Ultimate Albums: Rodriguez

Rodriguezreality.jpgSixto Rodriguez is one of the most enigmatic singer-songwriters who ever lived. He grew up in Detroit during the birth of Motown, but branched off into folk. The best tracks from his two 1971 albums, COLD FACT  & COMING FROM REALITY, create what is for me an ultimate album – that is a flawless selection of ten classic songs, five each vinyl side, arranged in the best order.Rodriguezcoldfact.jpg

I swear down, his tunes are cracking, poetical folk furies but in 1971 tastes were changing & he slipped into obscurity. His music, however, resonated with apartheid South Africa & he became absolutely massive in that country, selling more than Elvis, without even realising, a story beautifully told in the film ‘Searching for Sugarman’ (2012). Despite a second surge of fame, Rodriguez lives a quiet life in Detroit’s historic Woodbridge neighborhood, occasionally popping over to South Africa to top up his bank balance.



Sugar Man
Hate Street Dialogue
Inner City Blues
Climb Up on My Music
This Is Not a Song, It’s an Outburst: Or, the Establishment Blues


I Wonder
Crucify Your Mind
Street Boy
Like Janis
Heikki’s Suburbia Bus Tour


An Interview with Peter Walker

Luxmuralis are taking their eagerly-awaited
Installation to St Andrews Voices Festival

Hello Peter, first things first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I live and work in Lichfield in Staffordshire. After years of living elsewhere I returned to my home city where I am Artistic Director of Lichfield Cathedral, and I live and have my studio now in the city.

Where does your love of the arts come from?
I became interested in art at around 14, firstly through literature and poetry and then through music, both art forms I pursued tentative steps towards involvement in and then gradually moved towards the fine arts. My love for the arts came from a realisation that through art we can understand a lot more about ourselves, our sentiments our emotions and express these in ways that share, reveal, explore and at times bring people together. The fine arts are not what many people image and a career in the arts is not simply a life in the studio, its an intellectual, often the most intellectual pursuit, an emotive and deeply personal way to explore honestly the world we inhabit. The great thing about creativity is that the artist is free to create, to think, to imagine, to make the “new”, be that reinterpreting the world we see physically or exploring and experimenting with the hidden. A love of the arts really just emerges from being honest with oneself and being open to experiences and learning and engaging with the honestly of individuals who for centuries have explored human existence in all its wonderful complexities.


Can you tell us about Luxmuralis & your role?
Luxmuralis isn’t a company or business, its an artistic collaboration between myself and composer David Harper. We’ve worked together for years and this collaboration fits a means of working where the visual and sound world come together to create fine art directly together. The artwork is solely produced by the two of us, however we are supported then by a collaborative Social Anthropologist, Kathryn and a team who come in for different purposes. The main work we do together is light and sound production – sometimes referred to a son et lumiere, on buildings or more commonly inside buildings. Unlike many people who do this, the art comes first, not the technical parts of the production, in fact the use of projectors and amplifier are to me analogous to paint and canvas or clay and bronze. They are the media by which the artwork is made rather then restrictions by which we have to follow set conventions. Luxmuralis create work which changes places, and space, often really quite emotional in may different ways and often not what people think or expect. I am the lead artist and artistic director, so essentially I look after the direction of the collaboration and the creation of the visual elements. David creates the sound and sound artworks, although we do cross over an input on both elements so that the natural flow of the work is maintained.

How did the idea come about, & how long has it taken to bring to fruition?
The project in St Andrews is for the St Andrews Voices festival, and is one of this year’s most exciting. It takes up 5 venues – one main production venue and 4 smaller intimate venues. We have been working for around 12 months with the festival director, looking at the subject of Space and the cosmos and considering how this works not only as an artwork but also bringing in a concert element with a collaborative choir which, although we have worked with choirs before, is in this case directly linked to the artwork. The Space link comes from the Lunar landing anniversary, although its not the only reason – being in a church reanimating the space and the architecture and creating a different visual experience for the festival was also key. This is the first year of a three-year partnership and therefore we have worked hard to really structure a project that is unique in its form and also offers a different experience to hearing live voice.

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What is the biggest obstacle you overcame while putting your show together?
Time is a big factor in developing project. But the biggest obstacle is that people don’t always know what to expect and we cant show the artworks and light events until they are complete and inset. So people come not knowing what they are going to see. But that’s also a massive advantage as there is nothing better than watching people sit back and just watch and be consumed in light and sound.

