Paris Street Rebels: Kings of Balado

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First-class Fife band, Paris Street Rebels, have just released their new single – Kings of Balado


Where are you all from and where are you all at geographically speaking?
Grant: Myself, Jazz and Kev all grew up together in a discarded, derided and forgotten ex-mining town in Fife, Scotland. Ballingry brought us up mean and showed us the best and worst life has to offer dangerously young. Cammy was different he found us after years of growing up in a slightly less violent village just 10 minutes from us. He always maintains that place was no good for him. Nowhere near enough trouble he says haha. The truth is all 4 of us have always been outsiders, even in our own communities. All hung up on Little Richard when everyone else was busy fitting in.

Hello Kevin, so where does your love of music come from?
Kevin: My love of music comes from a generation of music lovers. A lot of my family members have always had music on around me and you could say it stemmed from there. I really got to know music when I started writing and understanding that it doesn’t just come from the radio or the beautiful people on tv, it comes from depths of the heart.

How did the band’s line-up come together?
Cameron: The band’s line up as it is now took some time to come together. We were initially a six-piece group which after three months quickly turned to five. Around six months later, after weeks of discussion, we made the decision that being a four piece band would be the best line up for Paris Street Rebels. We’ve never looked back since.

Can you tell us about the earlier incarnations of the band?
Kevin: The band at its earliest stage looked and sounded completely different from what you would see and hear today. Having started as a 6 piece we found ourselves building a sound to satisfy the various members as opposed to focusing on one singular vision. After becoming a 4 piece we watched ourselves become a far more single minded, focused, dangerous rock’n’roll group. With a united ethos and hell bent on changing the world, the four of us have become something else entirely.

What would you say are the band’s biggest influences?
Jazz: It’s very hard to pin down influences for us I’d say, I suppose most people would compare us with the punk scene, The Clash etc but we take influence from so much more than that. What makes us different is that if you asked any member his top 5 bands they’d all be totally different. That’s what makes us unique I think.

Which singers and styles have influenced your own voice?
Grant: When I think of the singers who have directly influenced me throughout the years it’s clear I’ve always connected more with vocalists who had their own unique voice. The type of singers who you could instantly recognise and identify in any setting. That authenticity of expression has always been important to me. To name but a few Ray Davis, Joey Ramone, Bob Dylan, Joe Strummer, Patti Smith, Jam era Paul Weller, John Lennon, Leonard Cohen. These artists could not be confused with any over-manufactured, mass produced, reality tv talent show fodder of today and that in and of itself proves their worth.

Do the band members socialise outwith the music?
Jazz: Constantly, probably too much to be honest. Me, Kev and Grant all grew up together, same village, went through school together and have been through a lot together. Cammy was the missing cog and although in the grand scheme of things he’s relatively new in the social circle. He’s just made everything click. He’s the glue needed to hold the other three maniacs together.

What does your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
Kevin: My perfect Sunday afternoon could look like a day in the rarity of the sun playing guitar drinking beer or even a ‘black out blind’ day listening to the rain with no worry at all.

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In 20 seconds sell the Paris Street Rebels speed dating style.
Grant: Well Cilla I think people should listen to our little rock’n’roll band Paris Street Rebels. Deranged? Yes. Professional? Debatable. Legendary? We soon will be sister.

You’ve got three famous bass players from history coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starters, mains & dessert?
Jazz: James Jamerson (Motown), Paul Simonon (The Clash) and Mani (The Stone Roses). Beer starter, Gin and Tonic main, Sambuca for desert.

You’ve just been deserted on an island with a solar-powered DVD-TV combo – which 3 films would you have with you?
Grant: I could’ have chosen 3 pretentious Italian arthouse films by the way… and on another day I may well have…but on this occasion I thought it best to tell you it like it is. Cinema has always been the real Rock’n’Roll and its not to be trifled with. Apocalypse Now. Its long as fuck and has Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper and Marlon Brando among others playing out the tragedy and comedy of the Vietnam War. All whilst one of the greatest soundtracks in cinematic history makes the death filled jungle’s of North Vietnam…. almost funky. Trainspotting. Hard to avoid really. Would seem cliche if not for the fact that even in 2019 it is still undoubtedly that good. It told the story of heroin addicts of course but also of working class Scottish culture trapped in a cage of its own design. Iconic then, iconic now. The names Danny Boyle and Irvine Welsh will forever be etched on my heart. Pulp Fiction. For a pre-teen in the late 90s seeing this for the first time its effect can not be understated. The strange world of Tarantino’s LA might as well have been Alpha Centauri for all I knew. The way the thing was structured, crafted, shot and the way Pulp Fiction was built around dialogue and its characters strange interpersonal relationships within this mythical 50’s American dreamland knocked me dead. It still does.

Can you describe the band’s sound?
Cameron: We take inspiration from all sorts of different bands and music. We like to fuse a blend of The Clash, The Libertines sort of angst along with the glam rock of 70’s Stones and T-Rex, with some David Bowie in there for good measure. Having said that ask me another day and all those would be different again. Schizophrenia runs wild in this group.

Is the band focused more on recording or gigging?
Kevin: As we plan our years we tend to take one year foccused solely on writing and recording and preparing for a new year full of gigs to showcase our recordings which helps us hold our fans gaze.

