at the keyboard. The long, irresolute lines of the second movement brought out all her warmth and musicality, the effect only slightly spoilt by the inevitable outbreak of coughing (though to be charitable it is a cold Edinburgh winter). The hacking had thankfully subsided in time for the solo encore. It sounded (to this untrained ear) like a Mozart, perhaps in A Minor, anyway it was utterly gorgeous and the only downside was that it didn’t last forever!

But live music performance is ephemeral in a way that makes it different from all other art forms: a poem can be reread, a painting lingered over at the viewer’s discretion, but each note of a live performance is immediately fading away into nothingness. The effects of melody, harmony and rhythm are governed by their relationship with sounds that exist now only in the memory of the listener. Perhaps this is what can give it such terrible poignancy – each performance of a piece is a unique, timebound event. You can’t step into the same river twice, said Heraclitus. Not even into the same river once, replied a wise pupil.

This concert took the audience on a journey through twentieth century France with three very different stylists. From the luscious love-and-death high romanticism of Faure’s Pelleas et Melisande, to the listen-to-this-new-sound-I’ve-heard of Ravel heralding the jazz age (the concerto was written after a tour to the US in 1928), to the uncertain, totally alienated and seemingly structureless (again to this untrained ear!) soundworld of Boulez’s trilling Memoriale reassure us as we headed out into the night we were suddenly returned to a world of balance, reason and optimism with Haydn’s ‘Clock’ Symphony. One always feels with Haydn as if one is being guided gently downhill to somewhere that you really quite wanted to go, perhaps a nice picnic, by a lake, with pretty girls, sunshine and good cheese. Splendid!

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra under the baton of principal conductor Robin Ticciati played with all their usual verve and precision, the soloists (in particular flautist Alison Mitchell and bassoonist Peter Whelan) were superb and the evening as a whole was just a treat. Coming up the SCO are at the Assembly Rooms on Sat 14th Feb for a family afternoon concert, Chamber Sunday at the Queen’s Hall on the 22nd and again at the Queen’s Hall on Sat 28th for Brahms’ Serenade. Go and see them if you can.

Reviewer : Tam Heinitz

Music & Moving Images: Martyn Bennett, Elegies and Inspirations

Manipulate Festival

Traverse Theatre


2nd Feb


There has been a lot of publicity surrounding Martyn Bennett of late. I recently watched a beautiful documentary about the making of his final album ‘Grit’ which has really inspired me to find out more about his work so I was intrigued to see what creative gems would unearthed by the event billed as Music & Moving Images: Martyn Bennett, Elegies and Inspirations. It was however not quite what quite what I had imagined it to be. The night opened with a selection of films that had been made by students at Grey’s School of Art in Aberdeen in response to a selection of music by local bands. It had been screened in Aberdeen the night before, with the bands playing live at the event. This unfortunately was not the case in Edinburgh and without the musicians the imagery felt like a bad VJ loop that went on for far too long. The films appeared to be an experiment in the use of after effects and basic animation techniques. As a whole it felt long-winded, underdeveloped and lacking any substance or depth. A dissection of the films followed which left me realising that this was a student production where there seemed more emphasis on the process and technique than on the end content, which as an audience felt very frustrating.

Snowflake 4 - Xanthe and Lewis

The final two music videos by Neil Kepmpsell were visual explorations of pieces of music, this time by Martyn Bennet. The first ‘Hallaig’ incorporated the poem by Sorley MacLean describing the loss of a highland community. It is a dark and sobering arrangement and the imagery used is quite hypnotic, again using layers and texture to create echoes of ghosts of the past in this remote landscape. It’s quite beautiful (you can watch it on the link below) and was to me the only film I got anything from . His more recent film, Mackay’s Memories develops these themes further. In this film the techniques and style were interesting but it appeared very dated and heavy on what now look like quite cheesy special effects.