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Can you tell your about your use of light?
Light is a great medium but it is temporary. Most of the art forms I use are permanent, as in bronze, steel or oil But when I found light as a medium I realised that it was the perfect medium for allowing people to be in the artwork, within the frame. Its a great medium for bringing people together. I use it as I use paint or a pencil to sketch, I build a light artwork as I would any other artworks, through stitching, structuring building and completing and rendering the final work is like sending a clay to the foundry to be cast. What is great, though, is that the light is portable, and we can take it anywhere and bathe a beautiful building, or stunning interior architecture with artwork, not only bringing the architecture to life but also bringing the artwork to life.



Among performing in many beautiful cathedral across England, Luxmuralis will also be setting up at the British Consulate in Dubai, can you tell us more?
We are working in many Cathedrals this year, possibly 10 in total, and these are stunning place to work. The buildings themselves are laden with hundreds of years of history and one walks in the footsteps of thousands and millions of visitors and pilgrims, but light done in the right way, which can take weeks and months to design and create, reanimates the bare stone and bring colour back where once frescos adorned the architecture. Our project is Dubai is coming up this November and is a really nice project with the Embassy for Armistice Day, where we have create a piece which will be presented at the end of the service. We have many approaches for work and many we choose not to develop. Those we do because they offer artistic opportunities and the project in Dubai offered something artistically which was very exciting to explore.

How much, have you found so far, has offering such diverse & eclectic multi-media pieces connected with 21st century audiences?
Its actually quite remarkable. Many people will have seen light shows – but the way we do it is a quite different, they art animations or films – they are collections or ideas and thoughts combined into linear time bases work. They are artworks not shows, and as such they connect deeply with peoples emotions. People are looking for experiences at present and art and honest art creates moments that people want to be connected to. People also love to photo the light work, and share what they have seen and thats important as when people take photos these days it means they have invested in it and want to communicate their thoughts and enjoyment of the experience. Our work can be challenging, with cultural and artistic reference developed though an intellectual approach, but its also importantly fun and people of all ages to see and enjoy it, so families and people of all ages come and thats great to see because the more we move through the 21st century the more important this sense of sharing will become

Who are the Gesauldo Six?
They are a wonderful vocal consort comprised of some of wonderful singers. Their director Owain Park is is a remarkable composer and artist and we are delighted that this relationship has developed. They will be involved in a unique way – performing 3 live pieces in the main venue Holy Trinity Church in St Andrews, but rather than doing this once, they will cycle the works each hour and repeat the performances bathed in light and intercut with Davids sound works – it promises to be a wonderful event and partnership. (www.thegesualdosix.co.uk)


You will soon be setting up at St Andrews Voices festival, where will you be found & what will you be doing?
Our main venue is at Holy Trinity where the central work is around 15-20 long and repeats constantly, with the involvement of the Gesualdo Six throughout. The nave and side will be bathed in light and beautiful music and visitors can sit and watch once or many times and enjoy the aesthetics of light and sound combined. We are also doing a more medative projections around the zodiac with a sound piece in All Saints Church as well as a light and sound installation looking at the sun and Kepler in St. Leonards Chapel. We also have two further installations in a local gallery and small room just off the high street. People can walk around and enjoy all the venues in which ever way they want. Essentially we are using 5 locations to turn the town into a contemporary gallery and performance venue for 2 nights.

You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the show in the streets of Saint Andrews…
This is something St Andrews has never see before, its meaningful yet fun and the whole family can enjoy exploring the streets, from walking into a church where we will take them to the edge of the galaxy and back, standing and watching the sun, the zodiacs, watching the evolution of the universe and remembering the 1969 moon landings, all in one night – now who wouldn’t want to experience that!


Friday 18th and Saturday 19th October
St Andrews
Main installation, Holy Trinity Church, (7-10pm)
Satellite Venues (7-9.30pm)


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Collective Endeavors


Glasgow Art Club
September 20th, 2019

A new configuration of Collective Endeavors performed at the iconic Glasgow Art Club on 20th September to coincide with Glasgow Open Doors. This dance/music ensemble consisted of new dancers as their main dancer Aya Kobayashi has recently become a mum and was there to support her fellow collective members. So we were witness to Nerea Gurrugtxaga and Molly Danter who took us on a wordless journey where all sorts of themes and human emotions were enacted to a sold-out captivated audience.

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What a great venue for this throbbing, experimental and haunting experience. Nerea and Molly entered from different sides of the audience dancing solo, interacting together and making moves that held grace in their poise and impossible body flexibility. Both these performers look young but their experience in dance looks far more mature than their years.