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Jordan Mclean: ‘Jazz,’ Bass / Cameron Gaudin: ‘Cammy,’ Drums / Grant Malcolm: ‘G,’ Vocals & Guitar / Kevin Murphy Jnr: ‘Trev,’ Vocals & Guitar

Can you describe the dynamics of the band’s musicianship?
Cameron: We put the song first. Whatever we create as independent musicians within the group is to serve the song we’re working on. Paris Street Rebels aren’t a group that allow pretentious 10 minute guitar solos. It’s all about the story we’re trying to tell at that time.

Where do the band’s songs come from?
Jazz: Our songs are all about what’s happening around us, growing up in a place like we did you seen a lot of shit. They’re about our experiences and what we’ve seen other people go through, as well as all the shit that’s happening in the world today. Bands have always been social speakers, the times were living in now we need to speak up more than ever.

Can you tell us about the new single – what its about, where it came from?
Cameron: Kings Of Balado is the story of two perfect strangers spending a night lost in the festival campsite of Balado which was the long-term site of Scotlands legendary T in the Park. It pulls directly from our own lives and experiences and explores the importance of music festivals in general but also the spiritual connections we can all feel for each other in mass gatherings of these types. A unity. A temporary lifestyle lived briefly throughout the summer months. Festivals and other outdoor, hedonistic events like them serve as a blueprint for alternative society for young and old dis-satisfied with day-time TV and uneventful barbecues.

Can you describe the writing process of Kings of Balado?
Grant: When we were first writing ‘Kings Of Balado’ it started to sound like some ancient, pagan chant or incantation of some kind. There seemed to be something primal about that pounding, maddening mantra building to a crescendo like that. That mystical aspect really influenced the lyrical content of the tune. I immediately made a connection between that and a strange night I had spent years ago, one night when the Scottish weather was uncharacteristically sublime. Perfectly lost in the campsite of the T In Park festival held at Balado, ten minutes from my front door. I spent the whole night walking and talking with a complete stranger who I felt like I’d known forever. We talked about hopes, love, fears, politics, Stanley Kubrick and revelled in the human carnival going on all around us. It sure was a trip.

Can you tell us about the recording process?
Jazz: The track itself was a piece of piss to record. Once we locked into the feel of it we rattled the thing off without much fuss. Shout out to Chris Marshall & Johnny Madden of &West Studios who smashed it out of the park once again on production duties. The Wizards we call them…. magicians man.

What does the rest of 2019 have in store for the band?
Cameron: At the moment we are currently working on our next single release for our track ‘Kings of Balado’ which will be released April 12th along with a steady stream of gigs around Scotland. We also have several other singles set to be released steadily throughout the rest of 2019 which we cannot wait for you all to hear. Stay tuned.


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www.facebook.com/ParisStreetRebelsUK

Teenage Funkland 6: On the Road

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“I’m quintessentially English. I’m quintessentially French. When we go to Germany I’ll be quintessentially Kraut.” Jarvis Cocker


Continuing Damian Beeson Bullen’s retrospective adventure thro’ the Birth of Britpop; with a trip back to Burnley for his 18th birthday (11-06-94), on which occasion Oasis had kindly obliged to play a free concert in Preston for all his pals…


After being surrounded by so many familiar accents, suddenly we felt a little homesick. I then realised I was just about to turn eighteen – June 11th – & mentioned to Nick going back up North for a few days. We had been in Wales for a month, half of our free-rent-time, & so far we had done some pretty mad stuff. We had some proper tales to tell. Besides, there wasn’t a decent chippy for miles around Ynyssdu & Nick was growing sick of fish finger butties.

“Reyt idea!”

One of those stories was of course I meeting with The Stone Roses, a garbled account of which was now leaking out into the world – or perhaps the Geffen boys actually thought we were members of the band.

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1994 was a very different place – the height of the analogue age, but on the cusp of the digital revolution. In 1994, for example, there were 67 mobile phones for every 1,000 people in Britain. By 2004, there were more mobiles than people. Back in 94 the metrosexual revolution was in fill swing with Oddbins making wine-tasting available to anyone via 200 wines being quaff’d by the ‘less civilised’ members of society, leading to a serious surge in street-mooning & gutter-puking.

Meanwhile, out in the world of golf, the 19-year-old Tiger Woods was hurtling around gossipy player circles as ‘that brilliant black kid.’ Tiger, real-names Eldrick (his nick-name came from his dad’s Vietnam War buddy) was from Cypress, California, & at the age of 3 was shooting his dad’s 9-hole course in 48 shots.

I’ve never been materialistic at all. I just want to be the best golfer around. And I don’t mean the greatest black golfer around, I mean the best, period. Tiger Woods

Unfortunately Tiger was living in the same era as Kim Jung-Il, whose biography tells us he first picked up a golf club in 1994, at North Korea’s only golf course, and shot a 38-under par round that included no fewer than 11 holes in one. Satisfied with his performance, he reportedly immediately declared his retirement from the sport.

Before we headed north, we had to back to Wales first to sign on, so we decided to break up the train-jump with our first visit to Stonehenge. We got off the train at Salisbury, dominated by her cathedral’s massive spire, then caught a bus up to the stones. It was nice enough, but fenced off so we couldn’t get stoned among those ancient monoliths, & like kiss ’em or summat. Instead we skinned up a couple of spliffs & spent a nice hour on a little rise not far away from the circle, the wide sweep of Salisbury plain all around us. In our reefer-haze we even wrote a new tune, called Blowin’ a Reefer on Salisbury Plain – tho’ lacking Weed’s classic status, we thought it would make a perfect b-side.

