January 2008

CELTIC CONNECTIONS! Woohoo! What a lovely festival it was too. Was involved in organising “HARP HEAVEN” a twelve strong harp show. “Welcome to heaven, here’s your harp! Welcome to hell, here’s your accordion!” (Box night was on the night after.) Mary Macmaster, Patsy Seddon, Catriona McKay, Laoise Kelly, Cormac DeBarra, Jochen Vogel, Ailie Robertson, Fraya Thomsen, Gillian Fleetwood, Rachel Hair and Maeve Gilchrist. And me. I was a bossy cow that weekend but in the nicest possible way. And they responded beautifully, all doing their thing, but with an ear and eye out for everyone else. It was not an orchestra of harps (not really my thing) but a group of very individual players, all related to me somehow in performing buddies, or past pupils, or from meeting them at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival (particularly Cormac and Jochen). I want to take this to other festivals!!! All the harp festivals in the world should hear this! I have two minidiscs of music recorded from it, but no time just yet to get it transferred. Soon I promise.

And it was also the launch of the EIHF brochure for this year’s festival. I have been on the committee since 2002 as an artistic ‘advisor’ to Isobel Mieras as Artistic Director, with a group of wonderful women all taking on roles to fulfill a good festival, in order to raise funds for the charity The Clarsach Society. This years festival is a splendid one! Have a look! Edinburgh International Harp Festival

Then the Unusual Suspects played. Two new members Ewan Robertson and Peter Tickell. And Iain Copeland on his first full gig. twas a lovely thing. We have some possibilities to visit Luxembourg and Norway in the coming year. Visit the website. Go on, you know you want to. The Unusual Suspects

Then Grace Hewat Polwart. We do make a nice sound. And we got an emailed phwhooarr from a wonderful voilin player. That makes it all worthwhile. Ha! We had such fun. the Celtic Connections staff, artist reps, marketing staff, and Donald and Jade who put it together are SO GOOD at what they do. What a legacy Colin Hynd has left behind him. It’s an amazing thing he has created. And I thought that was the best one yet. I certainly felt more at ease with myself and the projects i was involved with. S’pose that’s because I am off the pills now. Ha. We then went on to have a small part in a most wonderous show Voices of the World. I ended up coordinating it, which was an utter joy. And quite an undertaking. Of course though, all these women, from Italy’s rice fields, to Bulgarians to Lewis Gaelic singing, to us. It was a wild variety of women and backgrounds, and yet we all had a common bond. They were a joy to work with and hear. I loved it. Read Karine’s beautiful blog on it here There’s no need to say any more really. She has a way with words eh? Makes me feel quite lacking on occasion.

And we had a surprise invitation to join Kirsty McGee on her Hobopop gig. It was a beautiful event, although putting Kirsty in front of Capercaillie I thought was a strange mix. The Capers are very much an ‘electric’ band at the moment, although still incorporating the acoustic instruments of Charlie McKerron on fiddle, Anna Massie on mandolin and Donald on accordion. Oh yeah and Manus Lunny. But I couldn’t really hear him too well. We were right below the speakers at the front though, so that will have been a factor. Ewen Vernal was on electric and double bass – he is a great player – and there was a lot of room for him to solo which was excellent. But it’s all getting very 70’s retro just now. But still Capertastic.
Kirsty, Mat Martin and her band were very acoustic, rockabilly, rootsy, jazz tinged, ‘hobopop’. Great songwriter. Go and visit her here.

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