Behind their youthful faces lies a plethora of knowledge, experience and control showing wisdom beyond their years. Gurrugtxaga from Basque country in Northern Spain was an artist in residence in Kinning Park Complex three years ago. Her isolation ( movement of one part of the body independently from the rest) is incredible to witness. Molly Danter (ShoreditchYouth Dance Company and London Contemporary Dance School) was phenomenal in her physicality and ability to envision the most complex forms with her body and make it look painless and ethereal.


Full body extension dancing when linked with the barefoot guitarist Reid was a surprise. We saw the two join together in an intense embrace and the juxtaposition of the movement and melody became one. They entwined in a cross-disciplinary marriage that was fleeting yet mesmerizing. The dancers reconnected with each other as we entered the next chapter of the performance. The disjointedness was elegant and surreal. Also meditative like tai chi grounding us in the human experience, making us slow down and savour the moment. Giving in to the performance. A playful atmosphere changes dramatically as the violinist creates a thumping crescendo which in turn heightens the pace of the bass notes of Ried’s guitar. The dancers run, chase and jump on each other and through the crowd. Elea Inei abstractly plays alongside Reid’s experimental guitar. The pulsing rhythms of the extraordinary music pulls the viewer into a sense of comfortability only to be thrown into chaos mirroring life’s rich tapestry.

Clare Crines


Belhaven’s Birthday Bash

Happy Birthday Belhaven, & of course, what a sell-out bash you’ve just given us! Yeah, I wasn’t expecting that one – a well-organised & friendly vibe, kids mingling with tipsy parents boogieing to cracking Celtic music, & only £3.50 drinks – including 1719, a specially brewed birthday celebration pale ale. I really do love a beer festival at source! Then, when the MD’s PA & her boyfriend drove up from Bury St Edmunds for seven hours to suddely find themselves pulling pints with a smile on their faces – thats what I call a proper family do. Sitewise, the stage was magnificent, wedged into the brewery itself with the dancing on tarmac. Nearby there were plenty of sun-kissed grassy knolls, some eateries, plus lots of toilets. Alas, & most, unfortunately, there were only bars!


Dunbar lived up to its meteorological reputation as the sunniest spot in Scotland – what a day. We arrived about 5.30, half-way or so through the festivities, with the sun lengthening & the beer queues shortening. Then the youth-bubbling Elephant Sessions started banging out some proper dancey 80’s-Celtic fusionica with a wee Tom Cruise type on violin as the de facto lead singer – his fiddle-playing was essentially his voice. Next up was Capercaillie, a more authentic sounding Scottish offering which we thoroughly enjoyed dancing to & drinking to thro’ a full set’s worth on the tarmac. Finally there was Niteworks, renowned for their fusion of electronica and folk music, who brought the celebrations to an electrifying close as the sun went west & the dusk drew out the stars.

Elephant Sessions being interviewed

We’re proudly Scottish and trade on our “Scottishness” in export markets around the world (around 30% of our beer goes overseas) so we’re always looking for ways to celebrate a fresh, relevant take on Scottish culture and I think the breadth of our line up does a great job of that. Read the full interview


There was a real buzz to the proceedings – a scintillating success. Everybody was happy to be there, you could tell, with smiles leaping lip-to-lip like playful puma cubs. I can’t see any reason Belhaven can’t throw a party every year, T In The Park style, & not every century or so. With Audio Soup & Linkey Lea both falling by the wayside in recent years, East Lothian is left bereft of its own festival. the Mumble firmly believes that the forces behind the organisation of Belhaven’s birthday bash could clearly handle it – as long as they chuck in my toilets.

Damian Beeson Bullen

Teenage Funkland 7: Glasto ’94


Concluding Damian Beeson Bullen’s
Retrospective adventure
Thro’ the Birth of Britpop

On a  Friday in late June, 1994, as the festival was kicking off we were just over the Bristol channel & back in Ynyssdu. Our plan was to cash our giros, buy some weed & get to the party. Unfortunately, the dodgy guys upstairs had fuckin cashed them, scarpered somewhere & left us with about a fiver in our pockets. We also had a letter on the mat saying our tenancy was up that weekend & could we kindly fuck off, seeing as we weren’t supposed to be there in the first place.  We opened up a window & Mar-Mari’s cage so she could escape to liberty, & like birds ourselves flew into an uncertain future. Perhaps it was time to go home, but we had come so far & had never let a lack of funds stop us before. The next morning we packed up our things & set off for the festival.