Meanwhile, in the world of philandering royalty, we were all still trying to get our heads around the separation of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. In June, Charles finally admitted his extramarital affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. He’d been secretly seeing her for years, but had been forced by higher powers to create heirs with Diana Spencer, some crazy Zionistic shit most likely.

After signing our souls away to the Man, we set off for Lancashire, knowing there would be couple of fat giros waiting for us when we got back. On the way up we heard that the Scottish MP Gordon Brown had pulled out of the Labour leadership race, leaving the door wide open for Tony Blair. They had decided to share the power, Blair getting first ‘dibs’ on the premiership, while Brown got the house next door.With hindsight, if Brown had realised he would have to play understudy for well over a decade, he might have changed his mind. But to two young lads in the middle of a Teenage Funkland, the news might as well have been in French. One bit of news did catch my attention, however.

“Yo Nick, Oasis are doing a free gig on my birthday in Preston.”

“That’s lucky Damo,”

“Aye, it is innit!”

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Jane Holdsworth

So we set off, me & Nick, plus a few friends in tow, including Jane – the girl I was seeing before I set off to Skegness. She was a bonny blonde & suffice it to say I woke up on the first full morning of my nineteenth year with her beside me. It was in the attic bedroom of her mum’s house in Brierfield, which is no longer standing. It was not far from a bridge over the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, & a year or so later, when we split up, I remember after one last night of farewell lovemaking, I took a ‘couple-photo’ from her room & threw it symbolically into the canal from the bridge – where it might be to this day!

Back in 1994, on the morning of my 18th birthday we had all bobbed along the East Lancashire train-line the 20 miles to Preston, where I quickly realised that train-jumping with 8 people was a lot trickier than with two. In the confusion half of us got there without paying, & we were soon approaching Preston’s  Avernam Park. It was a free festival in the old Castlemorton tradition, sponsored by Heineken Festival – a huge inflatable beer-can of whose over-shadowed the site. It was a Saturday & the third day out of four – The Charlatans had played on the Friday. This was also the first Heineken Festival of the summer, they’d be up & down the country for months.

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It was interesting to see that in a matter of a month or so since Newport, the Oasis crowd was getting bigger & more boisterous. When they took to the stage, a deep mooing footie chant kick’d off, the first time I had heard the now famous “O-A-SIS, O-A-SIS!” terrace-song. One prat chucked a beer at the stage, with Liam throwing a wobbler; “we’re not fuckin’ ‘aving that – were not playing,” he spurted out, but of course they played. kicking off with Shaker Maker.

Altho’ we were too young & bouncy to notice, the tent was also full of critics from ‘That London,‘ all finding themselves tapping their feet to the cultural phenomenon exploding before their eyes. The fact that none of them could understand Liam’s incoherent ramblings between numbers made them like the band even more. By the end everyone was buzzing, including a guy who climbed 50 feet to damce precariously on a metal strut on the roof of the marquee, before being chased Beny-Hill style by two security men off the park.

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I feel a real twat with Oasis, because the’re the first other band I’ve really loved since I joined a band myself. We’ve played with them a lot lately & I love hanging around with ’em, but I can’t talk to ’em properly cos I keep thinking ‘You bunch are fucking ace!”  Martin Carr (The Boo Radleys)

After another barnstorming, intoxicating, belligerent, blistering, mouth-full-of-chips-AND-gravy gig, me & Nick got the Gallagher brother’s autographs on the back of the same sheet of paper that the Stone Roses had signed, like proper starry-eyed fans. After Oasis came the Boo Radleys, who were alright. As Avenham Park began to empty me at the end, Jane & I said our goodbyes as Nick toddled off to Barlick with Ezy Ste, while my other mates went back to Burnley.

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Jane & my Grandma Joan

So I was off on a romantic birthday surprise trip to Blackpool, to where we caught a train at Preston.. As it was so packed after the free festy, the conductor never came & soon we were soon searching for a B&B in the English Vegas. As it was so packed the conductor never came & soon we were searching for a B&B in the English Vegas. Finding a suitably cheap & cheery one, we rushed to the Pleasure Beach for a birthday go on the recently opened Big One. It had put the Pleasure Beach back on the map after a decade of Alton Towers’ supremacy & was – for a while – the tallest roller-coaster in the world. It was also a good place to splice a wee snog with your girlfriend with innuendos about big ones – teenage foreplay at its most effective.

The Big One

Back at the B&B & indulging in some drunken pillow-talk,  Jane she mentioned she was going to Newquay with six other girls for a weeks holiday at the beginning of July.

“Wanna come?”

“Is the Pope polish?”

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The day after the day after my birthday, Oasis released their second single – the cocky superior sonic sneer of the copelling & addictive Shakermaker – & the Pyramid Stage burnt fireball-down at Glastonbury. The former, recorded & mixed in only 8 hours, would reach #11, while the latter was gone forever. Also released on June 13th was Shed Seven’s second single, Dolphin, two months before their debut ‘Change Giver’ album. I love Shed Seven me – the city of York’s wicked wee, pimp-rolling contribution to the 90’s soundscape -; Rick Witter was an oddball, dusky pixie with a stunning voice, whose Dolphin is a well funky track & A Maximum High (1996) is a fantastic album. Brit Pop at it most pearliest – beautifully posed, epic music  that brought the movement’s ethos to a true perfection.