A long discourse took place afterwards with much back slapping and chin rubbing that felt very self-congratulatory and was almost oblivious to the audience. There was almost no time for questions or interaction from the audience and the concepts that I had imagined would be explored regarding the relationship between moving image and music was left for us to make up our own mind. I felt the title of the show was very misleading, riding on the creative wake of Martyn Bennett when in fact it held little (or for the majority of the event no) reference to the musician, and other than two music videos, shone no new light on his unique and creative approach to his art. I am very aware that films such as these are open to very personal interpretation but I felt the structure and presentation of this event was over zealously marketed as something that it wasn’t.

Reviewer : Glenda Rome


Calexico / Kris Drever

Old Fruitmarket

1st Feb


Review 1 : Gayle Smith

I must admit going to a concert or some other live event is my idea of the best way to spend a Sunday night. This Sunday, I was looking forward to a concert with a sense of anticipation you only get when catching up with someone you haven’t seen for an age or seeing a new band or performer for the first time. On this occasion I was going to see a band I had never actually seen or even heard of, but somehow I knew I would enjoy Calexico and their style of music which I perceived to be latin in influence. This event would also bring my Celtic Connections 2015 to a close. This automatically meant I  had a deep sense of sadness as I always do when we finally reach the last night of the festival I like to call the Celtic family gathering. To me if Celtic connections is about anything it’s about a community a family who may not know all  the names of every relative the family is far too big for that but get together every year when the music calls us home. This time I made it to Old Fruitmarket with plenty of time to spare. This was due to the fact I had been for a girlie pampering session  in the Parkhead area just a few yards from home of a certain well known Glasgow football club with whom you could say I had a connection. The fact I was lucky as l got a bus in to town also helped.
On arriving I found the venue to be very busy and Calexico to a very popular band with many people seeing them for the 10th time or more. On entering the arena I got gabbing as is my way to Linda and Julie a mother and daughter from Northumbria and discovered that the daughter Julie had seen the band so many times she had lost count. This must be like me and Yuptae, Rachel Sermanni, or Lori Watson of whom I am a massive fan.  Julie assured me I would enjoy a brilliant night and have an experience I would never forget and how right she was. It was a fantastic night of entertainment from a band of highest quality not to mention an amazing support act.

Hey wait a minute, I’ve just realised I said not to mention an amazing support act. Well I think I had better mention them because believe me they were brilliant. This is not the first time I had seen the Kris Drever Band, truth be told I have seen them many times over the years and  knew the quality of the band and their work unlike many others in the hall as they were not the billed support but were asked to stand in for the original support only the morning before the gig as BC Camplight had visa issues. Being the good guy he is, Chris readily agreed to the request as get this he was going to the gig anyway as he had been in a fan of Calexico since his schooldays. Introductions over it was time for Mr Drever and the band to do what they do best namely entertain an audience who were in the mood for good quality music. That is exactly what they got from a band who are in my opinion a headline act fit to grace any festival with songs and musicianship of the highest calibre.

Kris started his set with Beads and Feathers before moving on to one of the highlights of the evening and playing a new and as yet untitled song which he says will be called either Don’t Tell Me or Don’t Tell Me That. I know this because I chatted to Kris on facebook yesterday and suggested Don’t Tell Me as that seems to be the narrative which runs through the song. However rather than any negative connotations which people who jump to conclusions would find in this number,I found it to be inspiring in the sense that I listened to the lyrics in the song   and found it was speaking to me and saying that rather than moan about the problems in society why not be the change you want to see in the world. At the end of a set which was all too short Kris finished with the brilliant Harvest Gypsies. This song is a biting social commentary on the way we treat others, particularly seasonal migrant workers who travel to countries to take the jobs the locals won’t touch. The lyrics tell the story of a group of people who are all too often marginalised within societies, whilst the melody gives it that moody, haunting, air which let’s you know there is a real story to be told here.