The journey to the site took us thro Cardiff & Bristol & on to Castle Cary train station, all curtesy of some top-notch train jumping. At Castle Cary we could hear the dull throb of the music coming from the distance, which was in fact several miles away. Luckily some local farmer in a range rover picked us up & drove us to the site. So we had arrived, but had no money & no way of getting in. We had heard about climbing over the fence for free, & indeed this is what I would do for the next few years until they turned it into Alcatraz, but that still wouldnt have solved our cash flow crisis. Then it struck me – the previous year I had got my gran to deposit some money in Burnley police station & I drew it from some cockney station – like an immediate emergancy bank.

 “Scuze me officer, me & Nick have lost all our cash & tickets on the train!”

“Better come with me then son!”

…he said, & led us to the police compound. We were a little unnerved by it all, but a few phone calls later Nick’s mum had deposited some cash in Barnoldswick & we were on our way to Shepton Mallet, about six miles from the site. There we picked up some cash, a few supplies & rerurned to the site again, where a very kind policeman let us in to the festy. A superb result & soon we had our tent up, scored some weed off a guy from Barlick who was a couple of tents away, & roaming the festy.

The sun was beating down on us as we wandered about, wide-eyed. All the cool kids of the country were there, the mod-ish girls were wearing bloke’s shirts, v neck jumpers, jeans & doc martins, while the lads were sporting addidas trainers, orange cords & tight stripy t-shirts with no logo. The rockers all had long hair & were still wearing their Manics & Nirvana t-shirts with pride. There was alos the huge, obligatory hippy contingent, who had all dobbed in over the fence to give the atmosphere its unique flavour (& smell). Those who go to a more corporate, money-grabbing, Glastonbury these days are only feeling a small percantage of the true felling of the place – after all it was born from a few hippies bouncing naked round a field, surviving on acid & the free milk Michael Eavis used to bring down from his farm.

Are you gonna wake up then, yeah? Yeah? Some real songs
Liam Gallagher, Glastonbury 1994

We had a smashing couple of days at our first Glasto on Worthy Farm  – the year of the legendary Orbital gig – a revelutionary gig that changed the nature of the festival. Brothers Paul and Phil Hartnoll played uncompromising, uncut, complex but fantastically thrilling electronics, their heads bobbing up and down inside their control tower with only their trademark torch spectacles visible like two extraterrestrials. Techno bled into drum’n’bass into dream-like abstract reveries, and some 40,000 people roared the Hartnolls on, bringing to life the paradox of dance music: there’s nothing so human as machine music. A year later Glastonbury had a Dance Tent. Now it has a whole Dance Village.

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1994 also saw Oasis on the brink of greatness playing second on the bill at the NME Stage, early afternoon on Sunday, sandwiched between Echobelly and west Midlands’ Nirvana-sampling hip hop crew Credit To The Nation. In the sunshine I mused on a crowd far in excess of that first time we’d seen them only a few weeks back in Newquay. I was even singing along to the tunes.

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It’s so early on for them, in fact, that Noel’s not even doing any backing vocals. Instead, he has to walk over to Liam’s mic whenever he wants to address the crowd. Other interesting points from the vid include the alternative lyrics to ‘Shakermaker’. “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony / I’d like to buy you all a coke to get you off your tree”. & Noel walking offstage before the rest of the band after final track ‘I Am The Walrus’, leaving Bonehead, Guigsy et al to finish the song by themselves – just like in Newquay – Totally cool. No goodbye, no smiles, no nothing.

That Sunday really did see the birth of Britpop – after Oasis came Pulp, then if we neatly skip Radiohead (never liked them) at night was Blur. You just had to be there! While security buzzed about on quads between marauding squads of hari-krishnas, clutching their walkie-talkies like lances,  Bjork was beautiful as ever in an identical but different coloured outfit from Brixton, the full on hippified Stone Circle blew my mind – & we even got on the telly. Elsewhere on the site, a 92-year-old Pilton villager, keen to see Johnny Cash, was honoured by festival organisers with a prime spot.

Me & Nick drifted into a small tent for a spliff to find Keith Allen being filmed doing a balloon dance to nudity for Channel 4. In the footage the 18 year old me is sat laughing with Nicky – proper evidence we were there among the local farmers quaffing scrumpy & the dodgy Mancs muttering ‘hash-speed-acid-best on site geezer’ to the winds.