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Not having a TV in Ynyssdu, I watched a bit of telly while up in Lancashire, including Chris Evans’  Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush. Between his stints fronting The Big Breakfast and the Radio 1 Breakfast Show, Chris Evans had devised and began hosting a Saturday night gameshow that bundled winning contestants off on holiday directly at the end of the show. It was a conceit that generated unprecedented levels of hysteria in the studio, not least on the occasion when they revealed they were sending the entire audience on a coach trip to EuroDisney. Suddenly the atmosphere was something akin to the away end when your team’s just scored a last minute winner. The only person not going completely wild was the somewhat perplexed studio guest, Barry White. Only in 1994.

Me & Nick were now buzzin’ about another gig that had rolled onto the horizon, like they do in the seemingly endless roll of parties that is the English Summer. Both Bjork & Oasis were playing the Saturday night at Glastonbury. We had never been to a proper festival before, but the time seemed right, especially with Jane & the Girls being a only a short train jump away in Cornwall just afterwards. We were young & at liberty to enjoy the keenly-felt experiences which were piling rapid-fire into our lives.

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After a week or so we borrowed Ezy Ste’s tent & set off South. We spent a couple of nights in Stratford-Upon-Avon en route, calling on an old mate of mine from Accy Road, Mark Hancock. We found him in this candlelit park where a load of actors were having a rather la-de-da party. He was raving about Prozac, popping open a blister pack of green-and-white capsules and declaring he had seen the light. We declined – we preferred pills that made us dance, preferably to Techno. But we had some beers & it was reyt enough to see him – I had just turned eighteen after all, & felt like a proper adult talking about Shakespeare & all that stuff. So Mark got us tickets to see a play called Peer Gynt at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.


It would be hard to imagine a face less likely to stoop to gloating than the noble wreckage of Barton’s countenance. Prodded about the entirely negative critical response to Ninagawa’s mammoth god, though, he admits: ‘Of course it was heartening if one was taking the opposite approach. But one also felt for the actors and for the main fellow (Michael Sheen) who was so valiant and good. I mean, you can’t do international casting as Peter Brook does unless you can really communicate with everyone and work together. It looked like a Great Dictator production – you know, ‘I’ve got my lighting; I’ve got my design; I’ve got my concept; I’ve got my film of onions. And in between there are some scenes.’

Paul Taylor (The Independent Newspaper, May 1994)


 

It was a curious experience, watching high-brow theatre proper stoned like. In later years I would develop a definitive appreciation for the dramatical arts – I’m a theatre critic for example – but for the 18-year-old Damo watching Henrik Ibsen’s masterpiece found no amplification, no guitars & no catchy choruses. It was time to get to Glasto.

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TEENAGE FUNKLAND

———

1: THE MURDER OF KURT COBAIN

2: SUPERSONIC

3: NEWPORT

4: YOUNG ROSES

5: THAT LONDON

6: ON THE ROAD

Celtic Connections: Mariza & Support

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Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Monday, January 21st 2019


I took my seat at the back of the main concert hall, taking it all in. The setting was striking, with the marvellous Celtic Connections signature logo projected in black on the left hand stalls and in red on the stage’s back screen. As the lights dimmed, the musicians of the support act calmly took their places and the magic began.

Spotlights picked out each performer as they embarked upon their tender and emotional musical journey, sometimes individually, sometimes in combination. The theme was ancient Scottish culture, portrayed through poetry – ancient stories in ancient music had the performance travelling through tragedy through to childlike joy. The solo singer carefully stood her ground as she bathed us in her beautiful voice, enhanced by an accompaniment performed in perfect harmony, like an organ being played by several people. Whole songs were written on the one tone like a melodic drone with the instruments effortlessly guiding each other to make the chord swell to fill the hall and dance over its high walls. She was joined by a second singer for two songs of her own composition. A fitting prelude to the main performer.

Mariza and her accompanying musicians, on guitar, Portuguese guitar, acoustic bass – and accordion – performed their first haunting song in darkness. The mood had changed to Fado, an old musical genre with its roots in Mariza’s native Portugal. There was an almost ephemeral quality about the singer’s amazing gown in a light grey/blue which seemed to echo the lightness and ever-changing quality of the music, and to subtly promise an equally well-crafted evening, which indeed it turned out to be, with production values that could not have been bettered.

Mariza held the audience in the palm of her hand as, moving easily in that gorgeous gown, she spoke to us, introducing each song and drawing us in to the stories she was telling through her music, now sad, now joyously happy. Fado seems to embrace many genres of world music, moving between them with mind boggling fluidity as we were continuously introduced to yet another facet, another possibility that the music could embrace. And yet there was a great unity between them which Mariza captained and conducted. We could hear the Portuguese side but could also see the African element of her heritage.

The early promise was more than fulfilled in the performance, from the vocals and the intense musical accompaniment, to the visual impact created by the singer and her band, to the first class set. There was a presence there that lifted and conquered the hall, with a voice and music that was compelling and variable. Her intimacy as a performer was matched by her vivacious vocals. She moved around, she sat on the edge of the stage sharing her heart with us, talking about love and her goals in life, telling us that for her music is all about love. And living up to each and every point of celebration she wished to make in the marvellous uplifting music.