After Kris and the band finished his set and were able to take their place in the audience it was time for the main event of the evening. From the moment Calexico took the stage I knew I was in for a musical extravaganza with something to suit every taste and believe me I wasn’t wrong. This was my first time seeing Calexico and it certainly hope it won’t be my last. Whilst not as raucous or as foot stomping as the Chair whom I saw last week at the same venue this was also top quality and they took us on global world tour with music from their native Arizona and tunes from Algeria various parts of Latin America, Spain and I also detected the French influence in the jazz of old New Orleans as the mariachi music for which there fans tell me they are renowned.


A Calexico concert is not just a global event in terms of musical cultures, it is also a fusion of musical styles from the country/country rock of their native USA, Jazz, and Latin American. As I said to one audience member this band have more musical styles than there are dances on strictly come dancing. I have to say my favourite songs of theirs came from the country rock tradition. Did I spy a wee bit of an Eagles influence in their set? I think I did and that for someone brought up listening to the Eagles in the mid to late seventies that is no bad thing. This was a night that passed quickly.  Too quickly in my book as I could have coped with a lot more of this highly entertaining band. To me a Calexico concert isn’t so much a concert in the traditional sense, it’s more of an entertainment experience and it is something I will I hope experience again. This band believe in giving value for money and when the time for the curtain call came, they not only came back for an encore they played about four or five extra songs and left their fans including this new one with beaming smiles on our faces. As is traditional for me i chatted to members of the audience to find out where the fan base had come from. Well I can’t help being a geographer and a good demographic study is the perfect way to end an enjoyable Sunday evening.

Apart from the lovely Northumbrians I spoke to at the beginning of the evening I met fans from  Bathgate, Fife, Lanark, Orkney, Shetland, as well as Canada, England, Ireland, Italy and the USA. This was an event with a truly cosmopolitan favour on stage and off. An event which had me thoroughly entertained from start to finish I have to say though, much as I enjoyed an excellent headline for me the highlight of the evening was Kris Drever’s performance of Harvest Gypsies. The lyrics of this song leave me truly mesmerised every time I hear them. It really is a warning to the world to change the way we view others and maybe in the words of Robert Burns to see ourselves as others see us or at least to try and if we can do that we may have a world where dreamers can dream musicians can play, singers can sing, poets can be inspired, and together we can all share our stories in whatever way we’ve been gifted.

Review 2 : Dave Ivens

“That’s good, I was going to be here anyway,” joked Kris Drever as he took to the stage at The Old Fruitmarket. Having to stand in at the last minute for BC Camplight’s visa-induced no-show his trio ran through a short but engrossing set showcasing his fabulously clear vocals- a couple of numbers being decided on the spot. The instrumental interplay with fellow guitarist Ian Carr at times evoked the best days of John Renbourn and Bert Jansch.


Kris Drever must surely be regarded as a major talent now on both the Scottish and international acoustic music scene. Even though several other Final Night Celtic Connections events were taking place simultaneously in various other venues, Calexico came on stage to huge applause from a practically sold-out audience of all age groups.

The seven-piece band led by founder members Joey Burns and John Convertino set the tone for the evening with several numbers from their as-yet unreleased album Edge Of The Sun which prominently featured the twin trumpets of Martin Wienk and Jacob Valenzuela- a live-wire performer who kept the crowd entertained throughout. Using their multi-instumental talents Calexico were able to conjure up everything from from Bossa Nova to reggae with Mariachi, rock and Ameicana in between. With so many diverse musical strands on offer however, the band seemed sometimes to lose focus a bit-particularly on a long-winded rock anthem version of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart. In contrast, the other cover of the night, the Love classic Alone Again Or,worked brilliantly well with the trumpet duo capturing the originals’ sparkling Spanish-tinged arrangement perfectly.

Another highlight was an almost acapella version of Fortune Teller featuring Joey Burns over sparse acoustic guitar. The encore saw the band whipping up the crowd in to a Tex-Mex frenzy with much whooping and hollering,then,after a couple of group bows they were gone, leaving the crowd shouting for more and bringing another fine season of Celtic Connections to a close.

Reviewer : Dave Ivens