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80,000 had officially bought tickets at £59 a pop, but of course many had snook in. I went to every Glasto myself up til 2000, after which they increased security to keep blaggers like me out. In those 7 years I’d only ever paid a Scouser £5 to hop over the fence with his ladder. One year I’d even used a sewer. You left your bags outside, went in & got your exit stamp as you left the site to get your bags – wonderful!

Glastonbury has got this tradition of caring. I would have liked to have been here when it started. Now, like everything else, it’s turning into a theme park.
Anthony Lee, a 23-year-old volunteer on the Big Issue stall for the homeless

It was 1994 at Glastonbury that I had the greatest confirmation Of my path. That’s when the spiritual reality became and the reality of consciousness and healing dimensions became visible to me. Without Glastonbury Festival i would never have found my healing gift. I was thinking back to the days before everybody had a mobile phone, Glastonbury Festival had phone booths in the Greenfields, No one had a smart phone and internet access didnt exist. People were climbing under the fence, over the fence by their hundreds and the festival population was even more massive as a result. It was always wild before the Super Fence went up. But always deeply Magical. It is the Healing Fields that I have the deepest reverence for, even in the Sodom and Gomorrah years it was a Heaven of safety and tranquillity, thats one of the reasons I was so determined to be one of The Healing Fields Spiritual Healers. Of course I miss being there its the Festival that awakened me to Healing Grace. But my circumstances are and this year I cannae be there. Jennifer Juniper, Elizabeth Dallas, Sarah Birdsall. My Heart is with you in the Healing Fields. Mark Divine Calvert

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Back in 1994 on the Saturday night there was a shooting incident involving five people when a man began firing a .45 semi-automatic pistol in a drugs-related fight near one of the stages at 10pm on Saturday – but no one was badly hurt.  There was also the first death in the Festivals history when a young man – , a Londoner aged 23, died in the early hours from a drug overdose.

There has been more violence this year than we’ve ever had before, but the overriding mood is one of a peaceful event.
Michael Eavis, Glastonbury 1994

Music wise, the line-up reads like a litany of 90s genius – Radiohead, Blur, Björk, Rage Against The Machine, Peter Gabriel, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Elvis Costello, Pretenders, Pulp, Blind Melon, Manic Street Preachers, Jackson Browne, Beastie Boys, James, Paul Weller, Spin Doctors, Chumbawamba, Spiritualized, Elvis Costello And The Attractions, Orbital, Nick Cave, The Lemonheads, Dwight Yoakam, Ride, Meshell Ndegeocello, Tindersticks, M People, L7, Levellers, World Party, The Boo Radleys, Oasis, St. Etienne, Grant Lee Buffalo & Echobelly.

We left Glasto on a high & probably still high & got ourselves to Newquay. We didn’t know where the girls were staying so we just made a big WE ARE HERE x D&N out of seaweed on the beach until they turned up. We then had a jolly good time for the rest of the week – me & Jane & Nick & six girls… sun, sea, surf, snogs & booze & weed & just an all round good time. Then it was time to say bye & we headed back to South Wales. Our rent at Ynysddu was almost up & we’d decided we didn’t want to stay in South wales any longer.

There was time for one last mission. Camping on Barry Island with a tent, spending our last funds on a pint to watch the World Cup. England weren’t even in it, so what was the point, an appropriate metaphor for our own summer of love – our heads weren’t in it anymore & it was time to go home – so we did.


To Sir Nick
Lord of all Barlick, Lancs, MBE, MBO, BO,
Bachelor of the Farts, Super Chick-in

Nick, ‘diddliddling,’ my bestest friend,
Do you remember our eighteenth summer,
When it felt the good times would never end
And Barry Island the only bummer.

That Ynnysddu flat, “Weed,” birds & wimmin,
“Blowin’ a reefer on Salisbury plain,”
Newquay, seven chicks, soap, sun, surf, swimmin
Our first Glasto – you gotta go again…

Saw Bjorks debut, Newport’s Supersonics,
Peer Gynt play Stratford, Burnley rule Wembley
Massive crowd in Brixton for the Manics
And that mad, May night in Monmouth, where we
Sat with the Roses and the album new,

“Don’t think it’s as good as the first,” said you.









7: GLASTO ’94


Psychedelic Forest Carnival 2019


Kelburn Castle
14th September, 2019

After an enjoyable afternoon at the football with family and friends I realised we were a 40 minute drive from Kelburn Castle and two of the young team decided to check it out. Getting in was a bit of a struggle with no internet for the card machines, we managed to push our way to the front offering cash only for the door staff to spend a long time glaring suspiciously at my English £50 notes. Directions in the event were provided by a team of loved up security who seemed to be firmly in the festival spirit.