This was a haunting and lovely celebration of the beauty and power of music with a world class performer genuinely happy to be taking part in the Celtic Connections Festival. As she left the stage she took a walk round the hall, greeting friend and stranger alike (friends had come from home to see her). She opened herself up to everyone, come what may. Totally captivating.

Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly

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The Celtic Sessions: Duncan Chisholm – The Gathering / Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill

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Perth Concert Hall
Saturday 5 May 2018


The last time I heard Duncan Chisholm play was in Perth Concert Hall, when he supported the exquisite voice of Julie Fowlis. This time round he took the limelight and offered to a rapt Perth audience a selection of familiar compositions as well as a few from his new album “Sandwood”, named after the isolated beach in north-west Sutherland. Chisholm has spent the past few years visiting there and drawing inspiration for his new project. If you are lucky to have been to Sandwood Bay you’ll instantly understand the music. It’s magical.

Chisholm’s work is intensely evocative of land and sea, and he captures in sound the Celtic idea of “thin places’ – places in the landscape that are closer to the spiritual than others, in pieces like the opening “The Light of Tuscany.” Chisholm’s fiddle soared above a rolling soundscape of piano and uilleann pipes. The music is mesmeric, almost numinous, but always with a directness that belies Chisholm’s sheer brilliance with the bow. The second composition, “Haze across the sun,” is the musical distillation of a Highland Summer morning where “everything” as Chisholm explained in his lilting highland accent, “is bursting with life.” The piece explodes with the combined talents of Chisholm’s “Gathering”: Jariath Henderson on pipes and whistles, Donald Shaw on piano, Innes Watson on guitar, Su-a Lee on cello, Donald Hay on drums and Perthshire’s very own Patsy Reid on violin. The driving traditional rhythms of this piece build to a climactic shout of sheer energy and joyfulness.

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“A Precious Place” brings the tempo to waltz-time. The simple refrain sees Chisholm and Hay (who wrote the piece) lyrical, wistful, and utterly without sentimentalism. But this is just a pause for breath before the Gathering is called again for the jubilant “Dizzy Blue’. Chisholm draws his inspiration from Scots and Irish poets, and the title of this piece is from “Summer Farm” by Norman MacCaig, – “A swallow falls and, flickering through/The barn, dives up again into the dizzy blue.” You could be just there, listening to this. “Running the Cross”, “An Ribhinn Donn” and “The Farley Bridge” saw Chisholm returning to the “Strathglass Trilogy” of albums – “Affric”, “Canaich” and “Farrar”. Again, the evocation of place and the keen feel for the essence of a moment are Chisholm’s recurring idées fixes. “An Ribhinn Donn” is particularly beautiful – a lament for the lost beauty of a brown-haired girl.

It is always a thrill to be exposed to artists new to the ear. Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill opened the evening with wickedly skilful Irish fiddle music. The two play together with the speed and dexterity of the Irish Rugby Team. It was a real joy to listen to new tunes and watch two wonderful performers who held a packed concert hall hanging on each note, as they communicate their own sheer enjoyment through the music. The Gathering were joined on stage by Hayes and Cahill for a finale, introduced simply as a “tune from Donegal”, that was utterly gorgeous and will be one I’ll be searching for just to remember how beautifully a very entertaining evening was rounded out. I left the concert not only wanting to revisit all of Duncan Chisholm’s past work, but to comb again the beach at Sandwood.

Mark Mackenzie

An Interview with David Blair

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Across Scotland this Summer, the words PEACE, LOVE, & MUSTARD will be utter’d over a million times. About 100,000 of these will come from the bouncy lips of Mr David John Blair, the iconic Dijancer of the equally iconic Colonel Mustard & the Dijon 5. The Mumble managed to catch a wee blether with the laddie, & thoroughly enjoy’d the experience…


 

So David, nice to meet ya, can you tell us where you’re from and where you’re at, geographically speaking?
Yo D! I’m (made) from the recycled atoms of collapsing stars. At One with the Cosmos. Geographically on this third rock from the Sun; a wee village called Chryston, North Lanarkshire, Alba.

What’s the best photo of baby David you possess, and can we see it?
I’ll need to ask me maw for that… take yer pick!

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We’ll use both. So, as far as the Scottish cool list goes you’re pretty near the top. Have you always been cool or were you a late developer?
Ha! Cheers bro 😉 I find the concept of being “cool” a weird one. I’m just doing my thing and trying to help folk along the way and enjoy myself as well. Spreading a wee bit of peace, love and Mustard wherever I go. I like using the word ‘cool’ but I’ve always had an outsiders non-conformist attitude and a Timothy Leary approach to life i.e. THINK FOR YOURSELF. QUESTION AUTHORITY. I love the 60s and am heavily influenced and inspired by that decade through The Beatles, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground; The Monkees, blah, blah, blah and the whole hippy and flower power counter-cultrure movement spearheaded by legends like Robert Anton Wilson, Terence McKenna, Alan Watts et al. As one of my hero’s, John Lennon, once said, “If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliche that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that’s his problem. Love and peace are eternal.” In 2015 I was in Perú to do an ayahuasca ceremony with Quechuan shamans in the Sacred Valley outside Cusco in the foothills of the Andes. When I met Pachamama during that She (“God” is obviously a She) showed me my past lives so in terms of development I think I’ve been kicking about as some form of energy neither creating or destroying but changing form for a good 13 billion years ha! Or, I could be wrong about that and it was just a phenomenal trip! Guess you’d need to try it yourself for experiential evidence to corroborate or refute my “story”. I have known Colonel John Thomas McMustard (Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 frontman) since we were 5 (he was just John back then) from starting Primary 1 together so maybe we’ve been hatching plans for the Dijonverse since then. Maybe. I’m sworn to secrecy on that one until we both synchronously touch the ancient megalithic standing stones outside Dijon in France and then we can reveal The Truth!