Getting parked we decided to wait out a brief rain shower in the car – good move! The first bar we visited was a road block so we widened the search and found The Saloon which was less busy and had a bar and a roof and they were playing some bouncy funked up tunes that helped the drinks flow nicely. I was starting to take a liking to the predominantly Weegie crowd and had gathered for myself a crowd of young admirers helped probably by the fact my companions were predominantly younger and better looking than me. The young team did a great job of working the floor and soon our booth was the place to be. Doing my good deed for the day I helped a disabled guy get his crutches and sent him in his way having warned him the floor was uneven. We both wished each other a good evening.

Turns out Shane is a good protestant name so we were able to be friends. When we explored the site the true psychedelic nature of the event became apparent with brilliant light displays amongst the leaves and branches. There was even a DJ booth in a treehouse which looked and sounded amazing. The Elektrikal Crew are pounding the best sound system in the country and it really makes a difference. The sound and the bass line was fucking incredible.


On the Viewpoint Stage we saw Samson Sounds with Dandelion who were funky with a great brass section and had us making fools of ourselves jumping around on the dancefloor, loving the vibe. It wasn’t so much a dancefloor as a muddy type 1 surface but it seemed to do the job. Having been impressed with the view from the Saloon the new vista from the apply named Viewpoint Stage was like something from a dream or (perhaps) a trip. Full moon, trees, trees, lights, lights. Either I’d been properly spiked or the castle was busy changing colours as we grooved, what a magical experience. It seemed to be predominantly female artists and DJ’s which is a great positive message and more importantly had the whole place bouncing.

I saw Eva Lazarus while the young team continued to hunt in a pack for young ladies. She was utterly brilliant, a force of righteousness, a proper dancehall vibe. Loud, crisp sound and her huge vocals filled the trees with the proper stuff, what an amazing talent. Her DJ was brutally brilliant as well, at this point the young team reported for duty. Benny Page tore the sky off the roof. Sick as fuck. He played an absolutely roasting set of everything from old school jungle, Andy C Classics to Chasing Status’ latest remix of ShyFX “Original Nutter”. I totally lost my shit and so did the young team. Brilliant MC who knew how to build a night and took us where we wanted to go.

Best party in Scotland, only missing The General on the decks. Next year!

Graeme Steel

Vox Luminis II


The Lammermuir Festival
Saint Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington

For the tenth anniversary of the Lammermuir Festival, I thought I would investigate the cerebral buzz surrounding Vox Luminis upon one of their rare, rare visits to Scotland. The accepted invitation by the Belgium-based Vox Luminis is quite a coup for the festival orgainsers, who can now effortlessly add the phrase ‘Beautiful Voices’ to the festival’s emblematic ‘Beautiful Music, Beautiful Places,’ slogan. At the head of this tassle of timbres stands the charming Lionel Meunier, who adds his own pristinely-sung bass to the proceedings. Around him the vocal chords of his cleverly assembled team embed themselves in each other like the towers of a Templar fortress, conjuring such soul-stilling music that I can still hear them singing as I type.

The performance overtures with a single faceless sirensong growing stronger & clearer from the depths of the church. When this stranger is done singing & setting us all atrance, Vox Luminis arrive into our ken slowly & methodically, like freemasons at an initiation ceremony. Haddington Saint Mary’s offers divine acoustics, but they still need to be worked, & I was completely enthralled by the symbiotic serenity of the singing as they decorated the anonymous Lamentation de la Vierge au pied de la Croix, Antonio Lotti’s Crucifus a 8, Claudio Monteverdi’s Adoramus to Christe & Lamentio della Ninfa, Allessandro Della Ciaia’s Lamentatio Virginis, then after the interval the elongated ecstasy of Domenico Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater.

This centuries-old selection of soft & subtle sacred works are all inspired by the Virgin Mary. As a spectacle, they were delivered in a most appropriate setting & performed with immaculate precision either side of the trance-popping pauses. Such mature solemnity – tho’ streaked with a clear & optimistic mountain lakewater – contains the essence of Christianity & its Trinity, purified by ten honey-tongued singers & their dulcimerean instruments, including the lovely, long lute-like Theorbo played by Simon Linne. As a guitarist myself I watched him play with some fascination as he created chord shapes & plucked individual notes, bass-guitar-style, at the same time.