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Photo by Andy Hughes

Cool! So what were your favorite confectionary as a kid (crisps, sweets, chocolates)?
Crisps; two bobbers e.g. Tangy Toms, Dinobites, Space Raiders.
Sweets; loved flumps!
Chocolates; Topics and Ripples.

Tasty. So David, where the fuck did you learn to dance like that?
Under 18’s raves, over 18’s raves, watching Keith Flint and Leeroy Thornhill from the Prodigy and umpteen B-Boys and B-Girls and Alan Partridge dancing to Kate Bush and ABBA medleys.

As an integral member of the Mustard Gang you can often be seen surfing the crowd in an inflatable dinghy, wearing a crash helmet. Have you ever fallen off?
Yes! A few times. But like a metaphor for life; it can sometimes get you down. But when you look around, you realise that you have a lot of support around you when you need help who can lift you back up and help you reach your highest potential. We all get by with a little help from our friends.

The first time I saw your band was at Kelburn on a sunny afternoon a few years ago. I said to myself at the time you were a great outfit, and in the interim it seems everyone else in at least Scotland has caught on. Can you describe the rising of the Mustard star?
We’ve been playing live. A LOT. About 100 gigs (50 festivals) across Scotland, Ireland, England and South Korea in the last three and a half years. The legion of 6th Dijons (our affectionate name for our loyal following) has grown after every gig and festival.From a capacity 1,900 at our Yellowland Barras gig in March 2016 with our Yellow Movement brothers and sisters The Girobabies, Jamie & Shoony, Have Mercy Las Vegas and The Twistettes; to be voted the highlight of Zandari Festa in Seoul, South Korea in October 2016 to 9,000 watching us at the Garden (main) Stage at Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival last year, the support just keeps on growing! It’s been incredible and word of mouth adds to that. We all want to have a laugh and enjoy ourselves when we go out and what better way to soundtrack our ‘Peace, Love & Mustard’ than with the power of music!

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Photo by Andy Hughes

So how did the name come about?
The name Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 was gifted to the Colonel, when he was just John, at the Glastonbury Stone Circle by a shaman from Dijon in 1997. It was prophesised. John had already mentally formed the band then manifested us into the physical realm earlier this decade. It was an idea whose time had come.

Right… So, what does David Blair like to do when he’s not being musical?
Activism, reading, running, yoga, meditating, avoiding the mundane, plotting how to overthrow the Tories.

What are your favorite Mustard songs to listen to, and your favorites to dance to?
To listen to would be ‘These Are Not The Drugs (You Are Looking For)’. Lyrically it’s a journey and asks a lot of questions about drug use and it’s effects and how we treat it and those who it affects. I particularly love the masked frontman from Mickey 9s, St Cool’s, contribution; “”(Health giving or medicinal properties, Partake to intake for love’s sake of a pair of E’s, The woes of the world caused by hate are all laid at ease, The eyes of your friends will be blessed to remember these, It’s not about the method but about what you love more, The ego of your self or your compassionate core, It’s the key to perception will you open up the door, These are the fucking drugs that I’m looking for…” And ‘Peace, Love & Mustard’ because that’s our mantra.
To dance to would be ‘Dance Off’. Getting a circle at the front and having a dance battle with The 6th Dijon always throws up some interesting shapes. It’s not about who has the best moves, it’s all about feeling free to express yourself and dancing like no one’s watching.

Cool! So where will the Yellow Juggernaut be rolling to this summer?
May is BIG music industry showcase month for us. First up is FOCUS Wales in Wrexham with international delegates from BreakOut West in Canada to Australian Music Week. Two countries I would LOVE to spread the peace, love and Mustard in! Then we’re playing The Great Escape and five days in Brighton! We’re part of the Creative Scotland Scottish Showcase with some of the best talent up here right now. One’s to watch are Declan Welsh & The Decadent West. Like a cross between Mark E Smith and The Fall with the political leanings of Billy Bragg and societal observations of John Lennon in his solo years and with the musicality of Arctic Monkeys. Then we have, deep breath, FyneFest, Enjoy Music Festival, Eden Festival, Cream o’ the Croft, two weeks in Korea as International Peace Ambassadors to play the inaugural DMZ Peace Train Music Festival between the North and South, North East Chilli Fest, Audio Soup, MugStock, Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, Party at the Palace, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Lindisfarne Festival and… Live@Troon! I think that’ll be the end of festival season for another year!

 

Busy, busy, busy… Who are the organisational maestros behind such an intense itinerary?
The Dijon spreadsheet takes an absolute hammering ha! We all chip in. We have also thankfully been working with our booking agent, Antidote Booking, since the tail end of last year. I would personally like to thank them for everything they have done and for all the help they’ve given us. I used to manage and organise a lot of our bookings and it was driving me insane ha! Some might say I always have been but in the immortal words of Alice (in Wonderland), “I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”

So David, for any future converts to the cause, what does it take to become one of the 6th Dijon?
To become one of The 6th Dijon is easy. You just need a desire to be a part of a music loving community that comes together to be as One. Looking after one another in celebrating the live music experience and having a party with hearts and minds full of peace, love and Mustard. You may say we’re dreamers, but we’re not the only ones. One Love.

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The final question comes from the wife, who loves you! She wants to know what do you think of first thing in the morning?
I wake up every morning (when I’m home) and look at this amazing painting in my bedroom of one of my all time heroes by the incredible Glasgow based artist Marcus Raynal Hislop (The Notorious Gasoline Company)… The comedian and philosopher, Bill Hicks. He entertained and educated me as much as The Beatles, John Lennon and Rage Against The Machine. That line, “It’s just a ride.” comes from my favourite quote of his and is well worth sharing with your readers and memorizing…

The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly coloured, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun, for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because… this is just a ride.” And we … kill those people! “Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This HAS to be real.” But, it’s just a ride. And we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. But, it doesn’t matter because, it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as One. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and ‘defence” each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”


Connect with David & the Dijon 5 @

www.colonelmustarddijon5.com
www.yellowmovement.org

RELEASE DATE: MAY 21

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An Interview with Daniel Allison & Eilidh Firth

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This Friday sees Edinburgh-based storyteller Daniel Allison, Dundonian fiddle-player and composer Eilidh Firth, Mumbai actor, writer and director Sheena Khalid, and Kashmiri poet and songwriter Mohammad Muneem Nazir begin A New Conversation. The Mumble managed to catch a wee blether with the Scottish contingent


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Hello Eilidh, so when did you realise you were musical?
EILIDH: I started getting violin lessons at the age of five, but I definitely wasn’t up for practicing! When I was ten I joined a local group called the ‘Tayside Young Fiddlers’ when I began to enjoy playing and after that my playing improved more and more.

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Hello Daniel. You are a true international troubadour. What is it about travelling that thrills you the most?
DANIEL: It’s very easy for us to get stuck in habitual ways of doing things, seeing things. Going to a place where nothing and no one is familiar frees you from outdated routines and perceptions, giving you the chance to experience the world and yourself anew. Unless you bring your phone…

You have worked as a chimpanzee tracker. What does that entail?
DANIEL: I worked on a chimpanzee habituation project in a developing nature reserve in Uganda. The job was to habituate chimps to human presence so that eventually tourists could come along and see them. So, we would walk through the forests listening and looking for chimps, in silence, all day, every day.

So Eilidh, you are a relatively recent graduate of the RCS; how did you find your studies there?
EILIDH: I loved my time at the RCS. It was great to be surrounded by people who were so passionate about traditional music. It gave me a grounding in the context around the music – the history, folklore and language – and they encouraged me to start writing my own tunes as well.

Back to Daniel. Creative Scotland have funded you to give four Scottish tours to date, visiting schools as if they were Dark Age courts & you were the travelling bard. Can you tell us a little about the experiences?
DANIEL: I love working as a modern-day bard, but I wanted to have a go at being a ye olden day bard, so I organised tours in which I would walk coast to coast across the country, wild camping and stopping to tell stories at schools along the way. The first one was very hard as I made my schedule too tight, so at one point I walked 28 miles in a day, slept and then got up at 5am to run for miles across the hills in the rain – with horrendous blisters – to get to my next gig. But I learnt from my mistakes and had wonderful experiences, like telling stories outside a chambered cairn on a hilltop on North Uist at sunset, and dancing Strip the Willow down Stornoway harbour at sunrise.

How does travel inspire your creativity & can you give us examples?
DANIEL: I love how people often begin creative practices while travelling, even if it’s just writing down what they’ve seen. I think somehow you can leave self-limiting beliefs at home. For me, I see or do things that stir my imagination, and then at some point they come out in a story. Based on that period in the forest, I wrote a story years later about a Tanzanian boy who is possessed by a chimpanzee, and a novella about an English girl encountering a local shaman while living in a Kenyan nature reserve.

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Eilidh, you are in integral member of the Scottish folk band ‘Barluath.’ Can you tell us about the experience?
EILIDH: We formed ‘Barluath’ while we were still at university and I feel like we’ve really grown up together. It’s been wonderful to travel and perform and I love making new music with them.

What is it about traditional Scottish music that makes you tick?
EILIDH: I love traditional music because every player can put their personal stamp on the music. No two performers will play a tune in the same way. I also think it’s great that the music has so much history surrounding it but it’s still as vibrant and relevant today.

…& Daniel, which instruments do you use when you add music to your storytelling?
DANIEL: My main instrument is the didgeridoo, which I play in traditional and contemporary styles, but I also use Tibetan singing bowls, rattles, chimes, drums, jaw harp and a few other bits and bobs to give texture to stories.

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What does Eilidh Firth like to do when she’s not being musical?
EILIDH: I love getting out into the countryside with the dog or up a hill – he keeps me fit! I’ve also recently taught myself how to knit so you’ll usually find me cursing under a pile of yarn!

Can you tell us about A New Conversation?
EILIDH: A New Conversation has brought together two artists from Scotland and two from India to create new work based through storytelling and music. I didn’t have any experience of storytelling before this residency, so it’s been fantastic to push the boundaries of what I do. I’m particularly excited about part of the show that looks at the links between mill workers in Mumbai and Dundee. The stories from the other artists have been really inspiring and I’ve loved experimenting with music for the show. We decided to call the piece ‘Where I Stand’ and it looks at our connection to our land and place through ancient myths and a reimagining of contemporary stories.