For each piece the ensemble moved about with marvellous variety – sometimes just a soloist, sometimes quartets & sometimes a complete & unified whole. Of the cantos, the four descending bass-notes & the wind-willowing phrases of Lamento della Ninfa (1638) is the most perfect and spendid thing I have now ever heard in my life! I have no more words to describe it, I was positively weeping within. Its purveyors, Vox Luminis, are rather what happens when a young swan ruffles its plumage – incorruptible natural beauty. Their music is what you’d expect Dante was hearing in his head as he was imagining the Paradisio. For myself in 2019, it felt as if I was gently cruising down the Nile in one of Cleopatra’s pleasure-barques, the dip of the galley oars rising & falling to the beat of the jaw-jangling, spine-tingling Theorbo.

Damian Beeson Bullen

An Interview with Gordon Muir

To celebrate Belhaven Brewery’s 300th birthday, they are having a massive music party – & everybody is invited!

Hello Gordon, first thing’s first, where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
I’m originally from Inverness and these days I live in Torphichen, near Linlithgow.

Aha! What do you think of Party at the Palace, we were there a few weeks back?
It’s a great event and has quickly become a fixture of the summer. It’s a wonderful backdrop and the location in the middle of town makes for a really nice mixed crowd.

Can you tell us about your role at the Belhaven Brewery & how you got the job?
I’m the marketing controller at Belhaven Brewery. I’ve worked in drinks marketing – soft drinks, spirts, coffee and now beer – for most of my career. It’s not that I’m a particularly thirsty individual, it’s just how things worked out. The day to day of my job at Belhaven involves everything that generates demand for our lovely beers. That might be advertising, events, sponsorship, social media or packaging design as well as new product development, which can be a lot of fun and involve a certain amount of tasting.


Can you tell us about the Belhaven Bursary for Innovation in Scottish Music?
The Belhaven Bursary is an initiative that was born out of a partnership with the Festival Interceltique de Lorient a few years back when Scotland was the country of honour. We started by sponsoring the beer tent but when we saw the energy and excitement around up and coming new Scottish folk music and the connection that it made with the crowd, we thought it was something we should explore. My main job is telling the story of a brewery that is all about old and new, proud of its tradition yet forward-looking and innovative; and this fabulously creative and still distinctly Scottish music just encapsulated that perfectly. Showcase Scotland Expo were the organisers of the Scottish presence at Lorient that year and we worked with them on a few ideas as to how we could best get involved in the scene and make a meaningful difference. So the idea of the Belhaven Bursary for Innovation in Scottish Music was born, as a major award to grant to musicians at a stage in their career where they could use the funds and the exposure as a springboard and hopefully be able to take new creative risks and attract new audiences.

What is it about live music that makes you tick?
It’s the energy of it that makes live music so magical, and the fact that the people up on the stage are really playing stuff they love that you’re enjoying in a shared experience with the rest of the audience. There’s nothing quite like the anticipation when a band takes to the stage or the euphoria of a brilliant finale.

Elephant Sessions @ Belhaven Brewery

So there’s a big event lined-up by Belhaven, can you tell us the about the reasoning behind it?
Well yes, it’s Belhaven Brewery’s 300th birthday this year – quite an amazing achievement and one that we wanted to mark with a great big party. We’re Scotland’s oldest working brewery but we’re always looking forwards so it was important to us to celebrate as a vibrant, current brewery rather than a brewing museum. A live music festival – the Belhaven Birthday Bash – was the obvious way to bring together a great event, situated at the brewery and drawing on the work we’ve done with the Belhaven Bursary.

How were the acts selected & who have you got for us?
We knew from the off that the bill should celebrate the breadth and diversity of music with a Scottish folk flavour – again that reflects us as a brewery rooted in its Scottishness and taking on all sorts of influences from around the world. We worked with Active Events/ Showcase Scotland on putting together a line up with that idea at its centre. So, in alphabetical order, we have Assynt, Breabach, Capercaillie, Dougie Maclean, Elephant Sessions, Kinnaris Quintet, Niteworks, Talisk and Tidelines.

It seems you are going for a more traditional Scottish folk sound, why is that?
We’re proudly Scottish and trade on our “Scottishness” in export markets around the world (around 30% of our beer goes overseas) so we’re always looking for ways to celebrate a fresh, relevant take on Scottish culture and I think the breadth of our line up does a great job of that.