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What will be your contribution to A New Conversation?
DANIEL: The meeting of the mythic and contemporary is a strong current in our piece; I think my job has been to hold the place of the mythic, choosing the right stories and presenting them in a way that shows their relevance to Scotland and India now, and to our own lives as individuals. One story I tell is the legend of a poet who went to live in the otherworld but returned because he missed th madness and sadness of this world. Mohammad and I worked together to explore how his own story of a growing up in and later escaping a conflict zone reflects this tale.

Are you finding connections between European music and stories & that of India?
EILIDH: I knew there would be links between our two countries and cultures, but I couldn’t have imagined how many similarities there would be. I think both countries are going through periods of change and in some ways uncertainties and it’s been fascinating to see the parallels reflected in the stories brought together in ‘Where I Stand’.

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To which places will an audience member’s imagination be taken through the event?
DANIEL: A lot of places! Audiences will experience the murder of a giant, Iron Age warfare, industrial Mumbai, cosmic turtles, Urdu poetry, soul-stirring music and an erotic proposition from the goddess of war. I think that’s plenty to go on.

What does the rest of 2018 hold in store for Daniel Allison?
DANIEL: This year I’m going to be working hard to get my novel ready to send out into the world. It’s a dark and bloody adventure story for younger teenagers set in prehistoric Orkney.

What does the rest of 2018 hold in store for Eilidh Firth?
EILIDH: I’m really passionate about music education and when I’m not performing or composing I love to teach. Over the next few months I’m going to be taking some courses to give me some new approaches to working with young people and taking on some outreach projects to widen access to music. I also have a few jumpers I want to finish knitting and a couple of Munros to ‘bag’!


WHERE I STAND: A NEW CONVERSATION

Fri 4 May, Scottish Storytelling Centre
£10.00

Buy Tickets Here

Gypsyfingers

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The Voodoo Rooms
Edinburgh
27/04/2018


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I grabbed the opportunity to see this wonderful band earlier on this week, when I stumbled upon the Mumble’s interview with Luke Oldfield.  He is the son of Mike Oldfield. How cool is that? Imagine having Mike Oldfield as your dad! I first witnessed Gypsy Fingers back in September, when while on a Mumble Mission to review the rather amazing Australian duo Tubular Bells For Two, Gypsy Fingers were the support act. This is where I fell in love with them. In the interim the band has expanded in numbers. The other two members of this brilliant band, Pat Kenneally on drums and Tali Trow on Bass Guitar, complimented the two front stars with a musical chemistry that is bewitching to behold. Of their arrival, Luke told the Mumble in a recent interview;

 I posted on Facebook asking if there were any drummers or multi-instrumentalists who would be interested in joining Gypsyfingers and Pat Kenneally replied saying that he plays drums and keys sometimes at the same time, which we thought would be perfect! I had met Pat on a recording session previously so I knew he was a talented musician and that we would get on so we went to see him playing with another band so Victoria could see and meet him. We had a rehearsal and it just worked Pat has been an integral part of the band and a great friend ever since. Finding a bass player was more tricky! We had three bass players before we found Simon Hedges, who used to be in a great grunge band in Bristol called Airbus. Simon hadn’t played bass for 15 years since he left Airbus but we were having a beer telling him about how our bassist had spontaneously combusted (by suddenly moving to Japan) and he piped up with “I play bass!” and he was the perfect fit. He is currently working in Brussels for the BBC so we have our fifth bass player Tali Trow playing for us currently, who is also a real asset to Gypsyfingers bringing an extra layer of vocal harmonies with him.

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The Voodoo Rooms was the perfect venue to take Gypsy Fingers in for a second time. Intimate dark, warm and very welcoming. The opening song of the performance was “Eating Me” Gypsyfingers had me totally for the next 90 minutes. The most outstanding track in their repertoire “Eating Me” has been part of Divines DJ sets throughout Autumn, Winter and Spring. The whole of the debut album “Circus Life” Is fantastic and joyful on the ear. However “Eating Me” is a work of perfection. Written by and sung by the very beautiful Victoria Coughlan, Its infectious and Funky and the lyrics deeply meaningful. It still blows me away that the band opened with Eating Me and dedicated the song to myself.

The whole song is choreographed. Its great to dance to. I am a mime artist and Dancer, Bowie is my god, & Eating Me has the same descriptive quality in Victoria’s vocal content and delivery, & is very conducive to dance interpretation of the song. I love the Dancefloors in the Voodoo Rooms. Wooden and sprung. Aye this was Divines fave song of 2017. And it will be part of my Set in the Vishnu Lounge at Eden, in June. Because I knew the source material so well. It was a real treat to be so up close and witness these young masters displaying their art so beautifully. The Oldfield musical genes were very present in Luke’s expert guitar licks and treatments, while Victoria’s unique and folky, vocal delivery and beautifully played keys brought Circus Life to life. I knew that I had just witnessed something very special and that this band would not be playing venues as small as this for much longer.

Venue Choice. 5 Stars,
Entertainment Value. 5 Stars.
Presentation. 5 Stars.
So thats five stars all round..
5 Stars.
Divinexx