What else does the festival have to offer aside from the music?
We will of course have amazing beers available, along with food and drink and, as a family-friendly event, we’ll have some children’s activities going on too. On Sunday 22nd we have a brewery open day where we won’t have acts on the main stage but visitors can come in for a half-price brewery tour and soak up what I hope will be a lovely chilled out (and, fingers-crossed, sunny) atmosphere.

Is this going to be a one-off, or are there plans for a 2020 festival?
What a thought! Let’s get this one under our belts and you can ask me again afterwards!

Belhaven 300th Birthday Bash

Belhaven Brewery, Dunbar
day 21st September (12.00-23.00)


Reminisce 2019


Sherdley Park, St Helens
Saturday 7th september, 2019

Due to work commitments we were a bit late arriving but after an easy cruise down the M6 we rocked up at 7.30. A couple of helpful security guys escorted us to the main entrance only to find that unfortunately the production box office was at the other side, another guard took us to the right place. Roddy was apparently a kick boxing champ and after we saw him in action on his phone I relaxed, to be fair I’ve never felt safer. A few early casualties were being seen to by what looked like an experienced and effective set of first aiders.

69974078_377711886255432_629451478980886528_n.jpgAfter processing we headed to the Love House Arena full of optimism. For once I was in the demographic as the Festival was overtly a celebration of the 90’s dance scene. Jon Pleased Wimmin was just finishing his set with some bangers, we were starting to feel very at home so we headed out and about to find the Judgement Arena. Along the way we managed to trip over a very nice bar serving proper cocktails. Suitably fortified with industrial strength gin and tonic we found our destination where surprisingly Micky Slim was also filling the floor with a set of 90’s classics, are you starting to spot a theme? I can’t remember what the fuck he actually played but just type 90’s rave classics into your search engine, you’ll get the idea.


Judge Jules was worth the entry and the drive all by himself, here’s one of the old timers who’s still smashing it everywhere he goes. One of the old school who’s kept it real over the decades he didn’t disappoint and I could have gone home happy after his set. This was lucky because the whole thing was set to shut down at 11.


My companions think we saw the live set of Tricia McTeague but personally I can’t remember, I’m sure it was excellent though. She’s sung with all the greats over the years and now me, her life is complete. Love Inc got the main stage crowd singing along and bouncing, hard to tell with their scouse accents but I think they got the words right. Lee Butler and Sosumi’s sets looked absolutely amazing, the organisers must have spent a fortune on visual effects, no wonder it was £85 a ticket what with all the security and everything.


If you can remember the 90’s you weren’t there but I’m pretty sure I saw Anton Powers and he was brilliant. Mike Lewis was great and finally I found what I was looking for where the streets have no name. 3-0 ya beauty! In the end everyone plays drum and bass. Banging out Danny Byrd’s Ill Behaviour. With a great MC. I just don’t know who is was! When everything started shutting down we were allowed a go on the shows for £5 and the guy kept it going for ages but with no music. Eleven!!!! Then I had a massive whitey which prevented me from attending the after parties.


I know this is meant to be a review of Reminisce but actually I had a much better time at the Urban Flava 2019 party in Dundee with my good friend The General a Mains Castle, three floors of banging tunes from the attic to the garden. Easy days boys.

Words: Graeme ‘Steely’ Steel
Photography: Mark ‘Parky’ Parker


Fiddlers on the Ramp


C Aquila
Aug 25-26 (18:25)

Way, way, way back at the start of the Fringe, I’d been invited along to the C Venues Press launch. By far the most entertainingly intriguing of the assembled performers were Fiddlers on the Ramp – booming youth, talent & whirls as they pounded & hack’d away at their cello & violins. I just had to go & see their full show, being forced to wait three whole weeks until they graced the Edinburgh stage. Like the rest of the extremely healthy crowd who eventually packed into C Aquila, who would soon be bearing witness to the most special of spectacles.


What I got in the end was wild – a mixture of badly-acted student theatre & excuisite musicianship, all loosely based on a pirate’s adventure & a devil-given golden cello. The costumes were fantastic, the shanties were banging, & its all just a waterfall of wonders. These five fine & feisty fellows offer a gonzo gala of foot-stomping, thigh-jiving avant garde hyperjazzy hillbilly hijinks. Like the ten arms of the kraken they ripple & roll into the room, stroking & probing our pleasure-receptors until the supernova of nonsense at the end. Aye, Fiddlers on the Ramp is a beauty!

Damian Beeson Bullen


Surveying International Music